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20 GENIUS Camping Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items

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Camping can be one of the most fun, frugal “vacations” you can go on with your family IF you know how to plan ahead (I mean who doesn’t love gooey S’mores, singing by the camp fire or telling ghost stories in the dark?!). If you’re planning a camping trip on a budget this summer, check out the following camping “hacks” using Dollar Tree items that will ensure everyone is a happy camper. 😊

1.) Use Mesh Laundry Bags for Drying Dishes

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dishes clean after washing them, consider grabbing Mesh Laundry Bags and placing your wet dishes in it. Then just hang it up on a tree limb and the dishes will dry and stay clean from dirt or sand. You can also use the bag for keeping dirty laundry in one place.

2.) Place Solar Stake Lights Around Tent

A great way to make it easier to see around your campsite at night is to place these Solar Stake Lights wherever you would like more light (i.e. by the tent poles, near tent entry, close to the bathroom, etc). You may even be able to find patriotic or holiday-themed lights depending on when you shop.

3.) Put Glow Stick Bracelets on Tent Ties at Night

Glow sticks are always fun for the kids to use while camping (and makes them easy to spot in the dark)! They are also helpful to place around the tent ties at night so that no one trips on them.

4.) Place Pool Noodles on Tent Lines

Another idea to keep everyone aware of those tent poles is to grab brightly colored Pool Noodles and cut a slit down one side of the noodle and cut them into smaller pieces (can make them as big or small as you want). Then just place them on the tent lines so that they are easy to spot during the day.

(Photo Credit)

5.) Keep Paper Plates from Blowing Away with Cake Carriers

Although this Cake Carrier may be a little flimsy to hold a heavy cake, it is perfect for using to store paper plates and napkins on the table so they won’t fly away on a windy day or get dirty.

6.) Stay Organized with Stackable Bins

These stacking bins are great for using inside the tent to keep things organized or even for placing on the picnic table to hold games, lighters, hand sanitizer, flashlights, bug spray, and other items.

7.) Keep Your Tent Clean with a Small Broom & Dustpan

A handheld broom with dustpan is the perfect size for keeping inside the tent to sweep up the dirt, leaves, and/or sand that may creep in throughout the day. Plus, they’re great for littler kids to use too!

8.) Store Items in a Hanging Shoe Organizer

If your Dollar Tree carries Hanging Shoe Organizers (can also find inexpensive ones at Walmart or Amazon), you can use these to keep random kitchen supplies or toiletry items organized and in one spot. Then just hang it on the side of a tree, inside the tent or on a shaded structure for easy access.

9.) Make S’mores with Campfire Skewers

If you’re planning to make S’mores or roast foods over a campfire, these 4-pack of skewers definitely come in handy and are actually pretty nice quality. Plus, some Dollar Tree stores may even carry single skewers for $1 with rubber handles and poles that extend so you can make it longer if needed.

10.) Store Spices in 7-Day Pill Containers

An easy way to season your foods without bringing your entire spice rack is to grab these 7-Day Stacking Pill Organizer containers and fill them with different spices that you’ll need or want to use while cooking (salt, pepper, sugar, season salt, garlic salt, etc). Plus, the containers come apart too!

11.) Keep Bugs Away with Fun Fly Swatters

This isn’t really a “hack”, but Dollar Tree carries these cute 2-pack Fly Swatters or single flowery Fly Swatters for just $1. You may also find Mosquito Repelling Coils and Flying Insect Killer Spray (along with other bug repellent items and citronella candles) that will help keep those pesky bugs away.

12.) Make a Clothes Line with Hardware Poly Rope

If you’re planning to wash your clothes while camping OR if you just need a place to hang wet towels, socks, shoes, swimsuits and other apparel, be sure to grab a clothesline with hook for just $1.

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13.) Keep Tablecloth Down with Jumbo Plastic Clothespins

To keep your tablecloth from blowing away on a windy day, pick up these Jumbo Plastic Clothespins and clamp them over your tablecloth onto the edge of the table (they also sell smaller table clamps).

Another tip is to bring an old, fitted mattress sheet from home and wrap it over the table – then just throw it in the washing machine when you are done for easy clean up!

14.) Store Eggs & Food Mixes in Sealed Container with Lids

There are a lot of neat plastic storage containers with lids at Dollar Tree that are great for cracking eggs into and storing for making scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc. I found water bottles, mix and serve containers and more that would make transporting and storing food much easier. Or if you already have glass mason jars with lids at home, you could use those instead but they may break easier.

15.) Make S’mores Prep Packs in Plastic Containers

Avoid having to search around for S’mores supplies by prepping ahead of time and keeping all the items together in a plastic container with a lid – and Dollar Tree has a lot of choices! You can also place clean plastic-ware or napkins in these containers to keep them from flying away or getting dirty.

16.) Make Your Own Charcoal Grill

Planning to grill foods on your camping trip? Make your own charcoal grill using a foil pan, cooling rack and charcoal (some stores usually sell small bags of charcoal around Memorial Day or 4th of July)!

(Photo Credit)

17.) Make Campsite Scrubbing Easy with Bath Mitts

For convenient campsite scrubbing, cut pieces of bar soap and place them inside these cute bath gloves or a microfiber wash-mitt (found in the car section). Then just get the gloves wet when you are ready to wash and you won’t have to worry about dropping a slipper soap bar in the dirt.

18.) Keep Bugs Off Food with Shower Caps

Use these 8ct Shower Caps to cover your plates and bowls to keep pesky bugs away. You can also keep your dirty shoes in these shower caps when packing up to keep any mud or dirt out of the car.

19.) Make a First Aid Kit with Essentials

It’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit with you when camping in case someone gets hurt. Dollar Tree sells many first-aid essentials from band-aids to hand sanitizer to medicines and more. Also, you may find these black Tool Boxes priced at just $1 that would be great for storing your first aid items.

20.) Pack Rain Ponchos… Just in Case

Because you can never predict the weather, it’s always a great idea to pack a few Rain Ponchos in your bags in case it starts to rain (also Dollar Tree sells Umbrellas for just $1)! These Ponchos will help you from getting drenched when running from the tent to the bathroom in the middle of the night or when you are packing up the car to head home and can’t hold an umbrella and bags at the same time.

Did YOU See These Additional Camping Tips?

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 90

  1. Bobbi

    I used crib bumper pads for picnic table benches, just cut the extra ties from middle and sew them onto ends to make them longer. I also bout clear shower curtains and rings to put around the easy up so we stay dry in the rain.

    • Ruby Graves


      • Jennifer

        Hi, Ruby.

        I think Bobby was stating that she uses crib bedding as picnic bench cushions. Crib bedding sets may have a piece called a bumper pad. These pads run along the inside of the crib slats and have ties to secure them to the corners and center rails. As the Academy of Pediatrics started recommending NOT to use crib bumpers in 2011, most sets do not include this piece any longer.

        As for the Easy-up, it is an instant pop-up canopy used for shelter or shade in outdoor areas. As the canopy has no sides, Bobbi purchases clear shower curtains from Dollar Tree to attach to her E-Z Up Instant shelter to use as see-thru, rainproof “walls.” (I would add something to weigh down the bottom of each curtain for when the wind picks up, or everyone might get slapped with wet plastic. Ugh…) Frugal Genius!

        I always camp in a cabin. I love hitting Dollar Tree for their solar stake lights and paper lanterns. Not only do these help little ones find our “cookie cutter” cabin, but they add just enough ambience/light and don’t disturb close neighbors. I also buy over-the-door hook racks to add more space for wet ponchos, swimsuits, and coats. Boxed milk and a few packs of individual sized cereal boxes that you can cut open, add milk, and eat out of are always great for that final morning breakfast and clean-up, too! Travel soap boxes are the perfect size for organizing crayons or card games which are awesome for any tech-free week. My final tip: buy trash can liners, a pool noodle, and a pack of diapers. Line a 5g bucket (NOT at Dollar Tree…sorry) with the liner, secure the rim with the pool noodle, and lay 1 diaper in the bottom every night. You’ll save yourself a few cold, middle of the night trips to the loo – esp. with curious toddlers! They usually want to use the makeshift potty instead of checking out the public restrooms. LOL…FUN!

        • Cat

          5 gal. pail with liner, pool noodle and diaper = genius!

  2. Kay

    I have arthritis in my back which makes bending a real pain in the back. I have white mop boards throughout our house. With a rubber band I attached one of these dusting mitts to a broom handle and use that to dust the mop boards.

    • Mjack

      What’s mop board please?

      • TAH

        Mop boards = baseboard

  3. Frank Neidenbach

    Don’t forget LA Totally Awsome spray cleaner. $1 for the full spray bottle and $1 for the refill quart bottle. All around the best spray cleaner you can buy and really inexpensive. Even removes stubborn RV black lines.

  4. Paula l

    I use containers to organize and keep things from moving as we go down the road to our destination with our travel trailer.

  5. Diane taber

    Hi we’re new to camping and would love to know where me and my husband and our dog can actually do a really frugal holiday for us all and buy a really nice tent cheaply on a budget please and get a few things for cooking and washing and sleeping on for the holiday.

    • nikita

      Walmart clearance after winter and right before memorial day they always have tents on sale next to nothing

    • Stephanie

      I bought my instant-up Coleman tent at costco for $75 three years ago. It’s very easy to put up (I put it up alone) and Costco has a guarantee on everything, so it can be exchanged if it breaks. I buy the supplies I need are walmart and Academy. Always check the clearance aisle at walmart!

  6. Michelle

    I got magnetic metal tins from the school supplies section at Dollar Tree and use them for seasonings. They are magnetic so I stick them to the stove vent Hood.

  7. SaraJT

    Another way to use glow sticks are for those pet lovers. I have two dogs and they like to wander wherever me and the hubby go camping, so we connect some of the glow in the dark bracelets to make a necklace for our dogs. It makes it easy for us to spot our dogs at night.

  8. Sue

    Never thought of using a foil pan and putting briquettes in it to bbq…..Great idea!

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