6 Simple Camping Hacks for People Who Don’t Like Camping

For me, the call of the wild buzzes loudly in my ears. Wait, no, that’s bees! Run!

OK, let’s try again. For me, the call of the wild echoes deep in my heart. Any chance I get to get out into nature, be it for a day hike, an overnight camping trip, or a multi-day excursion, I take. I find few greater pleasures than standing atop a mountain summit or sitting beside a crackling campfire, hiking through a forest of towering trees or paddling over the open waters of the bay.

man-with-sleeping-blanket-or-quilt-in-the-mountains-2

For some people, however, the call of the wild is one usually sent to voicemail. Simply put, not everyone loves camping, hiking, climbing, or generally roughing it out there. And that’s fine.

If you have a friend, relative, or special someone who is less-than-enthused by outdoor excursions (or if you yourself are a reluctant camper), here are a few tips and tricks that can make roughing it a bit less rough.

Replace Your Sleeping Bag with Something Better

If you don’t like tucking yourself into a sleeping bag, why not use something different? An air mattress is a good stand-by, but if you and/or your reluctant camping buddy wants to be up off the ground, just bring along a cot. The Helinox Cot Lite weighs about two and a half pounds and packs down small enough to fit into a duffel or large hiking pack, yet it can easily support an average adult’s body weight.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to bring your fine linens from home. Instead, get some Camp A Peel peel-away sheets from Peel Away Labs and you can enjoy soft, waterproof, genuinely comfortable sheets that are 100-percent disposable. Sleep on the sheets for a few nights then, once you feel they’re getting a bit soiled, peel off a layer and reveal brand new sheets underneath.

camping tent hammock chair furniture

As for your blanket, I recommend the Klymit Versa. It offers the warmth of a sleeping bag without the encapsulation many people dislike, but there’s a nifty built-in foot box you can use if your toes get cold.

Invest in Quality Camping Furniture

Whether you keep it extra lightweight with Helinox chairs and a packable table or you bring along full-sized camping chairs, make sure you have good campsite furniture so your hesitant backwoods buddy can take a load off in style out there.

While I have yet to find a camping hammock in which I love spending an entire night, camping hammocks are great for naps or for simply using to chill out for a while. They pack down so small that you might as well bring one along even if you’re not sure it will get much use.

Bring Products to Help Keep Clean

The biggest hang-up of many reluctant outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen is cleanliness. Back in civilization, I wash my hands at least five or six times a day, and I often shower twice daily. While out in the woods, on the other hand, I’m OK with getting pretty grimy for a few days. (Actually, I still like clean hands, which is why I self-apply much of this next advice.)

Bring along products like Action Wipes or HyperGo Full Body Wipes. These are essentially extra-large baby wipes designed for use by adults; use three or four of them at one time to approximate a quick shower. Combining a dollop of hand sanitizer with a large wipe can give you a decent backcountry hand washing while using one with a bit of facial cleanser is almost as good as standing at the sink.

Then there’s the reliable solar shower. You fill these large pouches with water, leave them in a patch of sunlight to warm, then hang them from a tree and use gravity and a miniature shower head to give yourself a good cleansing. Or an adequate one, anyway, in my experience.

And of course, it almost goes without saying that you bring lots of baby wipes with you! I usually grab a full 80-wipe packet if I’m going for a one- or two-night car camp. You never know what’s going to happen out there.

Too Cold or Hot? There’s Gear for That

When it’s warm out, tents tend to get hot. Like seriously unpleasantly hot. Like, even I was considering calling it quits and driving two hours home in the middle of the night this past summer because it was so damn hot.

Hanging a lightweight tent fan at the top of your tent can reduce the temperature inside by multiple degrees, making a shelter much more habitable. Or you could use a Zero Breeze battery-powered portable air conditioner that’s about the size of a retro boom box and that can lower the interior of a tent (or a vehicle or small room) down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Not that you’ll need it that cold, but you could do it if you wanted.

mr-heater-big-buddy-2
Mr. Heater Big Buddy

On the other hand, cold weather can be as much a deterrent to camping as the heat. You can keep your reluctant camper warm with a campfire and good cold weather apparel, but once it’s time to move into the tent for the night, the fire has to stay outside and sleeping in a parka isn’t much fun.

Strategically placed hand warmers are a good start and a warm bottle of water tucked into a sleeping bag helps, too. But to get things seriously toasty, get a portable propane heater like the Mr. Heater Big Buddy and enjoy a tent that’s as warm as any room in your home.

Splurge on Food

Don’t skimp on your camp meals. Serve feasts and your city-dweller might just be willing to join you in the wild again in the future.

Make Your Campsite a Bug-Free Zone

Yes, there’s a food chain, all living things are important, etc. But few things make a camp-out less enjoyable than armies of ants, buzzing bees, ticks, mosquitoes, and Goliath Birdeater spiders. Burning sage in your campfire smells great and can help ward off some bugs, but I say you use science on the situation.

Pre-treat your tent and furniture with an insect repellent rich in Permethrin (spray it onto fabrics the day before you’re headed out and give the stuff at least four hours to dry) and treat your skin with a formula that uses Picaridin. The Sawyer brand makes great examples of both. I know that because I used the stuff all summer long.

Article originally published October 12, 2018.

Fashion & Style

What to Wear for Memorial Day and the Official Start of Summer

Make this Memorial Day outfit memorable. Follow our basic guide and you won't fail to be fashionable.
Fashion & Style

The Best Men’s Shorts to Wear this Summer, According to Inseam Length

Feeling adventurous? Go the full monty with a four-inch inseam. A bit on the conservative side? At least keep the shorts above the knee. 
Fashion & Style

The Best Jeans for Men to Wear in Spring and Summer 2019

When things get a bit warmer, pair these with classic white T-shirts and tank tops, linen button-up, or no shirt at all once that summer tan has finally kicked in. 
Fashion & Style

Support Our National Parks By Stunting a Parks Project X Jungmaven Hemp Tee

The tees in the collaboration are the perfect purchase for someone who wants to support the National Parks while also wearing something that would work perfectly on a hike in them.
Fashion & Style

Go Off-Trail in Style with the New Danner Bull Run Lux Boots

The made-in-America Bull Run Lux doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the Portland brand’s legacy
Auto

How to Live Comfortably Out of Your Car for a Few Weeks

Here’s everything you’ll need to stay safe, sane, and happy when you choose to live out of your car.
Outdoors

Save Money on Your Gear by Renting It First with Coozie Outdoors

If you're pondering your first wilderness expedition, then you probably don't need the best of the best gear — not when you can rent great outdoor equipment.
Outdoors

Why You Should Embrace Glamping Already

Before assuming this method of comfort-camping isn’t rugged enough for you, here's a look at who is actually glamping, what the options are, and why it's the perfect opportunity to de-stress.
Outdoors

8 Best Adult Summer Camps for Grown-Ass Men

You never spent a childhood summer at a camp like these.
Outdoors

10 Best National Parks to Visit When the Weather is Warm

With spring in full swing and summer looming on the horizon, it’s an ideal time to begin exploring the great outdoors. What better place than at one of our many U.S. National Parks?
Outdoors

When You’ve Got a Job to Do, You Need a Pair of the Best Work Boots for Men

Each pair will keep your feet safe when you drop a brick, step on a broken window pane, or send sparks showering down from that angle grinder you're working.
Outdoors

8 Best Portable Showers for Getting Clean on the Go

When you’re on the go, in the middle of nowhere, or in the beach parking lot on the way to work after a morning surf session, portable showers can get you clean with little effort.
Outdoors

The Incredible Cost of Climbing Mount Everest, the World’s Highest Mountain

We all know the risks of climbing Mount Everest, but what about the cost?
Outdoors

Put All 419 U.S. National Parks in Your Pocket with the Chimani App

Chimani gives you the power to know what to see, when to go, and where to poop in every U.S. National Park.