23 DIY Camping Gear Projects & Ideas For Your Next Outdoor Trip!

There is no better way to appreciate or enjoy nature than to go camping on your own. It’s a great way to discover how to survive on your own using your mind and without modern comfort or technology.

There is lots of camping gear available which could set you back some bucks. However, you can save a lot of money and also enhance your camping experience when you learn how to make DIY camping gear.

Below, you will come across a variety of camping gear that you can make all by yourself using ordinary or everyday objects or items.

Most of these items are sold at dirt-cheap prices while you can get others for free. Having this skillset will equip you with the knowledge that you need to subsist and can even teach others or transfer the knowledge or skills to your kids.


Here are a few DIY camping gear projects which could save you quite a big amount of money, time and headaches:

1. DIY Fire Starter

Project by OverTheBigMoon

If there is one thing every camper must learn, it is how to start a fire. However, most people hate starting fires and prefer splurging money to buy pre-made fire starters.

However, seasoned campers will let you know of the inherent dangers of using pre-made fire-start packs, especially when they are still in your backpack.

This could discourage you outright. But it doesn’t have to be.

DIY fire starters – as the name implies – are easy to use. The only thing you need to do is to make use of toilet paper rolls along with dryer lint. Of course, you must have saved the toilet paper rolls long before now.

Then fill the toilet paper roll with the lint and throw in the starter the next time you start a fire. You can even build a roaring campfire using this old tried and tested method.

It is highly crucial for every camper to learn this skill, especially when your lighter starts acting up or when your matches get wet.

This is because, without a fire, you won’t be able to boil water or cook, keep yourself warm as well as dry out soaked shoes and clothes.

Lighting a fire also boosts up your morale, especially if you are camping out on your own.


2. Bucket Sink

A bucket sink comes in handy whenever you do not intend to waste too much water. You can improvise it for indoor or outdoor use and is actually pretty easy to make.


3. DIY Camping Stove

diy camp stove
Project by SkipToMyLou

This is one of the most essential pieces of equipment every camper must own and use when cooking outdoors.

Even though there are other methods of cooking food when camping – including the use of high-tech compact stoves – a traditional camping stove still does the magic without additional expenses. It is also ideal for you if you are tailgating or car camping.

Making use of a camping stove – especially the propane-powered options – make it easier and faster for you to get a fire going and cook your meals as against cooking over the fire.

Knowing how to effectively and safely use camping stoves will be an enormous help to you at all times.

Check out our Odoland Single Burner Stove review.


4. Camp Stove Fuel

Camp stove fuel doesn’t have to be a financial burden to you. You can easily make one by using an empty tuna can, strips of cardboard, and grease, oil or wax.

Make sure the cardboard strips are wide, up to one inch. Then, get hold of the can, roll up the cardboard strips, and stuff them into the can. Then add wax, oil or grease to the contrivance and light it up using a lighter or matches.

Project by Bluna33


5. Pill Bottle Survival Kit

It’s your goal to create a survival kit that is small enough to fit the pocket of your jacket or backpack. This is possible if you have an old pill bottle just lying around.

You can craft a survival kit by first, removing the label on the pill bottle and cleaning it out well. Then start assembling the following items:

  • Emergency lighting
  • Strike strip
  • Matches
  • Miniature lighter
  • Safety pins
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Sanitizing hand wipes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Fabric bandages

Then arrange each of these supplies neatly in the pill bottle. You will still have enough room in your backpack to carry other essentials.


6. DIY Summer Camp Chairs

You can create some nice kids camp chairs using some canvas that cost less than $6. The chairs are so light that you can carry them along with you whenever you shift base.

Project by Simple Simon and Co


7. DIY Alcohol Stove

Do you know that you can create an alcohol stove using a tin can, an absorbent wicking material, and a screen hold it in position?

You will need mineral wool – as the wicking material – as well as a simple pot stand devised by cutting a coat hanger and bending it into shape. You will also need a Sucrets or Altoids tin to complete the ensemble.

The alcohol or Sucrets stove packs its own pot stand and can be switched off by shutting the lid.


8. DIY Tin Can Grill

Project by Dian Thomas

You can improvise a tin can grill at little to no cost whatsoever and within a few minutes.

A tin can grill is one of the most favorite camping equipment that children love.

All you will need are tin snips, safety gloves, a 10-size can, and aluminum foil.


9. DIY MRE (Meals Ready to Eat)

Making your own MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) is far cheaper than buying pre-made foods.

Doing it yourself also gives you the opportunity to prepare special meals, i.e. using restricted/healthy food items.

You will also be able to keep and use leftovers efficiently, thereby saving you the costs of extra food.


10. DIY Glass Bottle Tiki Torch

To create a Tiki torch, you will need a hammer, beer bottles, cotton string, bottle capper, oil, and the caps of the beer bottle (carefully removed without undue damage).

Project by Instructables


11. DIY Camp Hanger

Project by North East Voyageur

Camping can’t be complete without a camp hanger and this is usually one of the first things you should set up as soon as you pick the space for your camp.

You can search for or cut branches to create a forked hanger and then secure them to nearby trees using a rope.

You can hang anything that is not too heavy on the hangers.

Any time you decide to shift base, simply untie the rope, get the hangers and move on.



12. DIY Smokeless Fire

Project by SurvivalistBoards

There is no fire without smoke; or well, almost. Wood fires produce smoke, no matter what. What you can do is to significantly minimize the smoke or the fires signature.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a Dakota fire hole. Dig a one-foot hole in the ground with the diameter no wider than a foot. You can make the whole wider at the bottom to give room for longer pieces of wood.

Then, step away from the whole and create a small tunnel that is about a foot away from the main pit.

Ensure that the tunnel angles down to the bottom of the main hole. This allows additional air to pass through to the main hole, thereby allowing the fire to burn more efficiently while producing less smoke.


13. DIY Self Feeding Fire

If you are a die-hard camper, then you need to know this trick. You can create a self-feeding fire that burns for hours on end. This allows you to sleep peacefully without having to tend to the fire all through the night.

Furthermore, self-feeding fires also burn efficiently, keeping you warm all night long.


14. DIY Compass

Project by KidsActivitiesBlog

Just in case you happen to forget your compass back at home, you can create a makeshift compass that will be handy at any time.

You will need some items such as a bar magnet, a shallow bowl, a straight pin or needle, some water, and a slice of Styrofoam/cork.  The top of a plastic milk jug will suffice as well.


15. DIY Sun and Moon Jar

Project by EcoSalon

All you will need to create a semblance of capturing the sun and moon in a jar is to lay your hands on a rechargeable battery, a frosted mason jar, a solar cell as well as a low-energy LED lamp.

The solar cell stores energy that is converted to electricity and this charges the battery for several hours.

The frosted jar gives the glow effect and you can enhance the contrivance by making use of a light sensor that activates the LED and switches it on when darkness falls.


16. DIY Tangerine Candle

Project by Instructables

Being creative can sustain you when camping in the woods. You can create a citrus candle that will provide more than enough illumination within your tent.

You will need a paring knife, tangerine, olive oil, a box of matches or a lighter. When you set it up correctly, the citrus candle gives off a pleasant scent as well as a soft orange light that brighten your tent considerably.


17. DIY Mason Jar Oil Lamp

Project by Put It In a Jar

You can create a lantern or oil lamp using a mason jar. This beautiful oil lamp works outdoors and indoors. They come in handy during power outages or when you are camping in the woods.

A mason jar – with a metal lid – is relatively inexpensive and very functional. Other items you will require include a nail, a bottle of non-toxic burning oil or olive oil, and one strip of 100% cotton material to serve as a wick.


18. DIY Tripod Lashing

Project by Animated Knots

Tripod lashing technique is not rocket science. You can start out with a clove hitch around one of the poles with a rope.

Then wrap the rope several times around the three poles by weaving in and out.

Then one or two frap turns in the gaps between the poles.

Finish off the ensemble with a clove hitch.


19. DIY Olive Candles

Project by Little House Living

Do you know that you can create your own olive oil candles so that your tent can be illuminated without running out of batteries?

You will need olive oil, paper or wire clips, a wide-mouthed jar, and ¼ lantern wick.

What makes olive oil candles unique is the complete lack of smoke when burning and the fact that it burns cleanly.


20. DIY 50-hour candles

Project by Teotwawki

Candles, these days, are pricey yet handy sources of emergency lighting and heat. You can cut costs by making your own survival candles using high-quality but inexpensive soy wax at home. You don’t even need special tools to make them as well.

You will need wicks, tabs, canning jars, soy wax flakes, a pair of scissors, protective gloves, double boiler, and a pouring device.

You can get all these tools without spending more than a dollar or two.


21. DIY Homemade Lamps from Everyday Objects

There is no better skill than creating something worthwhile out of almost nothing. As a camper, it is highly essential for you to be able to create light without the use of electricity.

Flashlights may offer some respite in a blackout but the downside is that batteries die out quickly and would require replacement.

Candles may not be readily available and this leaves you with one option: develop a homemade lamp using everyday objects.

Oil lamps and candles use capillary action to continually burn their fuel i.e. oil and wax.

With this understanding, you can create different types of wicks for your homemade lamp.

Just ensure that you make use of absorbent materials when creating your oil lamps.


22. DIY Reading Lamp

Project by Listorama

Having a reading lamp that gives you the light you need when you want to read or write before catching a shuteye at night is essential.

Therefore, getting and using a lamp that gives you enough light to read, yet is soft enough not to attract hordes of insects or nocturnal animals is crucial.

You can build one by using a headlamp along with a gallon milk jug that is filled with water. Any gallon of about 3.78 liters will suffice.

Switch on the headlamp, then use the straps to secure it on the gallon.

You can significantly reduce the glare or intensity of the light by turning the headlamp inwards so the light radiates through the water in the milk jug.


23. DIY Wasp Trap

Project by Complete Garden

If you have been stung by a wasp before, then you must know how painful it is, and you wouldn’t like to undergo such an experience again.

It is not easy to set traps for wasps, and if you don’t do anything about them, they may not give you the peace of mind to enjoy your camping adventure.

One of the best ways to avoid such an occurrence – especially since you are camping outdoors – is to build a wasp trap.

Even though there are pricey options out there, you can create your wasp trap without spending too much money, if at all.

Get hold of a recycled plastic container or bottle and cut off the top. The upper half forms into a funnel while the lower part looks somewhat like a tall plastic cup.

Next, insert the upper part on top of the lower part with its funnel-like snout inside the container.

This narrow funnel grants easy access to the wasps when they attempt to enter the contraption. However, they will find it more difficult to get out.

The next step is to create the mixture that will attract wasps, yet will remain unattractive to bees. This is possible when you mix sugar, vinegar, and salt. This sour mixture has a significant impact on the senses of wasps, yet bees are impervious to it.

Ensure that you protect the wasp trap from the elements, especially rain so that it doesn’t fill up with rainwater.


Wrapping Up

These DIY projects are meant to sharpen your camping skill set. They will not only make your camping experience a great one but will also help you cut down on unnecessary expenses whenever you decide to stay outdoors.

You will be able to make or create innovative yet necessary items from next to nothing or with little money.

Never again will you have to break the bank just because you want to go camping on your own.

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