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

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