Pitch a tent, fire, pack a cooler, tie a two half-hitches: these are the camping basics. Even if you didn’t study them in the Boy Scout handbook, online guides make them easy to learn. But what about the lesser-known, less intuitive ways to make camping more pleasant, comfortable or efficient? These are camping’s best-kept secrets — today we might call them “camping hacks”. Most can’t be found in a book. Think hard and you may discover you’ve built some up yourself: A bandanna doubles as a beer koozie. Hearts is the perfect camp card game. A ghost story is best told with someone hiding in the woods supplying sound effects.
But the best camping hacks come from people whose hearts and minds are constantly on the next meadow and copse, the trailhead, mountaintop or campsite. These experts — survivalists, adventurers, safari guides, chefs and more — are so in tune with Mother Nature’s song that they’ve added harmonies. Some are traditions handed down for generations; others were learned over thousands of hours of hard work in the woods, and others still were picked up by chance or desperate necessity. Though small, they are as varied as the terrain over the hillside. (One’s called a “Poop Tube”.) Together, they can change the way you camp. Here, the experts share their ways.