Psst, you. Unfold that crook scroller’s neck and listen up. We’ve got the best outdoor hacks in the business.


You’ve seen them at the campground. They effortlessly float through camp setup while you flounder around bending your tent pegs. It seems like they’re part of some secret society that knows where to get camping gear that actually works together and wood that actually burns.

Well rub the smoke from them daydreamin’ eyes because you know that ain’t true. What these people have isn’t just experience, it’s hacks. 

Hacks have become a bit of a dirty word after every website on earth posted about ‘Life Hacks’ in the twenty teens, but they’re actually pretty neato. With just a few tips you’ll add years of experience to your camping resume and everyone will want to sleep with you.

We asked the We Are Explorers community Facebook Group what their favourite hacks were and they went bloody mental. Read on, towards enlightenment.

1. Head Torch Bottle Lantern

Suggested by Nathan McNeil

Lanterns are a trial to take hiking. They’re bulky, heavy and even kind of expensive. Sure there are specific hiking lanterns on the market, but what if you’re already carrying everything you need?

The method is simple, just chuck your water bottle on top of your head torch to diffuse the light through it, bonus points if your water bottle is a wild colour. #ravetent

Level Up: Bring a camping mug big enough to hold your water bottle. It saves space and by chucking the head torch in the mug and plonking the bottle on top you’ll have a lantern in less time than it takes to say ‘yeah I’m just really getting into minimalism’.


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Jono Tan, lantern, head torch

Talk about a glow up!

2. Cheeky Duct Tape

Suggested by Jonathan Gibson

This one blew my mind when I first saw it. Simply take a roll of your preferred tape (duct or gaffa are good all-rounders) and start wrapping it around your lighter, water bottle, EPIRB.. basically anything round. Now you’ve got a metre of bomber tape ready for quick repairs or bootleg blister protection (yep, there’s a hack for that below).


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Tim Ashelford, nalgene bottle, water bottle

3. Spicy Pill Box

Suggested by Jo Cosham

I know, the last time you saw spicy pills was at Splendour, but this idea is pretty ingenious. Simply fill a pill box with all the herbs and spices you need to turn your camp cookout up to 11.

4. Hip Trench

Suggested by Mike Ashelford

If you don’t have a fancy thicc sleeping pad this one’s for you! Simply dig a shallow trench for your hip before you pitch your tent and lay down your mat, line those up somehow, and voila! Hip sleeping never felt this good.

Leave no trace: This one comes with a caveat; only do this if you’re at a campground where you’re allowed to disturb the soil and can easily fix it up when you go to leave.

5. Frozen Burrito

Suggested by Jonathan Gibson

This is raw stoke, I’m gonna let Jono explain it:

‘If you can have a fire at your campsite or hike in spot, buy your favorite burrito, wrap in more foil and then freeze it. On the first night, toss your semi-frozen burrito near some coals and bam! While everyone else is chewing down freeze-dried meals you can enjoy a tasty burrito. Maccas breakfast muffins also work well for this if that’s your vibe.’

6. Nalgene Hot Water Bottle

Suggested by Lorna Cartwright Hliounakis and many more!

There might not be anything more satisfying than making a bootleg hot water bottle while camping in winter. I’ve done this camping in the snow before and it’s certified top shelf.

Boil your water and pour it into your bottle. Screw it up nice and tight, then slide it into a sock and push it down to the bottom of your sleeping bag. It’ll be warm for hours!

Safety note: It’s really important that you only do this with a bottle that a) won’t melt and b) won’t leak. I use a Nalgene as they’re bombproof, also this one glows in the dark!


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Tim Ashelford, nalgene bottle, water bottle

Steamy AF

7. Bootleg Blister Protection

Suggested by Stephanie Langridge

This one is pretty dire straits, but could save you a much much worse time down the track. If you’ve got a really bad blister, cut a little bit of foam from your sleeping pad (or keep some in your first aid kit), grab some of the duct tape from your bottle and stick it to the foam. It might just be the padding that saves ya.

8. Extra Sticky Blister Tape

Suggested by Laurence Kain

Say you’ve thought far enough ahead to bring an actual medical strapping tape like Leukoplast. Well hold ya horses sonny Jim, don’t go putting socks and shoes on just yet! 

Once you’ve covered your hotspot, Laurence recommends running a lighter near the tape, letting it get so hot you can barely stand it, then letting it cool, before booting up. Apparently this glue-improving trick once helped him make one bit of tape last 10 days. Yikes!

Bonus Hack: Round the corners of the tape before applying, this will give it less edges to catch and peel off.

9. Turbo Campfire

Suggested by Ben Darwall

Struggling to get your campfire going? Wet wood, need coals in a flash, or just trying to light logs with a lighter? A cordless leaf blower or mattress pump can rocket your fire to life (and if it doesn’t stay that way after, you can well and truly give up).

Fire safety: This hack has the potential to spread embers everywhere, don’t do that. Keep the area around your fire clear of flammable stuff and don’t use this method (or even have a fire) when there’s fire danger or bans in place.


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Jono Tan, pump, campfire

Is it just me or is this image kinda threatening?

10. Jaffle Iron Pies

Suggested by Charlie Elliott

Ever seen those jaffle irons that you stick in the fire? Simply replace the bread with puff pastry for an absolutely delicious camping pie. Cheerin’!

11. Lit Tent Pegs

Suggested by Wendy Elliott

You’ll have to find a new way to deck yourself around camp ‘cause Wendy’s solved this one. Simply strap a glow stick to any troublesome tent pegs and then don’t let your mates get too blind.

Bonus hack: My Dad, who’s a bit of a glamper, brings solar-powered garden lights from Bunnings, because he’s worth it.

12. Sleeping Bag Gas

Suggested by Peter Davidson

In really cold weather, the gas canister that works with your hiking stove might struggle to put out gas if it gets too cold. Don’t worry though, there’s a solution, and it involves cuddles!

Just chuck your gas canister into the bottom of your sleeping bag and get cosy.

13. Bargain Waterproof Gloves

Suggested by Rita Kurpiewski

Waterproof gloves are expensive, and permeable, and they come in such boring colours!

Rita’s got a hack, just chuck dishwashing gloves over your normal gloves! Sweaty, but functional! I know for a fact that Beau Miles does this, and he’s got credentials.


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Tim Ashelford, waterproof glove

Definitely won’t freak people out on the trails

14. Toasty Booty

Suggested by Nick Fraser

Warm feet and legs from the fire but a freezing arse? Nick’s got a solution so elegant I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it. Put some hot coals under your camp chair!

Ok so obviously this hack could damage your chair or burn you, and definitely don’t do it in an enclosed area. But if you pull it off I can imagine the satisfaction is without compare.

15. Pre-Dug Poo Pit

Suggested by Michael I-i

We hope that you know how to poo in the bush, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get it wrong. Mike suggests pre-digging a hole (this could even be a cathole) so it’s ready to go when nature calls for a number deuce. You’ll be especially glad for this hack if the weather’s bad or someone gets sick.

16. Pre-Cool Your Esky

Suggested by me!

There’s no quicker way to melt ice (apart from Australian Government climate policy ofc) than making it do all the work of cooling your esky down first. If you’ve got your shit together, pour in a bunch of ice the night before and put any drinks in the fridge. It’s a total Dad move and I’m here for it.


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Jono Tan, esky, ice, cooler

Pro tip: get more ice than this

17. Credit Card Cutlery

Suggested by Gary Roberts

Oh man, things are getting grim down in Hackville. This one’s from a time where Gary forgot cutlery and just ate off his Medicare card for a week. Hey, it’s ultralight! Onya Gaz.


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Jono Tan, medicare card cutlery

Annnd serve!

18. Cereal To Go

Suggested by Owen Matthews

Don’t portion out your cereal or oats each morning, mixing in ingredients and long-life milk at camp. Do it at home! You can even put powdered milk in the ziploc bag so you just have to add water. I usually do oats, chia seeds, dark chocolate and some slivered almonds. Yom.

This option isn’t exactly plastic free, so I use these bags as rubbish bags when I’ve snacked down their contents. They’re resealable!

Oh and you know the mini cereal boxes you get at motels? You can also pour milk directly into them. No one can stop you!

The Dehydrated Food Packet Hack: Dehydrated food packaging usually has two rip points: one to open it, pour in the hot water and seal it up, and one lower down that turns it into a bowl. Don’t rip that second one! Instead, turn your used packaging into a resealable rubbish bag.

19. Get A Dehydrator

Suggested by Kate Donald

I used to think that hiking meant laying down $50 bucks for decidedly sub par dehydrated dinners and that was that. Then I found out that you can get dehydrators from Vinnies or Target and just DIY. Kate’s written a pretty stellar guide, get desiccating my dudes!


How to Dehydrate Food for Hiking and Camping, Kate Donald, snack, dried fruit, food

SNACKS | @katealiice

20. Full Bladder

Suggested by Amy Fairall

When driving, especially alone, chuck a hydration bladder on the passenger seat and drink from the tube. They’re huge and you won’t have to try and open a drink bottle all the time while you drive!


20 Outdoor Hacks We Bet Your Aren't Using, photo by Jono Tan, sian, plane, camelbak, hydration bladder

Sian gets it #milehydrationclub

Some Words of Wisdom

Don’t worry, they’re not from me! Someone in the group just said this: ‘Less is more. If it doesn’t have a multipurpose, don’t take it.’. Deep down that’s at the core of all these hacks. There’s totally a very valid place for niche outdoor gear, but a lot of the time it’s totally fine to make do (and blow minds in the process).

You can join our community group and if you’ve got an epic outdoor hack we missed, comment below so we can add it to the list!


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