25 GENIUS Camping Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items

light grey tent with green rain shield set up next to white truck with cooler

Oh, how we love Dollar Tree!

Camping can be one of the most fun, frugal vacations you can go on with your family if you know how to plan ahead. I mean… who doesn’t love gooey S’mores, singing by the campfire, and telling ghost stories in the dark?

If you’re planning a camping trip on a budget this summer or fall, check out the following camping hacks using Dollar Tree items that will ensure everyone is truly a happy camper. 😊


1. Use mesh laundry bags for drying dishes.

mesh laundry bag with cooking utensils camping hack

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dishes clean after washing them, consider grabbing these $1 Mesh Laundry Bags and placing your wet dishes in them. Then just hang it up on a tree limb and the dishes will dry and stay clean from dirt or sand. You can also use the bag for its original intent – to keep dirty laundry in one place.


2. Place solar stake lights around the tent.

solar stake lights at Dollar Tree

A great way to make it easier to see around your campsite at night is to place these $1 Solar Stake Lights wherever you would like more light (i.e. by the tent poles, near tent entry, close to the bathroom, etc). You may even be able to find fun, themed stake lights depending on the time of year that you shop.


3. Put glow stick bracelets on tent ties at night.

glow stick bracelets on arm

Dollar Tree’s glow sticks are always fun for the kids to use while camping, and they make them easy to spot in the dark! They are also helpful to place around the tent ties at night so that no one trips on them when they’re exiting the tent.


4. Use pool noodles on tent lines.

Dollar Tree pool noodles

Another idea to keep everyone aware of those tent stakes is to grab Dollar Tree’s brightly colored pool noodles and cut a slit down one side of the noodle, then just wrap them around the poles. That way, if anyone does happen to run into them, there won’t be any injuries.

Note that pool noodles are sometimes out of stock at Dollar Tree, but Michael’s also has them for a great price!

Hip Tip: You can also take this camping hack one step further and cut pool noodles into smaller pieces and place them on the tent lines so that they are easy to spot during the day.


5. Or use pool noodles to make your own camping toilet.

blue bucket with toilet paper

Make a simple and convenient camping toilet using a 5-gallon bucket and a $1 pool noodle! Get the directions from PremeditatedSurvival.com or other various camping toilet directions here.


6. Keep paper plates from blowing away with cake carriers.

plates and utensils inside cake carrier on red and white table mat

Although Dollar Tree’s cake carrier may be a little flimsy to hold a heavy cake, it is perfect for using to store paper plates and napkins on the table so they won’t fly away on a windy day or get dirty.


7. Stay organized with stackable bins.

camping hacks - stacking organization bins in tent

These stacking bins are great for using inside the tent to keep things organized or even for placing on the picnic table to hold games, lighters, hand sanitizer, flashlights, bug spray, and other items.


8. Keep your tent clean with a small broom & dustpan.

sweeping up dirt inside tent with dust bin

Dollar Tree’s handheld broom with dustpan is the perfect size for keeping inside the tent to sweep up the dirt, leaves, and/or sand that may creep in throughout the day. Plus, they’re great for smaller kids to use, too!


9. Store camping items & groceries in a hanging organizer.

utensils, sanitizer, and other camping items in shoe organizer

If your Dollar Tree carries a hanging shower caddy (shoe organizers from Walmart or Amazon will also work), you can use it to keep random kitchen supplies or toiletry items organized and in one spot. Then just hang it on the side of a tree, inside the tent, or on a shaded structure for easy access.


10. Make S’mores with barbecue skewers.

camping hacks - roasting marshmallows with bbq skewers

If you’re planning to make S’mores, grill hot dogs, or roast other foods over a campfire, this 4-pack of skewers definitely come in handy and are actually pretty nice quality.

Plus, some Dollar Tree stores may even carry single skewers for $1 with rubber handles and poles that extend so you can make it longer if needed.


11. Store grilling spices in Tic Tac containers.

hand holding tic tac mints at walgreens

Tic Tacs are the most classic, convenient little mints, and let’s be honest–a whole new pack will rarely make it through the day. 😅 If you’re a Tic Tac fan, you can totally get them from Dollar Tree and use the empty containers to store your grilling spices when you go camping since it saves space and waste!


12. Use candles to keep tent zippers from sticking.

using candle on tent zipper

According to REI.com, you can keep your tent zippers gliding smoothly by applying a little bit of candle wax from an un-lit candle. Dollar Tree sells 6-packs of emergency candles for just a buck!


13. Grab a clothesline with hooks for an easy cleaning camping hack!

clothesline with hook from dollar tree

If you’re planning to wash your clothes while camping, or if you just need a place to hang wet towels, socks, shoes, swimsuits, and other apparel, be sure to grab a clothesline with hooks for just $1.


14. Keep the tablecloth down with jumbo plastic clothespins.

camping hacks - using clamps on table to hold down tablecloth

To keep your tablecloth from blowing away on a windy day, pick up these Jumbo Plastic Clothespins and clamp them over your tablecloth onto the edge of the table (they also sell smaller table clamps).

Hip Tip: Bring an old, fitted mattress sheet from home and wrap it over the table – then just throw it in the washing machine when you’re done for easy cleanup!


15. Store eggs & food mixes in sealed containers with lids.

Dollar Tree Condiment Bottles

There are awesome condiment container packs at Dollar Tree that are great for mixing & storing scrambled eggs, pancake mixes, etc. Once they’re all mixed up, you can just squeeze them into the pan and you’re good to go!

oatmeal mix in mason jar

Or if you already have glass canning jars with lids at home, you could use those instead–just keep in mind that they may break more easily.

Hip Tip: To keep things even easier, you can pre-mix some oatmeal blends, pancake mixes, etc. with ingredients that can be kept at room temperature, like dried fruits & nuts, dry milk, and shortening!


16. Make S’mores prep packs in plastic containers.

s'mores ingredients in plastic bin

Avoid having to search around for S’mores supplies by prepping ahead of time and keeping all the items together in a plastic container with a lid. Luckily, Dollar Tree has a lot of choices!

You can also use them to store clean plasticware or napkins to keep them from flying away or getting dirty.


17. Make your own charcoal grill with this foil pan camping hack.

dollar tree foil pan

Planning to grill foods on your camping trip? Leave the heavy grill at home and make your own charcoal grill for just a few bucks, and then toss it in the trash before you head home!

According to Instructables.com, all you need for this camping hack is a foil pan, cooling rack, and charcoal (some Dollar Tree stores usually sell small bags of charcoal around holidays during the summer).

Hip Tip: You can also use these to make queso on the grill!


18. Make campsite scrubbing easy with bath sponges and mitts.

display of bath sponges and loufas at dollar tree

For convenient campsite scrubbing, cut pieces of bar soap and place them inside these cute bath sponges or a microfiber wash-mitt (found in the car section). Then just get the gloves wet when you are ready to wash and you won’t have to worry about dropping a slippery soap bar in the dirt.

Hip Tip: When the soap bar is dry, use a vegetable peeler to safely shave off the perfect amount of soap for each sponge.


19. Keep bugs off food with shower caps.

covering plate of grapes with shower cap

Use these 6-count shower caps to cover your plates and bowls to keep pesky bugs away. Dollar Tree also carries cute 2-pack Fly Swatters or single flowery Fly Swatters for just $1. What a fun camping hack to keep those not-so-fun pesky mosquitoes and bugs away!

dollar tree vacation hacks wrap shoes in shower caps

Since Dollar Tree’s shower caps come in packs of six, you can also use them to place your dirty shoes when packing up to keep any mud or dirt out of the car.


20. Make a first aid kit with essentials.

tool box with first aid supplies

It’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit with you when camping in case someone gets hurt. Dollar Tree sells many first-aid essentials from band-aids to hand sanitizer to medicines and more.

Also, you may find these black Tool Boxes priced at just $1 that would be great for storing your first aid items.


21. Pack rain ponchos… just in case.

hand holding rain ponchos in in bags

It’s not so much of a camping hack, but you can never predict the weather, so it’s always a great idea to pack a few rain ponchos in your bags in case it starts to rain (also, select Dollar Tree locations sell umbrellas for just $1)!

These ponchos will help you from getting drenched when running from the tent to the bathroom in the middle of the night or when you are packing up the car to head home and can’t hold an umbrella and bags at the same time.


22. Make a frugal camp lantern.

black strap wrapped around headlamp and empty water jug

Make an Instant camp lantern by wrapping an LED camping light around a jug of water! This works so well when you’re trying to move around at night.

Hip Tip: Headlamps are my favorite must-have camping tool because they make life so much easier when walking around and doing things in the dark! You can make a frugal DIY version in a pinch by clipping these LED lights to a headband around your hat.


23. Use an empty toilet paper roll with dryer lint + hand sanitizer to make a fire starter.

dryer lint in toilet paper tube

Dryer lint makes an excellent fire starter! Pack some lint in empty toilet paper rolls to take on your next camping trip. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel to help your match or lighter flame catch your tinder on fire.

Hip Tip: Some of our Hip readers also suggested using cotton balls or pads dipped in some wax as an effective fire starter!


24. Grab a journal or planner to keep track of meals (and other cool camping hacks)!

amber's meal planning — notebook and planner for meal planning and grocery list

Planning meals ahead = a stress-free snack around the campfire! While you can definitely keep a list of everything you need on your phone, picking up one of Dollar Tree’s super frugal journals or planners will keep your vacation tech-free, and no one has to wonder what’s for dinner. 🙌

Not sure what meals to make on your camping trip that are easy and that everyone will enjoy? Check out our favorite camping recipes–many of which you can prepare ahead of time!

Hip Tip: Chances are you’ll want to pack snacks for the drive to the campsite, and we’ve got you covered with this awesome Hawaiian Roll sandwich hack!


25. Make some fun DIY games!

cut foam pool noodles on a tic tac toe board

Kids and adults alike will appreciate this cool camping hack!

You can create a fun, waterproof Tic Tac Toe board using just a few items from Dollar Tree. All you need are some foam pool noodles (as we mentioned, Michael’s also has them!), a shower curtain, a marker, and some scissors. You can visit the Dollar Tree website for the full instructions.


Don’t forget to bring this amazing natural bug repellant on your next adventure!

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