Handy household items to bring camping

These items won't add much to your backpack, but they will save you a huge amount of inconvenience out in the wild on your next camping trip.

Handy household items to bring camping

Zap sap with butter

Sticky tree sap is one of the more harmless hazards you'll encounter in the wild, but that hardly means it isn't really annoying to find sap on your skin. To get rid of it, just open your cooler, take out some butter or margarine, rub a little into the sap wherever it happens to be, and wash the area with soap and water. This gentle treatment will not only be easy on your skin, but has another application for campers: It will waterproof tent canvas and other outdoor equipment fabrics.

Repurpose breath-mint tins

Once you've finished your breath mints, save the tin for your next outdoor outing. A tin with a tight lid is great weatherproof carryall for:

  • Fishing hooks and artificial flies
  • Matches
  • Aspirin
  • Packets of sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Safety pins
  • Loose change and keys you don't want to carry in your pockets while fishing, hiking, or doing other outdoor activities.

Floss it in the wild

Your dentist will applaud you for flossing when you're roughing it, and floss is useful for many other purposes around the campground as well. Such as:

  • Hanging stuff Floss is so strong you can use it to hang a small lantern, shaving mirror and other gear from a branch.
  • Repairing canvas gear Floss is slender enough to thread through the eye of a needle, yet sturdy enough to hold canvas in place, making it ideal for mending tents, backpacks and tarps.
  • Cutting and slicing food Hold a piece of floss taut and slice your way through cheese, cake and other soft foods.

Shampoo to the rescue

Though shampoo may seem like a luxury item when camping, it's well worth putting some into a small plastic container you can easily fit into a backpack or bag. Not only will you keep your locks squeaky clean, but you can also use shampoo to:

  • Lubricate a tent zipper
  • Remove sap and other sticky stuff from your hands
  • Stand in for shaving cream when you decide to get rid of wild-man stubble.

Vinegar at your campsite

Vinegar adds some zest to your campsite meals, of course, but it also:

  • Repels gnats and mosquitoes Just dab some white vinegar on your exposed skin.
  • Traps flies and mosquitoes Pour some apple cider vinegar into a container and place it on the picnic table, in the camp kitchen, or anywhere else these pests tend to congregate.
  • Helps kill bacteria in water Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle or canteen.

Wave bye to beach sand

You'll probably come home from a day at the beach with an unwanted souvenir: plenty of sand in the car, in your shoes, on your clothes and even around the house. Leave the sand where it belongs — on the beach — by bringing along a plastic bag you've partially filled with baby powder. When you're ready to call it a day, dip your feet and hands into the soft white stuff, and then dust more powder over the rest of your body. When you brush the baby powder off, most of the sand will go with it.

The uses for these common household items are genius — your friends and family will be impressed when these handy tricks save the day!

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