Camping Tips

Give these tips a try to take some of the rough edges off your camping trips.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

BLANCHED EGGS To keep eggs fresh, dip them in boiling water for exactly five seconds and then let them cool. This creates a film inside the shell, which makes the eggs airtight. Done properly, the treatment should preserve the eggs for weeks without refrigeration.

BLADDER ALARM Forgot your alarm clock? Drink a good draught of water before retiring and let nature wake you. The more you drink, the earlier you'll wake.

SANDPAPER SHARP No need to lug a sharpening stone to camp. Take a couple of strips of emery cloth-one fine and one rough. The strips roll up small, don't weigh much and should take care of most of your sharpening needs.

ICE PRESERVER Ice lasts longer in a cooler lined with Reflectix, a thin laminate of foil-wrapped air bubbles. Found in many home improvement stores, Reflectix is easily cut to size to wrap individual frozen food items as well.

STUMP VISE Should the need for a vise arise in camp, you can make one by cutting a sapling five or six inches in diameter about two feet above the ground and splitting the stump downward through the center. Pry open the split with an ax or wedge to insert the article you wish to work on or examine. If there's not enough pressure to hold the object, put a rope around the stump just below the split, rig a tourniquet with a stick, and twist the stick to tighten.

TACK TRICKS Thumbtacks are useful in a campground. Use them to pin a tablecloth in place and to fasten down paper plates as well.

POTASSIUM FIX Press banana slices into pancake batter after it's poured on the griddle or skillet. Brown both sides and serve as a special treat. Bananas provide potassium, which helps keep your muscles from cramping after a long day of hunting or hiking.

BACKWARD BATTERIES To keep batteries from discharging if a flashlight is accidentally nudged on during travel, put the batteries in backward. Rearrange them as soon as you reach your destination.

WATERPROOF PAPER Keep your roll of toilet paper dry by packing it in a coffee can with a plastic snap-on lid.

CARDBOARD ORGANIZER Store utensils, hot pads, spices and other frequently used items in the compartments of a cardboard carrying case for bottled drinks. These cases are sturdy, have several compartments for storage and take up little room.

CAN THE GRILL Two to four large coffee cans filled with water and covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil are great grill holders. Use the heated water later for washing the dishes and other clean-up.

BAG SUPPORT Forgot your pillow? A large zip-seal plastic bag filled with air makes a handy replacement. It's not goose down, but it might keep you from getting a nagging crick in your neck overnight.

PLUNGER WASH Make a camp washing machine from a five-gallon bucket and a toilet plunger-preferably an unused one. Put your clothes in the bucket, add hot water and soap and start plunging. By the time your arms get tired, the clothes will be ready for the rinse cycle; keep the plunger handy for that, too.

WAX TREATMENT Before hitting the trail, rub the laces of your hunting or hiking boots with paraffin to discourage burrs and beggar lice from sticking to them while you walk.

POT STRINGER A metal, clip-type fish stringer stretched between two poles or dangled from a tripod makes a handy hanger line to position a cooking pot over the fire.

FOIL IT TWICE When cooking foil-wrapped foods directly in campfire coals, add a second foil wrap over the first. This creates a package that's less likely to get punctured, which lets dirt in and steam and juices out. Also, when you remove the outer wrap, the inside package will still be clean, and the opened foil can be used as a plate or serving dish.

ASPIRIN PACK Carry aspirin and adhesive tape in your outdoor gear. Pain and inflammation from insect stings disapppear quickly when a slightly moistened, crushed aspirin tablet is taped over the sting.

FAST CLEAN For quick wash-up when camping, place a bar of soap in the toe of an old nylon stocking and tie it to the handle of your water jug to prevent the soap from slipping into the mud.

BAGGED ABOVE A shoe bag hung from a low tree limb provides a place to store easily misplaced items such as cooking utensils, seasoning, etc.