If you spend a lot of weekends out in the woods camping with the kids you know that it can quickly turn into an expensive hobby. Between the cooking gear, tents and food it’s easy to put a heavy dent in the bank account. You can save some cash by stringing together some of the tools for your next trip yourself. All of these are simple to make and a great way to get the kids involved with helping out.
Toilet Paper Holder
Having a place to hold your toiler paper is an oft-forgotten necessity. Sure, you can simply carry a bare roll around with you and hope no rain or dirt gets on it before applying it to your tush, but what are the chances of that happening? Instead, use a little ingenuity and you can keep your teepee clean for a smoother wipe. An empty coffee tub makes for the perfect container. Simply cut a slim slit in the side in which you can pull the end of the roll and attach a string to the opposite side to hang it with and you’ll feel like your back at home.
Portable Washing Machine
If you’re planning an extended camping trip and don’t want to pack too much clothing you can always wash at your campsite instead. A DIY portable washing machine can help you stay smelling fresh while also protecting the local creek or pond from your bacteria. Find yourself a five gallon buck, preferably with a lid and flap on top that opens and closes. Next, buy yourself a plunger from a dollar store. Your simply pour your water and detergent in the water, then add the clothes and use the plunger as an agitator.
One of the simplest tools you can make in seconds is a lantern jug. All it takes is a one-gallon jug of water, still full, a light source and a little duct tape. Most people use headlamps facing toward the jug but in this modern age a cellphone will work just as well – maybe you’ll be less inclined to use it for texting that way. Really any long-lasting LED light source will do. When you tape it to the side pointed inward it’ll spread incandescent light you can use to see in the dark.
PVC Utensil Holders
Unless you only plan on eating hotdogs and s’mores on your camping trip you’ll need something more durable than your fingers and a plastic fork. If you’re more the type to cook a hearty steak over a campfire try packing your utensils in some PVC pipes. Purchase small pipes at your local hardware store for a few bucks that are long enough to hold knives, forks and other cooking gear. Glue a cap on the end of each pipe then mark the other cap so you know which one is loose. Label the pipes and there you go!
Glow Stick Lights
Glow stick nightlights are a great way to get the kids excited and involved in your camping trip. A few empty, old-school glass bottles your grandma used to buy for a quarter and some glow sticks are all you need to make these beautiful light sources. Simply crack the sticks to make them shine and then slip them down into the bottles to create colorful little lanterns you can place around the campsite to help you get around.
DIY Fire Starters
Rubbing sticks together is time-consuming process and not always safe for younger kids. Instead, let them give you a hand by making a few easy fire starters at home before your trip. You only need two items to make this handy tool – empty toilet paper rolls and dryer lint. Lint is extremely flammable while toilet paper rolls, while also flammable, make for a great container to keep everything organized. Lay them down in your pit and light a match and you’ll be ready to roast some wieners in minutes.