20 Brilliant Tent Hacks for Camping Like a Pro

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Ready to embark on your first camping trip? As a self-certified expert camper, I can tell you that a comfortable tent can make or break your camping experience. After all, even the most stunning scenery can’t make up for a sleepless night rolling on soggy ground.

But don’t worry, because today I’ll share some incredible tent hacks to help you camp out like a pro! 

Cozy inside tent

Tent hacks to create more space inside your tent

1. Use a gear line organizer to hang up your stuff

Most of the time, it’s not the inside of your tent that is cluttered, it’s just the floor. With so much stuff to store in that tiny space, it’s easy for even the largest tent to feel confined. One brilliant tent hack to circumvent this issue is to simply create suspended storage in your tent. 

Some tents these days feature gear loops and pockets that you can use to store items like water bottles and camping gear. However, you can expand the storage space further by adding a gear line organizer to your tent. 

While they may not look like much, these organizers are extremely durable and allow you to hang your camping gear and other miscellaneous items on them to declutter your tent floor. 

Using this concept, you can also run a stretch cord along the length of your tent to create a makeshift clothesline to hang up your clothes and other light items. 

2. Use stackable, foldable storage

Stackable foldable storage

This is arguably one of the most basic tent hacks out there but I have to admit: It works. While stuffing everything into your camping bag sounds like a good idea, it’s not exactly practical since you’ll have to go on a mini mining expedition every time you want to retrieve something.

Instead, bring along some stackable, foldable storage boxes. Not only are they lightweight, but they allow you to store most of your items in an organized manner. You can stack them up on top of each other to save space too. 

3. Bring a cot to create extra space

Camping cot

I, like many others, love my sleeping bag. However, if you need extra space in your tent, one simple tent hack is to place your sleeping bag on top of a sleeping cot

Think of a cot as a basic, portable camping bed. The best thing about a cot is that it has a frame that keeps the mattress off the ground, which basically creates under-bed storage!

You can then store your items under your cot to keep a clear path throughout the rest of the tent. As an added bonus, when you store items under your cot, it actually limits the airflow underneath which stops your mattress from getting cold.

4. Roll up your clothes or use a compression bag

Here’s one of the camping hacks for beginners that will indirectly help you create more space in your tent. Instead of folding your clothes, roll them up! You’ll be surprised just how much space you can save in your camping bag by just doing this one thing. 

You can then use the extra space in your bag to store other items and declutter your tent. You can level up this hack by using a compression bag to make your clothes even more compact, thereby allowing you to make do with a smaller bag in general. 

Tent hacks to make tent camping clean and comfortable

5. Use your clothes as makeshift pillows

Having a fluffy pillow to rest your head on is a real luxury. However, if you ever forget your pillow when you go camping, one helpful tent hack is to just use your clothes!

However, rather than lie in a pile of clothing, stuff them into the sack of your sleeping bag and you’ve basically got yourself a comfy, makeshift pillow. Alternatively, you could also stuff your clothes in a dry bag or a packing cube to achieve the same results.

6. Keep your shoes in a basket outside the tent

Open shoes outside tent

One important camping tip to keep your tent clean is to limit the items that you bring inside. Shoes, for example, can be stored at your tent entrance in a little basket. 

Not only does this keep out any dirt particles you might otherwise drag in, but you can also store bug repellant in the basket as a mental reminder to apply it before you head out. 

7. Repel mosquitos and bugs with herbs

Cut herbs to repel insects

I think we can all agree that one of the most annoying things about a camping trip is having to deal with mosquitos and other insects. While bug repellant is an effective pest control measure, spraying the inside of your tent is not exactly a smart thing to do. 

Instead, use natural herbs to repel these pesky critters. Aromatics like sage, garlic, and rosemary emit an aroma that most insects find repelling, especially when burnt or roasted. Plus, they add flavor to your meals! 

8. Use wax to keep your tent zippers in tip-top shape

One of the most important camping hacks is using a wax candle to protect your tent zippers. Over time, exposure to the elements can damage the zippers on your tent, especially if you camp out in the open regularly. 

This can cause the zipper to be sticky and, in worst-case scenarios, may even stop you from being able to open or close your tent flaps. Applying candle wax to the zipper helps solve this problem. 

9. Layer the inside of your tent floor with a soft cushion

Yoga mats outside tent

While modern tents have come a long way, you can always do with some added comfort. Regardless of where you set up your tent, I highly recommend lining the inside of your tent floor with an extra layer. You wouldn’t want to walk or sleep on hard and rocky surfaces now, would you?

Tent floor carpets and interlocking foam floor tiles are good choices. However, I’ve come to find out that yoga mats are even better options! They’re less bulky and you can even use them for some outdoor yoga sessions when you’re not in the tent. 

10. Use a tarp to create an overhang outside your tent

Tent under green tarp

When it rains, most people tend to zip up their tents to keep the water out. That inadvertently makes the inside of your tent stuffy and the comfort level can drop drastically. 

Instead, create an overhang by pitching a tarp over the entrance of your tent. Not only does it allow fresh air to enter the tent while keeping the rain out, but it also creates a sheltered area for you to hang out and remove your shoes, which further prevents you from trekking in any rainwater. 

If you want, you can also dig a shallow moat around your tent to collect any rainwater runoff from the top of the tent.  

11. Line the underside of your tent with a groundsheet

Groundsheet under tent

One common mistake most beginners make when camping is setting up their tent directly on the ground. Excess moisture in the ground will not only seep through the tent floor and make sleeping inside uncomfortable but over time, the tent itself will be damaged too, even more so if you’re camping on rough terrain.

So before you set up your tent, line the bottom with a groundsheet (also known as a tent footprint). Not only does this extra layer protect your tent, but it also helps keep the inside dry by creating an additional barrier between the tent and the ground. If you don’t have a groundsheet, a regular ol’ camping tarp works just as fine. 

Tent hacks to keep your tent warm in winter

12. Cover the top of your tent to insulate it 

Adding tent cover

While on the subject of tarps and groundsheets, did you know that you can also lay a tarp over the top of your tent to prevent moisture from seeping through? Sure your tent probably won’t win any beauty contests, but it certainly goes a long way in keeping you warm and dry. 

If you’re camping during winter, you can consider using a thermal blanket instead of a tarp for that extra burst of warmth on those cold winter nights. 

13. To keep the inside warm, line the ceiling with a Mylar blanket

Emergency thermal blanket

If you’re camping in winter,  one of the best ways to warm up your tent is to duct tape a Mylar blanket to the ceiling. A Mylar blanket, sometimes known as an emergency blanket, is made of a lightweight plastic material that reflects heat. 

Because of how it reflects your body heat back at you, a Mylar blanket is one of the best ways to keep yourself warm without electricity while camping during winter!

For more tips and tricks to insulate your tent during winter, click here

14. Build a windbreak around your tent

When camping in winter, even after insulating your tent, you might find that the inside can be extremely cold. One major culprit of this is the chilly winter winds that enter your tent. 

You could seal off your tent flaps, but as mentioned earlier, it could make the inside of the tent really stuffy. Instead, build a windbreak around your tent either by pitching a tarp or by using snow to build a makeshift wall. 

Tent hacks to stop your tent from overheating

15. Dig a shallow pit

On the flip side, if you’re camping during the hot summer months, you may need to find ways to cool your tent down. One neat camping hack for beginners is simply to dig a pit into the ground and set up your camp inside the trench. 

This works because the soil underground is less exposed to sunlight so it’s usually cooler than the topsoil. 

16. Disassemble your tent during the day

Unpitch tent

One of the reasons why your tent can feel like an oven in summer is because of how much time it spends under the sun just absorbing heat. One neat tent hack to prevent this is simply to take your tent down and then pitch it up again after the sun sets when the temperatures are cooler. 

17. Keep it icy

Before you leave on your camping trip, fill up a few bottles or jugs with water and freeze them solid. Then pack them into coolers (another camping necessity) and store them until you need to use them. 

I recommend placing an ice bottle near your bed or sleeping bag while you sleep to keep cool. Then, once you wake up in the morning, you’ve got a chilled drink to start the day! 

Alternatively, if you have a portable fan, you can place a block of ice in a plate or pan in front of it, and voila, you have a makeshift, eco-friendly air conditioner! 

Tent hacks to keep your camping grounds well-lit

18. Hang up your tent lamp

lighted tents

With most modern tents, you might notice that there’s a little hook at the top on the inside. While you could use it for other things, it’s actually there so you can hang your lamp!

One of the easiest tent hacks to maximize the lighting within your tent is to hang a lamp using the hook in your tent!

19. Use a water jug to create a lamp

This is one of those tent hacks that will make your science teacher proud! Water, as we know, is a reflective and refractive substance. Using that, you can actually create a quick and easy night light that fits in your tent!

Simply strap a light source, such as your headlamp around a water jug the water inside will refract the light, casting a glow in every corner of the tent. Not only does it make seeing in the dark easier, but the light also has a romantic ambiance to it too! 

20. Place some glow sticks at places where you might trip over

Glow sticks for tent

When it’s dark, it’s really easy to trip over the many tent lines and loops, and compartments in a tent. To prevent this from even becoming an issue, drop a few glow sticks where there are lines or other items that might trip you up. 

Bonus tent hack: Binder clips are your best friend! 

Binder clips

I cannot stress this enough. Whenever you go camping, make sure to bring extra binder clips. You won’t believe just how useful these things can be when it comes to setting up your tent. 

You could, for example, use them to secure rain flaps and keep them open (or closed), fasten a tarp to a pole, and even keep your roof tarp from being blown off by strong winds! They are basically like every avid camper’s version of duct tape! Plus, they’re easy to store and carry too. 

And there you have it, 18 brilliant tent hacks for camping like a pro! Hopefully the next time you’re camping in a tent, you’ll be able to make the experience as enjoyable and comfortable as possible!

While you’re at it, check out our tips for camping in the rain, and camping food hacks for beginners!