Matt Johnson

21 Creative Dollar Store Camping Hacks

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Aug 11, 2023Updated: Dec 11, 2023

You’re ready to hit the road for a camping trip, but you’re on a tight budget. Don’t worry – these creative dollar store  camping hacks will help you have more fun and save money at the same time.

Why use dollar store products?

If you’re not familiar with dollar stores, they offer a variety of products at low costs. This makes them the perfect place to stock up on camping essentials without breaking the bank. Plus, there’s no need to sacrifice quality or functionality when buying from a dollar store – many of their products are just as good as those in conventional stores.

Whether you go to Dollar General, Dollar Tree, or any other similar store, you can find a great selection of items that can be used for camping. Here are some excellent dollar store hacks to make your trip more enjoyable.

Mesh laundry bag as a dish dryer.

Use a mesh laundry bag to dry your dishes. Hang it up and place your wet dishes inside. The mesh allows the air to circulate and dry the dishes.

  • Estimated cost: $4.99
  • Why we love it: This is a great way to dry dishes without too much space. It’s more affordable than buying a dish drying rack for around $10.

Shower Curtain Liner as a Groundsheet.

Use a shower curtain liner as a groundsheet for your tent. It’s waterproof and lightweight, making it easy to carry around.

  • Estimated cost: $3.99
  • Why we love it: This hack not only saves money compared to buying a specialized groundsheet but also repurposes an everyday item into something useful for camping.

Glow Sticks for Night Visibility.

Glow Sticks for Night Visibility

Use glow sticks to mark the path to your tent or campsite at night. You can hang them on trees or stick them on the ground.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 10
  • Why we love it: This is a fun and practical way to ensure safety during the night. It’s also a great way for kids to participate in setting up the campsite.

Plastic Glasses Case as a First Aid Kit.

Utilize a hard plastic glasses case to store band-aids, gauze, and mini bottles of antiseptic.

It’s compact and protective.

  • Estimated cost: $1.99
  • Why we love it: This hack is a creative way to organize and protect first aid items without buying a separate first aid kit.

Baking Sheet as a Grill Top.

Use a baking sheet as a grill top over your campfire. It’s perfect for grilling veggies, meat, or even making pancakes.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This hack turns a dollar store item into a versatile cooking tool. It saves you from having to bring a separate grill or griddle.

Pool Noodle as a Door Stopper.

Pool Noodles for Door Stops in RV

Cut a pool noodle into pieces and use it as a door stopper for your RV or camper van. It prevents the door from slamming shut when it’s windy.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This is a simple and effective solution to prevent potential damage to your vehicle. Plus, you can use the rest of the pool noodle for fun water activities.

Sponges as Ice Packs.

Camping Hack Sponges as Ice Packs

Soak sponges in water, place them in zip-lock bags, and freeze. Use these as reusable ice packs for your cooler.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 3
  • Why we love it: This hack is eco-friendly and cost-effective. Plus, as the ice melts, the sponge absorbs the water so it doesn’t create a mess in your cooler.

Aluminum Foil for Cooking.

Use aluminum foil to cook food over the campfire. Wrap veggies, meat, or potatoes in foil and toss them into the fire.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: It’s a fuss-free way to cook without any cleanup. It also adds fun to the camping experience as everyone can make their own foil packets.

Plastic Tablecloth as Picnic Blanket.

Use a plastic tablecloth as a picnic blanket. It’s waterproof and easy to clean.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This multipurpose item saves you money and space in your backpack.

Cotton Swabs for Fire Starters.

Dip cotton swabs in wax and let them dry. Use these as fire starters for your campfire.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 100
  • Why we love it: It’s a great way to start a fire quickly and easily. Plus, it’s a creative use of an everyday item.

Plastic Bins for Storage.

Plastic Bins for Storage Hack

Use plastic bins to organize and store your camping gear. You can even label them for easy access.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 each
  • Why we love it: It’s an affordable solution to keep your camping gear organized and protected from the elements.

Cake Carrier as a Plate Holder.

While we love the outdoors, we also love eating a meal without worrying about where all the plates are going. Get creative and use a cake carrier as a plate holder for camp. A cake carrier can store and carry plates or other dinnerware.

  • Estimated cost: $4.99
  • Why we love it: Not only is this an innovative way to transport all your plates at once, it’s also a great way to save space and prevent any breakage from traveling with several plates.

Tic Tac Containers for Matches.

TicTac Container for Matches

When you’re camping you want to keep your matches dry and easily accessible. Use a Tic Tac container to store your matches. This is one of our favorite dollar store camping hacks when we’re roughing it.

  • Estimated cost: $0.50
  • Why we love it: The small size makes it easy to carry around, and the lid makes sure that your matches stay dry when it rains. Plus, you can reuse the containers for other purposes and have fresh breath.

Pool Noodles as Knife Covers.

Pool noodles are so universal you can also use them to cover your knives. Cut a piece of pool noodle and slide it over the blade. This will protect your knife from damage and prevent accidents.

  • Estimated cost: $1.99
  • Why we love it: It’s a great way to keep your knives safe and saves you money compared to buying specialized knife holders.

Inflatable Pool as a Drink Cooler.

Fill an inflatable pool with ice and use it as a large, portable cooler for your drinks during a hot day at the campsite.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: It’s a fun and effective way to keep your drinks cool, plus it can be deflated for easy storage when not in use.

Fitted Sheet as Tablecloth.

Use a fitted sheet as a tablecloth for your picnic table. The elastic corners will keep it in place even on windy days.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This hack saves you from having to buy a separate tablecloth and it’s easy to wash and reuse.

Tin Can as Cutlery Storage.

Repurpose a tin can to store your cutlery. You can decorate it to match your RV’s decor.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This is a unique and eco-friendly way to organize your cutlery.

Popsicle Mold as Snack Container.

Use a popsicle mold to store snacks like trail mix or fruit slices. It’s compact and easy to carry around.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00
  • Why we love it: This hack is not only convenient but also helps reduce the use of plastic bags.

Self-Adhesive Hooks for Extra Storage.

Stick self-adhesive hooks inside your RV cabinets to hang lightweight items such as utensils or dish towels.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 3
  • Why we love it: This is a simple and affordable way to create extra storage space in your RV.

Clothespins as Lantern Holders.

Use clothespins to hang LED lights or lanterns in your tent for extra light at night.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 50
  • Why we love it: This is an inexpensive and practical way to illuminate your tent. Plus, you can use the rest of the clothespins for hanging wet clothes to dry after a day of swimming.

Plastic Shower Caps as Shoe Covers.

Use plastic shower caps to cover your shoes inside the tent. This keeps the tent clean from dirt and mud.

  • Estimated cost: $1.00 for a pack of 15
  • Why we love it: It’s a clever way to keep your tent floor clean. Plus, they’re lightweight and take up minimal space in your pack.

What are your favorite dollar store camping hacks?

These are our favorite dollar store camping hacks that save you money and add a dash of creativity to your camping experience. These clever hacks will help you repurpose everyday household items, reducing waste and reinforcing the spirit of sustainability. The bottom line, you’ll also get it all at really cheap prices.

Camping is about enjoying nature, creating memorable experiences, and, our favorite part, discovering innovative ways to do more with less. You don’t have to break the bank with these hacks.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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