7 Brilliant Car Camping Hacks Every Camper Should Know

After years of car camping, and a few Summers totally living out of my car, I’ve learned a few tips and camping hacks that really help to keep things organized and make your camp trip totally stress-free! Best of all, every one of these camping tips are really simple. They’re focused on organization for camp cooking and packing. Let’s dive in!

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My best camping hacks, including storage bins, diy fire starters, and more

Simple Camping Hacks

Watch the video below to see exactly how to keep camping gear organized, and a few of my other top camping tips!


1) Bring Reusable Stasher Bags

Stasher bags are such a useful thing to bring camping.

I always pack a few empty ones for storing leftovers in the cooler. For example, if you open a block of cheese and need to store the unused portion, a Stasher bag is perfect for that!

Stasher bags are made from pure platinum silicone. They’re 100% plastic free and BPA-free.

They come in tons of different colors and sizes, and they’re endlessly reusable. They’re safe to use in the freezer, microwave, boiling water, and oven up to 400°F.

I’ve been using Stasher bags for years now, and the oldest ones that I have don’t look any different than the day I bought them.

Not only do I pack them camping, but they also get a ton of use when I’m at home.

When camping, I use the Stasher bags for:

  • leftover camp food
  • a block of cheese, butter, or veggies I haven’t eaten all of yet
  • snacks
  • my camping toiletries
  • extra batteries for headlamps
  • phone charging cords

While I use Stasher bags mostly for storing food in the cooler, they can be used for so much more than food, and I think they’re always good to have on hand for camping!

2) Reuse Empty Gelato Containers

Another great camping hack is to reuse empty gelato containers for storage.

I’ve happily eaten a good amount of gelato over the years. 😊

I noticed that the plastic gelato containers were actually pretty durable and they had a nice leakproof lid, so I started to save them.

Turns out, they’re great for camping!

Sometimes when it’s just me and Nick camping, I don’t need to take an entire box of something like pancake mix, so I portion out a couple servings into a gelato container and pack that!

It saves space in my camping food bin, and then I don’t have to worry about a box of pancake mix opening up in my food bin while I’m driving.

Much like the Stasher bags above, these gelato containers can also be used for storing extra headlamp batteries, charing cords, and extra first aid kit supplies.

The uses are endless, and most importantly, you have an excuse to go eat gelato! You’re welcome.

DIY fire starters are perfect for your next camping trip

3) Bring DIY Fire Starters

Make a fire quickly and easily at camp with DIY fire starters! Of course you can also buy fire starters, but making them at home is really easy.

I like to make my own fire starters using dryer lint, wax, empty egg cartons, and string.

You can find my step-by-step DIY fire starter tutorial here.

These homemade fire starters are quick to make and they work really well! Each one will burn for about 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to get some wood burning around it.

The cooler packed for a camping trip with two large ice blocks, eggs, veggies, and milk

4) USe Ice Blocks Instead of Small Ice Cubes

This is something that Nick taught me.

Instead of buying a big bag of ice every time we wanted to go camping, and then having to constantly drain the cooler as it melted, we now use large ice blocks.

We have two old gallon-sized Gatorade containers filled with water that we leave in the freezer at home. When we want to go camping, we put those big ice blocks into the cooler and pack our food around them.

These ice blocks stay colder a lot longer than smaller ice cubes, and all the water stays contained, that way it’s drinkable if you run out of water for some reason.

I get comments on my YouTube channel about how I keep the cooler cold, because when I show it in videos, there’s no ice. This is how I do it!

When you get home from a camping trip, all you have to do is put the ice blocks right back in the freezer and then they’re ready for your next trip.

Chopping veggies at camp getting ready to make dinner over the camp stove

5) Pre-wash and Dry Veggies at Home

When I’m planning and packing meals for camping, I always like to wash and dry my veggies and fruits at home before I pack them.

Then when you get to camp, you can just start cooking. Sometimes water is limited when you go camping, so this simple tip will help you save water and start cooking at camp right away!

To take this a step further, for short 2-3 day trips, I like to cut the veggies at home to save another step at camp. Pre-cut veggies can easily be stored in a Stasher bag in the cooler.

6) Bring Cash

A lot of campgrounds require a fee. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to a campsite and didn’t have the exact change needed to pay for the site.

Make sure to either check the camping fee online before your trip, or just pack some cash, specifically smaller denomination bills like ones and fives.

That way you can give the exact free amount, and don’t have to go ask surrounding campers for some change.

The two bins used to stay organized while car camping. One bin is for camp kitchen essentials and the other bin is for pantry items

7) Use Bins to Stay Organized

I think this is the most useful tip on the list, and surprisingly, it’s another thing that my boyfriend Nick taught me.

Organizing your gear into bins is the key to stress-free camping!

For example, we have 2 main camping bins.

The first bin is for our car camping kitchen essentials. This includes our cast iron skillet, a spatula, plates, forks, a cutting board, and other gear that we use for cooking. We don’t put any food in this bin.

Our second bin is larger and it’s our “pantry” bin. It contains our snacks, coffee, spices, and other foods that don’t need refrigeration. Our food bin clamps closed, so it’s also great for keeping small critters out of our food at night.

Our car camping pantry bin hold all of our snacks, coffee, spices, and extra camp dinners like mac and cheese and ramen

Even if your car is shut and locked, mice can still find their way in, so storing your food in a closed bin that they can’t get into is important, especially in popular camping spots.

When you organize things into bins, you always know where they are. If I want a snack, I know exactly where to look. If I need a fork, I don’t have to dig through random bags or bins to find it.

In addition to being organized at camp, having your camping gear in bins is great for storing camping gear at home too.

When I get home from a trip, I wash anything that needs to be washed, and then return it to the bin for storage.

When my next camping trip rolls around, I don’t have to pack much – I just put the bins in the car and go!

These are the simple camping hacks that I learned over the years!

What are some of your best camping hacks? Let’s chat in the comments below!

For more car camping tips and resources, make sure to check out some of my other popular camping blog posts:

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