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13 Camping hacks to make roughing it a little easier

Make your trip feel a little more like glamping with these tips.

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Alina Bradford
1 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Camping can be even more fun when you get rid of the small annoyances that come with it. Here are some tips to make your trip the best it can be.

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Camping hacks that make your outdoorsing a little easier

Turn your camping trip into a glamping trip with a few of these hacks

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3 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Keep feet warm

Keep your tootsies warm by filling an aluminum water bottle with warm water, then sticking it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. Mmm, toasty. 

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4 of 21 Chris Monroe/CNET

Open a beer with no tools

No need to pack a bottle opener for your beer. Place the edge of the cap on the corner of a picnic table and hold the bottle at an angle. Hit the center of the bottle with the your other hand. Bam! You've got an open bottle and no wasted space in your pack. Here are nine more ways to open a beer bottle.

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5 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Use Google Maps offline

Before you leave, open Google Maps, go to the menu, tap on Offline Maps and choose Select Your Own Map. Download a map of the area where you'll be camping. Then, even if you don't have service, you'll still have a map in case of emergencies. 

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6 of 21 Chris Monroe/CNET

Clean your grill

The secret to yummy burgers and perfectly cooked hot dogs? A clean grill. Here are some tips for getting your grill ready for camping.

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Cooler mess

The problem with using bags of ice to keep your food cool is that it melts and leaves a soggy mess.

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Organized cooler

A less messy solution is to freeze a couple jugs of water to keep your cooler cool. There won't be a watery swamp at the bottom of your cooler and you can drink the water when it defrosts. 

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Get your Netflix on

If you just can't go without Netflix while you're out in the wilderness, download your faves to watch when you're data-less. Here's how to watch Netflix offline.

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10 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Download a survival manual

Also before you leave, download a survival manual app that works even when your not connected to Wi-Fi or data. I personally use the Offline Survival Manual by Ligi for Android. The Survival Guide by Max Soderstrom on iOS is a good one, too. It's based on the US Military Survival Manual FM 21-76.

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11 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Single serve coffee bags

Making coffee at your campsite is a snap with these coffee bags. Before you leave, put one tablespoon of coffee grounds in a coffee filter and tie it with a twist tie or dental floss. Store the bags in a plastic storage baggie.

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Tasty coffee

When you want a mug of joe, plop a bag into your cup, fill the cup with hot water and wait a few minutes (wait longer for a stronger brew). You'll have a great cup of coffee and no mess. 

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13 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Is this poison ivy?

Let's play a quick game. Is this poison ivy?

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Or is this poison ivy?

What about this one? In the wilderness the wrong answer can leave you miserable. 

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Identify plants

A plant identification app will solve the mystery. I use Pl@ntNet by the PlantNetProject, but Plantsnap is another good identification app. With both, you take a photo of the plant and the app searches its database to find and identify it. 

By the way, the second photo was the real poison ivy. 

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16 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

DIY fire starter

To make starting grills or campfires easier, stuff a toilet paper tube with dryer lint and wrap it in newspaper. Twist the ends, then throw it in your backpack. 

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Start that fire

To get things going, place your fire starter in the middle of the charcoal or a pile of twigs and light the ends of the roll.

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18 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Fend off bug bites

If mosquitoes look at you like a tasty morsel (I feel you!), take a B1 supplement before you leave the tent. I tried this trick in Texas -- where the mosquitoes are huge and numerous -- and I didn't get one bite.

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Homemade air conditioner

Stay cool even in the hottest of locations with a homemade battery-powered AC unit.

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20 of 21 Alina Bradford/CNET

Tools to make your DIY air conditioner

Making it is pretty simple. All you need is an old cooler, PVC pipe, a battery-powered fan, some basic power tools and duct tape. You can find the full instructions here.

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Find the zipper

If you've ever tried to find the zipper on your tent after a late-night bathroom trip, then you'll appreciate this tip. Make the zipper easier to find by looping a zip tie through the hole. 

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