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Tips For The Camper In All Of Us

Even for those of us who love everything about life out here, there are times when it's nice to change things up and get away from the day-to-day routine. The solution? Going even further out here… by striking out with family and friends and setting up camp. For us, there's something about getting even closer to nature that recharges our batteries. Maybe it's just a reflection of our independent spirit. But it's less about getting "off the grid" and more about getting "on the ground" – whether that means staking out a tent, or filleting a few freshly-caught fish with our kids alongside the river. We love it. And over the years, we've picked up a few tips and tricks that help make the experience even better. So like any good neighbor would, we wanted to share some of them with you.

It's nice to change things up and spend some time in nature.

Light Things Up.

Now, odds are that you've got your own tried-and-true way of getting a fire started. But for speed and thriftiness, we haven’t found many that beat this one.


You already know that the lint in your dryer can be a fire hazard. (That’s why it’s so important to clean it regularly.) But here’s a way you can turn that to your advantage.


Take empty toilet paper rolls and stuff them with the lint from your dryer. (Sawdust works well here too.) Then wrap the entire thing with wax paper, and twist the ends to keep the lint inside. (It should look more or less like an oversized Tootsie Roll.)


That’s it! Now you’ve got a fast-lighting (almost-free) source of kindling for your next campfire.


Or, if you don’t mind getting your hands a bit messy (which you clearly don’t, or else you wouldn’t live out here), you can ball up a chunk of dryer lint and rub Vaseline all over it until it’s completely covered. You’ll want to make several, and store them in an egg carton or other container to keep things from getting too messy. But when you’re ready to light your fire, just bunch them as close together as possible, to make sure they all catch.


And if you’re really in a pinch – or if you’re just curious to watch it in action – you can use Doritos as some quick, makeshift kindling. Just make sure you take them out of the bag first!


No Grill? No Problem.

One of the best things about camping is cooking over an open flame. But it can be tough to feed the whole crew with whatever you’re able to skewer on the end of a sharpened green stick.

So create a portable grill of your own – all for around three bucks.

A quick stop at the dollar store will get you everything you need:

  • An aluminum lasagna pan (or 2, if you want a little extra insulation)
  • A wire cooling rack (the kind used for cookies and other baked goods)
  • Some charcoal

Just fill the pan with the charcoal, (pile up enough that when spread out, it will create a single layer), place the metal rack on top, and in no time you’ll be enjoying your grilled steaks, burgers, or what have you.

(Note: Just make sure that you place it on a surface that can handle the heat.)

Waterproof Your Own Matches.

What’s the point of fire-starter tips if your matches get wet? Sure, you could just buy waterproof matches. But if you’re like us, you probably already have everything you need to do the job yourself. Just take an ordinary box of “strike anywhere” matches, and dip the tips in shellac. Now they’ll light even if they get damp. (But to keep that from happening in the first place, store them in a small plastic storage container. And tape some sandpaper to the lid, for easy striking.)

Keep Mosquitoes At Bay.

Now that your fire’s going, and your food’s all cooked, the last thing you want is for some pesky mosquitoes to ruin the fun. So try this handy trick; tie up small bundles of sage and add to your campfire. It serves as a natural insect repellent. (But it can also have a strong smell after burning. So start with a small amount.)

A Breakfast They’ll Remember.

So you’re feeling a bit adventurous, and want to “wow” everybody in camp? Then we’ve got just the thing; cooking bacon and eggs in a paper bag.

Here’s what you’ll need for one serving:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 to 3 strips of bacon (Use traditional or thin-cut. Not “Thick Cut” bacon)
  • Paper lunch bag

First off, let your campfire burn until you have a nice bed of coals.

While that’s happening, cut your bacon slices in half – so they’ll fit nicely in the bottom of the bag.

Next, take a fatty piece of the bacon and rub it all around the inside of the bag, coating as much of the paper as possible with the grease.

Then lay the bacon strips so that they cover the entire bottom of the bag – ideally with just a tiny bit of overlap.

Crack the eggs into the bottom of the bag, right on top of the bacon. (Extra points for not breaking the yolks.)

Then fold the top of the bag down a few times to really seal it up.

Take a knife or a sharp stick and poke a hole through the top of the bag. Then poke the end of a green stick through the hole.

Now it’s all about watching the clock. Hold the bag just high enough off the coals to not burn the bag. (As more grease comes out of the bacon, it will help protect the bag.)

Give it about 10 or 15 minutes, erring on the side of caution.

Then tear open the bag and enjoy your perfectly cooked breakfast. Not to mention the admiration of your fellow campers.

(Note: if you want your bacon a bit crispier, you can drape it over the stick and hold it over the fire a bit longer.)

Give these tips a try and be sure to share your camping adventures with us on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram!

Happy camping!