14 camping hacks for families

Inspire little nature lovers with these creative outdoor shortcuts.

Karen Ung has a one-fingered hack for setting up the family campsite. As soon as her crew arrives, she punches a timer. Then daughters Miya, 11, and Emmi, 10, jump into action: They stake and raise the tent and bug-screen shelter, unroll sleeping pads and bags, and—conditions permitting—build a match-ready campfire. Their current record? Twenty minutes.

“At this point, I hardly have to do anything,” jokes Ung, who blogs on her website Play Outside Guide and serves as parks ambassador for the provincial parks in Alberta, Canada. “Open a book, open the wine …”

Like this race against the clock, camping hacks can be anything that simplifies and optimizes the family outdoor experience, from repurposing gear to harnessing campers’ energy and imagination. These shortcuts of creativity can be resourceful and playful means to take family camping trips to another level of simplicity, organization, and on-the-ground fun.

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