27 Must-Try Camping Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items!

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Save these Dollar Tree camping hacks and ideas for your next trip.

best camping hacks written on a dry-erase board held by hand in a tent

You’ll be a happy camper with these hacks! 🏕️

Camping can be one of the most fun, frugal vacations that you can go on with your family and our Dollar Tree camping hacks will make every trip a breeze!

Watch these awesome tips come to life on YouTube!


1. Use a mesh laundry bag for drying dishes.

mesh laundry bag with cooking utensils camping hack

Grab a mesh laundry bag and place your wet dishes in it to keep them clean after washing. Hang it up on a tree limb and your dishes will dry and stay clean. Plus, you can use your mesh bag for its original intent during and after your trip.


2. Solar lights are one of the greatest hacks for camping if you want your tent to look like you’re glamping.

stacks of solar lights in dollar tree

Not only will this camping hack look like you’re glamping, but it’s also a great way to make it easier to see around your campsite at night. Simply place your solar lights wherever you would like more light. They’d be useful near your tent poles, tent entry, close to the bathroom, the wood pile, and more!

You may even be able to find some fun solar lights in-store depending on the time of year that you shop. Plus, they’ll be just as useful in your yard once you’re home. Win, win!


3. Use glow stick bracelets on tent ties at night to easily spot your kiddos in the dark.

using glow sticks to illuminate a tent zipper, one of our favorite camping hacks

Dollar Tree’s glow sticks are always fun for the kids to use while camping and they make them easy to spot in the dark! Plus, glow sticks are also helpful to place around the tent ties at night. This means people are less likely to trip on them when they’re exiting the tent.


4. Pool noodles are great Dollar Store camping hacks to use for your tent lines.

woman using pool noodles on tent strings for camping hacks and camping ideas

Minimize tripping hazards by grabbing some pool noodles to place around your tent lines! All you have to do is cut a slit down one side of the noodle and wrap it around the lines. That way there will be less chance of any injuries if anyone does happen to run into them. Better yet, they’ll still be usable for the pool after your trip.


5. Or you could use pool noodles for another one of our camping tips to make your own DIY toilet.

blue bucket with toilet paper camping ideas

Make a simple and convenient camping toilet using a 5-gallon bucket and a pool noodle! You can get the full directions from Trek Southwest. Many of our Hip readers also recommended using a trash bag, wood chips, dirt, or cat litter to make clean-up even easier. These are one of the best camping ideas you won’t regret having!


6. A cake carrier will keep all of your paper plates and napkins from blowing away.

plates and utensils inside cake carrier on red and white table mat camping ideas

We’ve heard Dollar Tree’s cake carrier can be a little flimsy to hold a heavy cake. However, they couldn’t be more perfect to store paper plates and napkins! One of these genius camping ideas will keep all your essentials from flying away or getting dirty. As a bonus, they’ll also be in one place when it’s time to eat!


7. Use a lint roller to potentially stop any ticks in their tracks.

hand holding a lint roller with bugs on it for camping ideas and camping hacks

Ticks are going to be bad this year, so taking extra precautions while you’re out in the woods is a good idea. A lint roller is an easy way to stop ticks from crawling on the outside of your clothing before they can cause harm. Just be sure to do a more thorough check once you’re undressed and while showering too.

Hip Tip: Our favorite bug repellent is tick-resistant and so safe it’s considered edible!


8. Stay organized with stackable bins.

camping hacks and camping ideas stacking organization bins in tent

These Dollar Tree stacking bins are great to use inside the tent. There are endless camping ideas for staying organized with these bins! From holding games, lighters, hand sanitizer, flashlights, bug spray, and so much more! Best of all, you can pack them up before you leave so unpacking once you get set up is a cinch!


9. Keep your tent clean with a small broom and dustpan.

sweeping up dirt inside tent with dust bin camping ideas

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!


10. Store camping items and groceries in a hanging organizer.

utensils, sanitizer, and other camping items in shoe organizer

You can use a Dollar Tree hanging shower caddy to keep random kitchen supplies, games, or toiletry items organized and in one spot. Simply hang it on the side of a tree, inside the tent, or on a shaded structure for easy access. Better yet, it’s an item you can use once you’re home too.

Shoe organizers from Walmart or Amazon will also work and cost just a few bucks more.


11. Use a laundry basket as a trash can and fill it with stuff when you leave.

hand holding a laundry basket with trash bag inside in front of tent for camping ideas

You’ll need somewhere to put all of your trash during your trip. While you could hang a bag from any branch, this camping hack using a laundry basket will make it easier and more accessible for everyone. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the bag ripping if it gets heavy. Even better, traditional kitchen bags fit perfectly around the edge.

You could even consider getting two baskets and designate one for recycling and one for trash!


12. Store grilling spices in Tic Tac containers or other small containers.

hand holding tic tac mints at walgreens

First, enjoy your Dollar Tree Tic Tacs, then reuse them for storing your spices! Upcycling these airtight containers will allow you to bring a smaller quantity of each spice.

Hip Tip: Get the most out of all your trash with our other clever upcycling ideas!


13. Use stick 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 25!


14. Grab a clothesline with hooks for an easy cleaning camping hack!

Clotheslines hanging in the dollar tree

Be sure to grab a clothesline with hooks to have a convenient place to hang wet towels, socks, shoes, swimsuits, and other apparel. In fact, you may want to grab a few if you plan to wash your clothes while camping too!


15. Keep the tablecloth down with jumbo plastic clothespins.

camping hacks - using clamps on table to hold down tablecloth

Pick up this 6-pack of jumbo plastic clothespins and clamp them on the edge of your tablecloth to keep it from blowing away.

Hip Tip: Bring an old, fitted mattress sheet from home and wrap it over the table – then just throw it in the washing machine when you’re done for easy cleanup!


16. Store food mixes in condiment bottles for easy meals. 

Dollar Tree Condiment Bottles

Grab some easy-to-pour condiment bottles if you see yourself whipping up some pancakes while camping. You can even pre-fill them before you leave if you have the time and a way to keep your mixes fresh and cool. Once you have them ready to go, all you have to do is squeeze them into the pan.

oatmeal mix in mason jar

Or if you already have some glass canning jars with lids at home, you could use those instead. Just keep in mind that they’re much more breakable if dropped.

Hip Tip: To keep things even easier, you can pre-mix some oatmeal blends, pancake mixes, etc. with ingredients that can be kept at room temperature, like dried fruits & nuts, dry milk, and shortening!


17. Make s’mores prep packs in plastic containers.

plastic container filled with marshmallows chocolate and graham crackers for smores

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. Luckily, Dollar Tree has a lot of choices if you don’t already have something lying around! You can also use them to store clean plasticware or napkins to keep them from flying away or getting dirty.


18. Use a foil pan for one of our genius DIY camping hacks where you’ll make your very own charcoal grill.

dollar tree foil pan

Chances are you’re planning to grill food on your upcoming camping trip. In case you didn’t think of it, you can leave the heavy grill at home and make your very own charcoal grill for just a few bucks! Best of all, aluminum is endlessly recyclable so you’re not leaving much of a trace with this camping hack.

foil pan with charcoal and steaks for diy camping hacks grill

Photo credit: Instructables.com

According to Instructables.com, all you need for this camping hack is a foil pan, cooling rack, and charcoal. Keep your eye out as some Dollar Tree stores usually sell small bags of charcoal around the summer holidays. That means you can create a grill for just a few bucks!

Hip Tip: Our simple queso on the grill is a delicious snack idea for your entire camping group!


19. Make campsite scrubbing easy with bath sponges and mitts.

hand holding a blue microfiber mitt, one of our favorite camping hacks to try in 2024

Cut pieces of bar soap and place them inside a microfiber wash-mitt (found in the car section) or some bath sponges for convenient campsite scrubbing. 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.

Hip Tip: When the soap bar is dry, use a vegetable peeler to safely shave off the perfect amount of soap for each sponge.


20. One of our favorite Dollar Tree camping hacks is to use shower caps to keep bugs off food and dirt out of your tent.

covering plate of grapes with shower cap

Dollar Tree now has packs of shower caps you can buy. One of our genius camping hacks is using caps to cover your plates and bowls to keep pesky bugs away! What a fun camping trick to keep those not-so-fun mosquitoes and bugs away!

Tree also carries cute 2-pack Fly Swatters for just $1.25.

woman walking into tent with clear shower caps on shoes

Grab two packs of these shower caps to use for your shoes! Since Dollar Tree’s shower caps come in packs of 8, you can use one pack for up to 4 people to slip over their shoes. This camping hack will help keep dirt out of your tent and/or limit the need to take your shoes off. You can also use them to place your dirty shoes in when packing up to keep any mud or dirt out of the car or backpack.


21. You can have all the camping tips and tricks, but a first aid kit should always be essential.

tool box with first aid supplies

It’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit with you when camping. Dollar Tree sells many first-aid essentials from Band-aids to hand sanitizer to medicines and more.

Also, you may find these black toolboxes priced at just $1.25 which would be great for storing your first aid items.


22. Pack rain ponchos for the whole family… just in case.

hand holding rain ponchos in in bags

You can never predict the weather! These ponchos may not be a camping hack, but they’ll keep you from getting drenched during necessary times like running from the tent to the bathroom or packing up the car when you can’t hold an umbrella.

Speaking of umbrellas, you may be able to find umbrellas at your local Dollar Tree if you want to bring one along.


23. Make a frugal camp lantern using a jug of water and a headlamp.

DIY nightlight using a jug of water, one of the dollar tree camping hacks

Make an Instant camp lantern by wrapping a headlamp around a large jug of water. This works so well when you’re trying to move around at night and may help kids feel safe at night too. *Note that 3 AAA batteries are required for this light, so this camping hack could be even more frugal if you already have a rechargeable headlamp at home.


24. Use an empty toilet paper roll with dryer lint and hand sanitizer to make a fire starter.

dryer lint in toilet paper tube

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.

Hip Tip: Some of our Hip readers also suggested using cotton balls or pads dipped in some wax as an effective waterproof fire starter! You could even take your camping hack one step further by making them ahead of time and storing them in a cardboard egg carton.


25. Grab a journal or planner to keep track of meals, other cool camping hacks, and more!

amber's meal planning — notebook and planner for meal planning and grocery list

Planning meals ahead means a stress-free snack around the campfire! While you can definitely keep a list of everything you need on your phone, picking up one of Dollar Tree’s super frugal journals or planners will keep your vacation tech-free, and no one has to wonder what’s for dinner. 🙌

Check out our favorite camping recipes. Many of them can even be prepared ahead of time:

Skillet nachos, one of our favorite camping hacks

Hip Tip: Chances are you’ll want to pack snacks for the drive to the campsite, and we’ve got you covered with this awesome Hawaiian Roll sandwich hack!


26. Use a dry-erase board for snapping pictures of your location and/or camping itinerary. 

woman holding dry erase board in tent with camping ideas information

Documenting your whereabouts and itinerary are always great camping ideas especially if you have worried family and friends when you camp. While not everyone will have the ability to send photos day to day, documenting on a dry-erase board and snapping a photo is a fun way to keep track of your days and what you did.


27. Make some DIY games and have some fun!

cut foam pool noodles on a tic tac toe board

Kids and adults alike will appreciate these cool camping ideas! You can create a fun, waterproof Tic-Tac-Toe board using just a few items from Dollar Tree. All you need are some foam pool noodles, a shower curtain, a marker, and some scissors.

Visit the Dollar Tree website for the full instructions or consider making your game even more frugal by drawing your board with chalk or masking tape!


Rent an RV to go camping and have it delivered right to your campsite!

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