Camping can be one of the most fun, frugal “vacations” you can go on with your family IF you know how to plan ahead. If you’re planning a camping trip on a budget this summer, check out the following camping hacks using Dollar Tree items that will ensure everyone is truly a happy camper.
1. Use mesh laundry bags for drying dishes.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your dishes clean after washing them, consider grabbing these $1 Mesh Laundry Bags and placing your wet dishes in it. Then just hang it up on a tree limb and the dishes will dry and stay clean from dirt or sand. You can also use the bag for keeping dirty laundry in one place.
2. Place solar stake lights around the tent.
A great way to make it easier to see around your campsite at night is to place these $1 Solar Stake Lights wherever you would like more light (i.e. by the tent poles, near tent entry, close to the bathroom, etc). You may even be able to find patriotic or holiday-themed lights depending on the time of year that you shop.
3. Put glow stick bracelets on tent ties at night.
Dollar Tree’s glow sticks are always fun for the kids to use while camping (and makes them easy to spot in the dark)! They are also helpful to place around the tent ties at night so that no one trips on them.
4. Use pool noodles on tent lines.
Another idea to keep everyone aware of those tent poles is to grab Dollar Tree’s brightly colored pool noodles and cut a slit down one side of the noodle (pictured below).
You can also take this camping hack one step further and cut pool noodles into smaller pieces and place them on the tent lines so that they are easy to spot during the day.
5. Or use pool noodles to make your own camping toilet.
Make a simple and convenient camping toilet using a 5-gallon bucket and a $1 pool noodle!
6. Keep paper plates from blowing away with cake carriers.
Although Dollar Tree’s cake carrier may be a little flimsy to hold a heavy cake, it is perfect for using to store paper plates and napkins on the table so they won’t fly away on a windy day or get dirty.
7. Stay organized with stackable bins.
These stacking bins are great for using inside the tent to keep things organized or even for placing on the picnic table to hold games, lighters, hand sanitizer, flashlights, bug spray, and other items.
8. Keep your tent clean with a small broom & dustpan.
Dollar Tree’s handheld broom with dustpan is the perfect size for keeping inside the tent to sweep up the dirt, leaves, and/or sand that may creep in throughout the day. Plus, they’re great for smaller kids to use, too!
9. Store items in a hanging shoe organizer.
If your Dollar Tree carries Hanging Shoe Organizers (you can also find inexpensive ones at Walmart or Amazon), you can use these to keep random kitchen supplies or toiletry items organized and in one spot. Then just hang it on the side of a tree, inside the tent or on a shaded structure for easy access.
10. Make S’mores with barbecue skewers.
If you’re planning to make S’mores, grill hot dogs, or roast other foods over a campfire, this 4-pack of skewers definitely come in handy and are actually pretty nice quality.
Plus, some Dollar Tree stores may even carry single skewers for $1 with rubber handles and poles that extend so you can make it longer if needed.
11. Store grilling spices in 7-day pill containers.
An easy way to season your foods without bringing your entire spice rack is to grab these 7-Day Stacking Pill Organizer containers and fill them with different spices that you’ll need or want to use while cooking (salt, pepper, sugar, season salt, garlic salt, etc). Plus, the containers pull apart too!
12. Use candles to keep tent zippers from sticking.
You can keep your tent zippers gliding smoothly by applying a little bit of candle wax from an un-lit candle. Dollar Tree sells 6-packs of emergency candles for just a buck!
13. Make a clothesline with hardware poly rope.
If you’re planning to wash your clothes while camping OR if you just need a place to hang wet towels, socks, shoes, swimsuits, and other apparel, be sure to grab a clothesline with hook for just $1.
14. Keep tablecloth down with jumbo plastic clothespins.
To keep your tablecloth from blowing away on a windy day, pick up these Jumbo Plastic Clothespins and clamp them over your tablecloth onto the edge of the table (they also sell smaller table clamps).
Another tip is to bring an old, fitted mattress sheet from home and wrap it over the table – then just throw it in the washing machine when you are done for easy cleanup!
15. Store eggs & food mixes in sealed containers with lids.
There are a lot of neat plastic storage containers with lids at Dollar Tree that are great for cracking eggs into and storing for making scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc. I found water bottles, condiment bottles, mix & serve containers, and more that would make transporting and storing food easier.
Or if you already have glass mason jars with lids at home, you could use those instead but keep in mind that they may break easier.
16. Make S’mores prep packs in plastic containers.
Avoid having to search around for S’mores supplies by prepping ahead of time and keeping all the items together in a plastic container with a lid – and Dollar Tree has a lot of choices!
You can also place clean plastic-ware or napkins in these containers to keep them from flying away or getting dirty.
17. Make your own charcoal grill.
Planning to grill foods on your camping trip? Leave the heavy grill at home and make your own charcoal grill for just a few bucks – and then toss it in the trash it before you head home!
All you need for this camping hack is a foil pan, cooling rack, and charcoal (some Dollar Tree stores usually sell small bags of charcoal around Memorial Day or 4th of July).
18. Make campsite scrubbing easy with bath mitts.
For convenient campsite scrubbing, cut pieces of bar soap and place them inside these cute bath gloves or a microfiber wash-mitt (found in the car section). Then just get the gloves wet when you are ready to wash and you won’t have to worry about dropping a slippery soap bar in the dirt.
19. Keep bugs off food with shower caps.
Use these 6-count Shower Caps to cover your plates and bowls to keep pesky bugs away. Dollar Tree also carries cute 2-pack Fly Swatters or single flowery Fly Swatters for just $1. What a fun camping hack to keep those not-so-fun pesky mosquitoes and bugs away!
Since Dollar Tree’s shower caps come in packs of six, you can also use them to place your dirty shoes when packing up to keep any mud or dirt out of the car.
20. Make a first aid kit with essentials.
It’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit with you when camping in case someone gets hurt. Dollar Tree sells many first-aid essentials from band-aids to hand sanitizer to medicines and more.
Also, you may find these black Tool Boxes priced at just $1 that would be great for storing your first aid items.
21. Pack rain ponchos… just in case.
It’s not so much of a camping hack, but you can never predict the weather, so it’s always a great idea to pack a few rain ponchos in your bags in case it starts to rain (also select Dollar Tree locations sell umbrellas for just $1)!
These ponchos will help you from getting drenched when running from the tent to the bathroom in the middle of the night or when you are packing up the car to head home and can’t hold an umbrella and bags at the same time.