With spring getting closer and closer, I have been eagerly awaiting our first camping trip of 2012. Winter has been unusually mild for most of the country, Minnesota included, and I’m hoping that it means we’ll be out camping sooner than we usually do. (And no, I don’t camp in the winter as much as my husband has lobbied for it. I’m just not that hard core.)
Like me, you might be itching for that first trip as well. So when the weather doesn’t let one camp, some do what my husband does, which is spend time shopping for gear (he’s a bit obsessed if you didn’t already know). But there’s good news! You can find items around your house and give them a second life in your camping gear!
Besides being a fan of the outdoors, I’m a fan of Real Simple magazine, and they have a running column of new uses for old things. So without further ado, here is my version of new uses for old things:
First I need to point out the obvious: this will need to be stored in your car if you are camping in bear country. Unless you are filming a documentary about what not to do at a campground, then you can place it strategically in front of your camera.
My husband is the genius behind this idea. We had an old diaper bag that I didn’t really care for, but didn’t want to donate it to Goodwill because our last name was written in big black letters with permanent marker. My husband writes this compulsively on almost everything we own. Anyway, we were packing for a camping trip and we didn’t have anything to store our dry goods. It worked perfectly as there are smaller pockets for storing granola bars, oatmeal, chocolate for smores, condiment packets, etc. and larger pockets for items that take up a bit more space. Our old diaper bag now is a standard part of our camping gear.
2. Clorox Wipes Container Reused as a dispenser for plastic bags
As much as I would like to remember our reusable bags every time we go to the grocery store or department store, inevitably they are at times left behind and we accumulate a small army of plastic bags. We reuse plastic bags as much as possible, and one use we have for them is as trash bags when camping. I came across this idea and pinned it on on Pinterest one day and it struck me as an excellent way to stay organized at the camp site. [You can find the original blogger's post and instructions here: Tatertots and Jello] If your family doesn’t use cleaning wipes, we’ve found that an empty oatmeal container will do the trick as well.
We don’t generate much trash at our campsite so a full trashbag feels like overkill. Its the perfect size to make sure we don’t leave anything behind. When camping in bear country they come in handy since all trash and food items need to be cleaned up thoroughly after every meal. If we were to use a regular size garbage bag, it would feel like we are dumping a ton of unnecessary plastic in the dumpster since there would be just a bit of trash floating around in the bottom .We also carry one plastic bag to clean up trash when we hike as its a great way to teach children about caring for the world we live in.
3. Plastic Zippered Packaging reused as First Aid Storage
When buying curtains (as well as many other things) sometimes they come in this wonderful zippered plastic pouch. These are wonderful for reusing in a number of ways, but when it comes to camping, its a great way to store your first aid supplies. My husband and I generally carry a small kit in each of our daypacks, and I have an additional one made up with extra supplies, sunscreen and bugspray. The great thing about reusing packaging such as this is that it is highly durable, and since it is clear, you can easily see if any supplies are missing.
What other new uses for old things do you or your family incorporate when camping? Please comment, share your tips, and camp on!