camping hacks in the smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect destination for camping and nature enthusiasts. While you’re out there roughing it, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help make your camping experience a little more comfortable. Here are eight camping hacks to help you in the Smokies!

1. Make a bright lantern with your headlamp

Wrapping your headlamp around a plastic gallon of water will illuminate the area and will make pretty dancing light. It’s also perfect for telling scary ghost stories in your tent at the end of a long day.

2. Use Doritos as kindling

If you happen to have Doritos, Fritos, or other oily chips on site, they make wonderful kindling because they are high in fat and made up of hydrocarbons (the main component in petroleum and natural gas). Use these crunchy treats if you’re having a hard time finding kindling elsewhere. Be sure to save some to snack on later!

3. Line your bag with a plastic garbage bag

Keep your gear, clothes, and essentials dry by lining your bag or backpack with a plastic garbage bag. This is an easy way to make sure that if you get caught in a rainstorm, all of your belongings will stay high and dry.

4. Create a handwashing station with a 2-liter bottle

Easily make your own hands-free handwashing station with a water bottle, rope or wire, and the nearest tree branch.

5. Burn a sage bundle to help ward off mosquitoes

There are many great natural remedies for warding off pests, and sage is a great one for those pesky mosquitoes that can put a damper on camping. Burn sage in your campfire, or in bundles around the perimeter, to keep the skeeters at bay.

6. Crack eggs ahead of time

Here’s a great camping food hack: crack all of your eggs before you head off on your trip and store them in a water bottle. Store them in your cooler for easy breakfast over and over again.

7. Use citrus fruits as candles

Oranges, lemons or limes make delicious healthy snacks, and as it turns out, great candles if you’re in a pinch. Cut an orange in half, eat its tasty insides, then fill with cooking oil and light the pith in the center. Voila! You’ve got fruity luminaries and your campsite smells lovely.

8. Turn your solo cup into a speaker

Did you know that you can blast those camp tunes a little more using a simple solo cup? Place your smartphone in a solo cup and hear the difference! Bump it up with an additional cup and a paper towel roll. Be sure to put the holes close to the top so you can reuse it later for a cold beverage. Dance, reuse, re-hydrate. (Note: Please be sensitive to those around you and to campsite quiet hours.)


Smoky Mountain camping has been made much easier with these camping hacks.  We hope that you and your family take these hacks with you wherever the Great Smoky Mountains may take you!

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About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller is a native Tennessean who currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves spending time in the great outdoors, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. She also enjoys exploring all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

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