21 GENIUS Camping Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items

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spice in pill organizer

Oh, how we love Dollar Tree!

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 campfire 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 truly a happy camper. 😊

1. Use mesh laundry bags for drying dishes.

mesh laundry bag with cooking utensils camping hack

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dishes clean after washing them, consider grabbing these $1 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 the tent.

camping hacks - solar stake lights in front of camping tent

A great way to make it easier to see around your campsite at night is to place these $1 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 the time of year that you shop.

3. Put glow stick bracelets on tent ties at night.

kids wearing glow stick necklaces

Dollar Tree’s 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. Use pool noodles on tent lines.

Dollar Tree pool noodles

Another idea to keep everyone aware of those tent poles is to grab Dollar Tree’s brightly colored pool noodles and cut a slit down one side of the noodle as this Pinterest user did (pictured below).

camping hacks - pool noodles on tent lines

You can also take this camping hack one step further and cut pool noodles into smaller pieces and place them on the tent lines so that they are easy to spot during the day.

5. Or use pool noodles to make your own camping toilet.

blue bucket with toilet paper

Make a simple and convenient camping toilet using a 5-gallon bucket and a $1 pool noodle! Get the directions from PremeditatedSurvival.com or other various camping toilet directions here.

6. Keep paper plates from blowing away with cake carriers.

dollar tree cake stand

Although Dollar Tree’s 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.

7. Stay organized with stackable bins.

camping hacks - stacking organization bins in tent

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.

8. Keep your tent clean with a small broom & dustpan.

sweeping up dirt inside tent with dust bin

Dollar Tree’s 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 smaller kids to use, too!

9. Store items in a hanging shoe organizer.

hanging shoe organizer with camping supplies

If your Dollar Tree carries Hanging Shoe Organizers (you 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.

10. Make S’mores with barbecue skewers.

camping hacks - roasting marshmallows with bbq skewers

If you’re planning to make S’mores, grill hot dogs, or roast other foods over a campfire, this 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.

11. Store grilling spices in 7-day pill containers.

color coding pill organizer with seasoning

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 pull apart too!

12. Use candles to keep tent zippers from sticking.

using candle on tent zipper

According to REI.com, you can keep your tent zippers gliding smoothly by applying a little bit of candle wax from an un-lit candle. Dollar Tree sells 6-packs of emergency candles for just a buck!

13. Make a clothesline with hardware poly rope.

clothesline with hook from dollar tree

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.

14. Keep tablecloth down with jumbo plastic clothespins.

camping hacks - using clamps on table to hold down tablecloth

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 cleanup!

15. Store eggs & food mixes in sealed containers with lids.

Dollar Tree Condiment Bottles

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, condiment bottles, mix & serve containers, and more that would make transporting and storing food easier.

eggs and pancake mix

Or if you already have glass mason jars with lids at home, you could use those instead but keep in mind that they may break easier.

16. Make S’mores prep packs in plastic containers.

s'mores ingredients in plastic bin

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.

17. Make your own charcoal grill.

foil pan at dollar tree

Planning to grill foods on your camping trip? Leave the heavy grill at home and make your own charcoal grill for just a few bucks – and then toss it in the trash it before you head home!

According to Instructables.com, all you need for this camping hack is a foil pan, cooling rack, and charcoal (some Dollar Tree stores usually sell small bags of charcoal around Memorial Day or 4th of July).

18. Make campsite scrubbing easy with bath mitts.

bath gloves at dollar tree

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 slippery soap bar in the dirt.

19. Keep bugs off food with shower caps.

covering plate of grapes with shower cap

Use these 6-count Shower Caps to cover your plates and bowls to keep pesky bugs away. Dollar Tree also carries cute 2-pack Fly Swatters or single flowery Fly Swatters for just $1. What a fun camping hack to keep those not-so-fun pesky mosquitoes and bugs away!

dollar tree vacation hacks wrap shoes in shower caps

Since Dollar Tree’s shower caps come in packs of six, you can also use them to place your dirty shoes when packing up to keep any mud or dirt out of the car.

20. Make a first aid kit with essentials.

tool box with first aid supplies

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.

21. Pack rain ponchos… just in case.

young girl wearing rain poncho

It’s not so much of a camping hack, but you can never predict the weather, so it’s always a great idea to pack a few rain ponchos in your bags in case it starts to rain (also select Dollar Tree locations sell 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.

Want more? Check out our frugal camping hacks:

water jug lantern

Make a frugal headlamp lantern.

Make an Instant camp lantern by wrapping a headlamp flashlight around a jug of water! This works so well. By the way, headlamps are my favorite MUST HAVE camping tool, because they make life so much easier when walking around and doing things in the dark!

dryer lint in toilet paper tube

Use dryer lint or hand sanitizer to make a fire starter.

Dryer lint makes an excellent fire starter! Pack some lint in empty toilet paper rolls to take on your next camping trip. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel to help your match or lighter flame catch your tinder on fire. Some Dollar Tree stores sell large bottles of hand sanitizer for just $1.

camping hand wash station

Make your own handwashing station.

This camping hack repurposes an empty and cleaned out detergent container with a spout into a handy washing station while camping. Just fill the container with soapy water before leaving and you’re good to go!

campfire smores

Plan fun & simple recipes ahead of time.

Not sure what meals to make on your camping trip that are easy and that everyone will enjoy? Check out our favorite camping recipes – and many of them you can prepare ahead of time!

Go here for all the best travel deals!

Join The Discussion

Comments 28

  1. Amanda

    These are super nifty ideas that I would have NEVER thought of! Thank so much!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re so welcome, Amanda! Thanks for the feedback! Glad you are loving this list!

  2. April

    Love tips like these. Thanks for sharing

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome, April!

  3. Melissaan

    Great ideas!

  4. sne3103

    Do all Dollar Trees carry the hanging shoe organizers? What aisle are they in, normally?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi there! Inventory can vary by location. My store does have an aisle dedicated to home items such as hangers, storage bins, bags and light bulbs. Maybe check in that section of your store. Hope you find them!

  5. elewis91

    Hmm… ๐Ÿค” Iโ€™m thinking the camping toilet would work nicely next to the pool for my toddler who needs to use the bathroom every 2 minutes while weโ€™re swimming lol ๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Heather

      Yes! My family has done this for years out by the pool!

  6. Brooke


    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re most welcome! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. beth-3

    I’ve tried the pill containers for spices. Definitely use the screw kind like pictured. I used the standard 7 in a row with the flip top lids and they didn’t seal well enough. Everything got hard.

  8. Connie

    Can also use the pool noodles on the canopy arms on your RV.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Love that idea, Connie! Thanks for the tip!

  9. Momma of 7

    Use a pop-up hamper lined with a trash bag as a trashcan. It works great and saves space when traveling.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Ooh! GREAT suggestion! Thanks for commenting!

  10. Peaches

    Loved the toilet idea. That is very creative!

  11. Lorie

    These are great however I would strongly recommend not using the dryer lint if you are a pet owner. LOL I did this it smells awful when you burn them.

  12. twomama10

    This is so awesome, thank you. If you have a clogged toilet this will work great until a plumber fixes it.

  13. Carol

    Instead of lint in a toilet paper roll.
    Cotton balls dipped in wax or in a paper egg carton put your lint in each hole pour a little wax over each hole . Then u. Have 12 fire starters. Cotton balls work too .
    Smelly lamp oil covering cotton balls and put in zip baggie will also quickly light a fire & alot of cotton balls fit very well in a baggy.

    • Timber

      With the last bit of wax left in the fancy candle jars, we melt it over pine cones or rolled up newspaper wads. They work well as fire starters and the little bit of wax gets a new purpose.

  14. Scouter

    Cottonballs with some petroleum jelly on it works great! Just store in zip loc bag. Try a Dorito, it works too. If you can get them away from the kids.๐Ÿ˜‹

    • Timber

      We’ve used Fritos but never a dorito. Bet it works just the same.

  15. Betty

    I found large rubber bands that fit around the end of a picnic table. They hold down a table cloth great and take little room to store.

    • Charlene

      I used dollar tree 6 for a dollar elastic head bands.

  16. Annalisa Kuhlmey

    My mom is the boss of the Princeton Minnesota dollar tree

  17. Jeremiah2911

    So many great tips, I’m saving this!
    We used the 5gal bucket hack for a toilet when we were out of power for 5 days during in ice storm in February (well water + rural in Oregon)! Didn’t even have the pool noodle but we did use 2 layers of trash bags, and changed at least 1st layer after every use. Kept in our bathroom with a bottle of room spray and it was not a bad experience;)

  18. Ann

    Love the hand washing station! I might use this idea outside at home by the playground area this summer.

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