The 5 Worst Camping and Survival Hacks

From packing in your own private hand-washing spa to hanging your dirty dishes around a tree in order to entertain the bears, some of the most popular camping and survival hacks online aren’t worth your time. We’ll take a look at these terrible tips and offer up some alternatives that actually work in the woods.

DEET Bug Spray

DEET Bug Spray

Repel Mosquitoes the Old Fashioned Way
There are a ton of different home remedies for keeping mosquitoes and ticks away, and they range from the barely plausible to the outright ridiculous. Whether you’re supposed to burn sage, eat more garlic, wear light colors, or even sip cider vinegar, all of these methods have one thing in common: They don’t work as well as bug spray. The fact is that DEET is a huge improvement over everything else, and sprays with 25% or higher concentrations of the chemical have been shown to be nearly 100% effective at repelling mosquitoes for hours. Keep the garlic, sage, and vinegar next to the grill where they belong, because there’s just no comparison.

Mountain Dew Lantern

Mountain Dew Lantern

Try To Make A Lantern With Mountain Dew
The biggest flaw with this soda-based lantern system is that it doesn’t work at all. There’s no chemical reaction that takes place between Mountain Dew, baking soda, and peroxide that will produce anything except for a sticky, foamy mess. Some online lists even add Mentos into the mix, taking this terrible survival hack from bad advice to obvious prank. If you want a DIY lantern that does work, try strapping your headlight to a clear water jug.

Detergent Jug Hand Washing Station

Detergent Jug Hand Washing Station

Detergent Jug Hand Washing Station
This DIY handwashing station is supposed to be the perfect camping idea for families. I guess the reason being is that you’ll be able to scrub down your kids after they’ve been playing in the dirt. The only problem is that antibacterial baby wipes do the job just as well, at a fraction of the weight and without all of the hassle. Even if you’re car camping and have plenty of room to bring a few buckets and an old detergent dispenser along, this hand washing station is an over-sized, over-complicated survival hack.

Belt Hanging Pots

Belt Hanging Pots

Use A Belt and Some S-Hooks to Hang Your Dishes
Keeping your cookware all in one place and organized can only make things easier, right? The problem is that this idea only works for clean dishes. After you’ve cooked your meal, even if you scrub your pots and pans well, animals will be able to easily smell the remains of your dinner and they’ll come looking for a late-night snack. Take  your dishes down from the tree, put your belt back on, and stow your cookware securely. Otherwise you’ll be up all night listening to your pots and pans being licked clean by the local wildlife.

Soap

Soap

Smear Your Feet In Soap To Keep Blisters Away
Cutting down on the friction between your feet and socks can do wonders to reduce the odds that you’ll get a blister. But unless you’re just out for a pleasant afternoon stroll through the park, blisters are too serious to try to prevent with weird home remedies. There are products like tincture of benzoin and moleskin pads that can do a lot more to keep your feet healthy than a few shavings of soap. Besides that, as soon as your feet start to sweat the benefits of soaping them are lost. If you’re hiking 10 miles with a pack, don’t take chances with some terrible tip from the internet. You might find yourself in the middle of a long, bloody and painful walk back.

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