Camping Gear DIY: Make Your Own Supplies

Camping Gear DIY: How to Make Your Own Supplies

The original idea behind camping is “roughing it” — we leave our comfortable homes and stick it out in the woods for a few days, just for the fun of it. But all the modern camping supplies available now can take away from that simplistic purpose, and rack up an expensive bill while they’re at it. Here are five DIY ideas to try that will make you feel like a true camper and save you some money as well.

1. Make Your Own Tent

What you need:
one waterproof tarp, 8’ x 16’ or similar ratio; one medium size rope, at least 16’ long.

Find a camping spot that’s level and has at least two trees with an 8′ to 12′ space between them and tie the rope tautly between the trees about 4′ above the ground. Center the first third of the tarp on the ground underneath the rope and place a heavy rock at each corner and one at each edge where the first third ends. Fold the second and third parts of the tarp over the rope to make a triangular shape and tuck the floating edge under the rocks at the corners.

2. Make Your Own Sleeping Bag

What you need:
one yoga mat; one twin size duvet cover; one twin size blanket

Stuff the duvet cover with the blanket, then insert the yoga mat and keep it pressed against one side of the duvet so you can easily fold the other side over yourself. The yoga mat provides a firmer barrier against the hard ground than if you use just a blanket and rolls up for easy carrying.

3. Make Your Own First Aid Kit

What you need:
one waterproof, lightweight box — tackle boxes work well; your choice of bandages and medications.

The prepacked first aid kits you buy in a store often contain supplies you’ll never need and end up expiring unused. Stock your box with the items you know you use the most. But be sure to also include things you may need in an unusual situation, like hydrocortisone cream to calm a bee sting. Check the kit before every camping trip and make sure there’s enough stock to last your whole trip, plus a day or two extra.

4. Make Your Own Soda Can Stove

What you need:
one empty soda can plus a knife and high-temperature tape, or one can plus a kit.

This lightweight stove is all you need to boil a mug of water or heat soup. One method of making this item requires a heat-proof tape and carefully measured cuts and pokes with the knife. To simplify the process, you can use a kit that includes everything you need to make the stove — besides the soda can.

5. Make Your Own Lantern

What you need:
one plastic bottle; one flashlight or headlamp.

This one is simple — fill the bottle with water and rest the face of the flashlight or headlamp against the side of the bottle. The water in the bottle creates a wider illumination than the flashlight alone. If you use a headlamp, you can stretch its band around the bottle for a compact device.

Have fun with these projects, but make sure you don’t skimp on safety! If you plan a trip where bad weather or dangerous circumstances are likely, take the equipment you need to have a safe excursion.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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