Household items to take camping

Sometimes, the most versatile tools in the world are the ones you have laying around the kitchen. The next time you're packing to go on a camping trip, don't forget these handy household items.

Household items to take camping

Save plastic bottles

Before you pitch plastic bottles into the recycling bin, consider ways you can put them to good use on camping trips and picnics. When you're in the great outdoors, you can use a plastic bottle to:

  • Make a bowl Cut off the bottom portion to make a bowl of any depth you want; you might want to sandpaper the edges to make them less rough.
  • Dispose of liquids Pack out used cooking oils and other liquid trash.
  • Create an ice pack Fill a bottle with water, freeze it, and use it to keep a cooler cold. Or put it in a backpack to keep food cool on a day hike.
  • Serve as a makeshift latrine Keep it just outside the tent so you don't have to wander into the woods in the dark.

And plastic tubs, too

Dig into your plastic butter or yogurt container supply the next time you go hiking or camping for many practical outdoor uses. Plastic containers make it easy to:

  • Snare stingers To keep bees and wasps from invading your outdoor meals, fill a container with water, add a little sugar, poke a hole in the lid, and place this sweet trap off to one side of your dining area. The pests will fly in but won't be able to fly out.
  • Feed Fido Fill a container with kibble so the dog's dinner is ready when he's hungry, and use a second container for water.
  • Block ants Fill four plastic containers with water and put one under each leg of a table. Ants won't be able to get through your makeshift moat and crawl up the table legs to ruin your picnic.

Foil dampness and grime

For a little extra campsite comfort, take some aluminum foil from the kitchen when packing your gear. Here are three ways to use it:

  • Wrap your matches in aluminum foil to protect them from moisture.
  • Lay a large piece of foil under your sleeping bag to prevent dampness from seeping in.
  • Wad some foil into a ball to use as a scouring pad. Foil is great for scraping off barbecue-grill grime and blackened residue from the bottom of pans you set over an open fire.

These simple ideas are genius — and they'll make your camping or day trip more enjoyable, too.

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