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Every day, we are faced with tasks that are either too difficult or too mundane that you feel like not doing it at all. This, plus human being’s in-born ingenuity, is probably how everyday hacks came to be.  When it comes to the outdoors, those before us have found out a number of ways to deal with every task, chore or problem they ever encountered. These vintage camping hacks are still relevant today and, as a matter of fact, should be learned by everyone, especially outdoor enthusiasts.


Get Rid of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a camper’s worst nightmare. That and Jason Vorhees coming out of the woods to slaughter everyone with his trusty machete.

Some people are not fans of sticky lotions or pungent sprays, particularly those with chemicals such as DEET. Your best alternative is to copy what the old timers did. One of the vintage camping hacks that are still significant today is the use of sage, rosemary, and other natural mosquito repellents.

Back in the day, people added herbs to their campfire to keep the bugs away. Sage remains a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. Bring sage stick bundles whenever you spend some time outdoors. They not only help ward off mosquitoes, the burning sage also protects you from evil spirits, if you believe these kinds of things.

Aside from sage bundle, you can also use essential oils. The essential oils of basil, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme are some of those commonly used against mosquitoes. Citronella remains the most popular anti-mosquito plant.


Keep Your Gear Dry

Every time you head outdoors, you should be ready for any sudden changes in weather. Make sure you have the appropriate clothes for wet conditions. As for your gear, you need to keep them in a waterproof container.

A dry box and dry bag are both waterproof containers that you can use to keep your valuables safe from the rain. Keep your matches, lighters, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, medicines, energy bars, phone, chargers and other small gear in these containers to keep them from getting wet.

The Plano Marine Box, for example, is equipped with an O-ring making it water-resistant. This makes it the perfect companion on fishing trips. The Marin Box, however, is not completely immune to water. Avoid getting it submerged in water to keep the items inside dry.

The Earth Pak Dry Bag is the better option when you’re on the go. Pack your important stuff in it and erase your worries when it rains or you have to pass through a river while on a hike or a ride. The Earth Pak Dry Bag comes in 10L and 20L versions with single shoulder straps. The 30L, 40L, and 55L dry bags utilize backpack style shoulder straps and a sternum strap. The Earth Pak Dry Bag comes with an IPX8 certified waterproof phone case for further protection.


Start A Fire

Fire is an important part of most outdoor adventures. When you go camping, you need to start a fire to cook your meals and stay warm during the night. In the morning, you’ll need it to boil water and make yourself a hot cup of coffee.

As you may have imagined, the old folks did what they had to do to build their fire and survive the wilderness. That means there are tons of vintage camping hacks related to this.

A couple of these vintage camping hacks involve crayons and chips. First, crayons make for a great emergency light source. They are made of wax so they easily burn. Plus, one piece of crayon burns for about 30 minutes so a whole box of 152 crayons will last you 3 days if you continuously light them one at a time.

You probably won’t be carrying 152 pieces of crayons to your hiking adventure. Plus, it would be a waste to use new ones. Gather every piece of old crayon that will just end up in the trash and use them to make your own zero waste fire starters. Here’s how.

Pack at least one bag of Doritos when you go camping or hiking. Aside from being a snack, corn chips are also effective fire starters. They are highly flammable so you’ll have a campfire in no time.


Fix Things With Duct Tape

They say that duct tape can fix everything except stupidity. Smart money is on you surviving any predicament as long as you have duct tape and other essential outdoor gear. That said; don’t forget to pack your duct tape.

The problem is that duct tape is quite clunky. One of the vintage camping hacks the old timers did was to bring just enough duct tape on their trip. To do so, they would wrap some of the tape around their water bottle, hiking pole, or anywhere as long as you can easily grab some when you need it.


Don’t Get Lost

The outdoors can be treacherous, especially for the inexperienced. Whenever you’re heading for the great outdoors, make sure you have the right gear you’ll need in case something goes wrong.

If you’re lost, for example, and you don’t have GPS, you need a way to signal potential rescuers. An emergency whistle will help other people pinpoint your location if you’re lost, hurt and unable to move. A signal mirror will get the attention of rescue planes and helicopters.

You can also send out smoke signals, one of the vintage camping hacks people still use today. Don’t forget your compass, of course. It’ll help you identify the directions to take in case you get lost. Just be sure you know how to read a compass properly.

The Pathfinder GLO Pocket Compass is a great gear to have every time you go on a trek outdoors. It’s so compact and lightweight (0.5 ounces) that you won’t even feel that you have it. It comes with a keychain so you can easily attach it to your backpack, car keys, or on your belt loop. This compass is also visible at night thanks to its glow-in-the-dark feature.

Before you even need all these vintage camping hacks, you should make sure not to get lost. According to Family Handyman, bright colored ribbons will prevent any accidents involving tent tethers. When you’re going out on a hike, however, these bright colored ribbons will help make sure you get back to camp.

Ideally, you should have neon trail marking ribbons but any kind of ribbon will do. Tie a ribbon on a branch to signify that you’ve passed through there. If in case you get lost or confused, you can backtrack or go back to the camp by following the ribbons.


Camping, hiking and other outdoor activities are fun as long as you’re prepared. It also helps if you know what you’re doing. Vintage camping hacks such as the ones listed here should also be in your treasure chest of knowledge. These tricks will make your life a lot easier. Check out Gentleman Pirate Club for more camping tips and tricks.

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