If you’ve ever gone to a store that sells camping gear you know just how expensive that can get. Although some items are necessarily purchased, such as flashlights, other equipment can be made from household items you already have. For example, you can quickly make your own sleeping bags from old sheets and blankets. Lay out a queen or king size sheet, pile a blanket or two on top and lay another sheet down to finish the stack. Sew around all four sides then fold the ensemble over, lengthways. Stitch down one long side, across the bottom and partially up the next side, then install a zipper or even velcro. The sleeping bag can double as a backpack by adding a few notions. After assembling the bag, roll it up. Sew on ties to close the bag then velcro tabs for hanging additional items. Or, simply roll up your equipment in the bag and use two belts, one on each end, to secure the backpack.
An old rack from a stove or a toaster oven makes a great grill and takes up little space. Arrange a few rocks and lay the rack on top of them. Bring along foil to cover the rack for easier clean-up. As a matter of fact, foil has dozens of uses on a camping trip. Fashion cups for drinking and pans for boiling water. Foil can even be used to make soup bowls. Use several layers of foil to make the dishes more sturdy and never try to lift a foil pan containing hot food or liquids.
Make a tent by sewing or pinning two sheets or blankets together at the ends. String a rope between two trees then toss the blanket over the line. Use sticks or stakes to tack down the corners. To prevent dew from settling on your new tent, tape trash bags together in the shape and size of the blankets. Throw the trash bag assembly over the blankets.
Set up a bathroom with sheets for privacy. String four sheets together then tie them to trees. Use a porta-potty or a five gallon bucket for the toilet. Similarly fashion a shower stall by using colored plastic sheets as the walls. Put one trash bag inside another, then add a couple more in the same manner. Arrange the bag to hang in a tree, open side upwards. Fill the bag with water, then cut off one corner to use as a shower. When finished, tie off the corner with a rubber band. Or, fill jugs of water and use for showering.
Plastic wrap is another handy camping item. Use it to wrap uneaten foods, cover shoes when it’s raining or wrap an entire picnic table to keep away ants and other critters while not in use. Zipper lock bags, 2-liter bottles and mop buckets are also great helpers. Look around your house and see what all it has to offer in the way of makeshift camping supplies. You’ll be surprised at how much equipment you already have.