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 Camping Hacks

Part 3

Camping Hack #11

Invest in a two-person sleeping bag.

I have never seen the point of these. (Disclaimer: I have never owned or used a double sleeping bag.)

If you are planning to do any winter or fall camping, a double bag will be useless. Cold air will rush in the top of the bag, and all the cuddling in the world won't keep you warm. The only way to stay cozy is to stay in your own single bag and cinch up the top around your neck.

Double sleeping bags are heavy and bulky, too. It's easier to pack and carry two single bags than one really big bag.

Instead, why not get two matching single sleeping bags and zip them together when you want a double bag?

sleeping bags zipped together

Sleeping bags that zip together give you the best of both worlds. You can put them together when you want a double bag, and use them individually when you don’t.

Two rectangular sleeping bags make a perfect double bag. As you can see in the photo, you can also zip together two barrel sleeping bags. You could even zip together two mummy sleeping bags if you really wanted to (I've tried it) - but you wouldn't get a very comfortable sleep!

Have you ever used a double sleeping bag? Do you recommend them?

The verdict: Unnecessary and impractical.

Camping hack #12

Get trailer hitch hammocks for car camping.

A stand that attaches to your trailer hitch and holds up two hammocks? Cool idea! I could use my hammock anytime, even when there is not a tree in sight.

But would I really use it?

Would I use it enough to justify spending $240 on it?

No, I wouldn't.

There are lots of comfy seating options that are more practical.

I like my hammock chair. It's nice and portable, and it can be hung easily from a hook on the porch, or from a tree.

hammock chair

If there's no tree in sight, how about one of these ultra-adjustable zero-gravity chairs? This one belongs to my in-laws. It's very comfortable.

zero gravity chair

When I go backpacking, I take along this lightweight sleeve that turns my Thermarest pad into a comfortable chair.

Thermarest chair

All of those options are comfortable, portable, and much less expensive than a trailer hitch hammock!

The verdict: More expensive than it's worth.

If you decide to try a Hammaka trailer hitch hammock, please let me know how it works and if you like it!

Camping hack #13

Cut up a straw and fill the pieces up with toothpaste for single-use packets.

Oh, come on. As you have probably already guessed, this was messy and frustrating. Toothpaste just doesn't go into a hole with a 1 cm diameter without a lot of fuss and bother.

straw filled with toothpaste

Don’t even ask me about the part where you're supposed to seal up the ends with a lighter!

And really, why bother? Even if you are going on an extended backpacking trip where every packed ounce counts, why not just get a mini tube of toothpaste, squeeze out most of it, and pack the rest? A tube with enough paste for a weekend trip weighs just 6 grams and is neat and tidy.

toothpaste tube on scale

The verdict: More trouble than it's worth.

Here's another idea: little single use toothpaste tablets. Just chew one tablet, swish it about in your mouth, and brush as usual!

Camping hack #14

Make travel coffee bags out of coffee filters and dental floss.

This is an easy and effective idea! Just place a scoop of coffee in the middle of a coffee filter, gather up the edges and tie a loop of dental floss around the middle.

coffee filter, dental floss, coffee

Put the "coffee bag" in your mug, add water, and there's your cup of coffee!

homemade coffee bag in mug

If you make up a bunch of these before you leave home, you'll be all set for a quick coffee fix when you get to camp.

The verdict: A good idea!

Camping hack #15

Need your coffee? Bring "ready brew" packets.

I'm not a coffee connoisseur, so don't take me too seriously on this camping hack, but I thought this made a great cup of coffee! It was easy to make. I just opened the packet, dumped the contents in a cup and added hot water - just like with the instant coffee granules my dad uses. However, it tasted much better than traditional instant. It tasted like real coffee!

I'd love to hear from some dedicated coffee drinkers. Have you tried these? What do you think? As you can see from the reviews, lots of people rave about them!

packet of Starbucks ready brew coffee

The verdict: I liked it!

No Starbucks near your house? You can buy these on Amazon!

Continue to Part 4.

Did you miss the first part of this series? Click here to begin at the beginning.

The Camping Family has oodles of great camping tricks and tips. Visit my home page to get started.

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