How to Make a Sleeping Bag and Other Homemade Camping Gear

Camping is a wonderful way to “get back to nature”. Millions of people spend a night, weekends, or even weeks at a time exploring the woods and the forests that make up this great nation of ours. If you’re a seasoned camper that loves to sleep under the stars, you probably already own everything you need to go camping. But, if you’re a “greenhorn” and have never camped before, you probably don’t have a clue what the basics are that you need. Don’t worry about running up your credit card at the local camping store. Instead, in a pinch, or if you want to try camping out first before you spend a lot of money on supplies, simply learn how to make homemade camping gear.

You’ll basically want to take a tent, sleeping bag, a lantern, some cooking utensils, a rain coat, and a container to carry water in. Put some medium-size waterproof tarps, long and short posts, and a roll of heavy duty string or twine in the car, and you can make your homemade tent once you get to the campground.

To erect your tent when the time comes, place two tarps on the ground alongside each other. Lift up both of the corner ends and slide their grommets over a long post. Place the end of the post deep in the dirt. Do this again with the middle part of the tarps. Then, raise up the other end of your homemade tent in the same manner.

Now, use lengths of the string or twine to fasten the grommets to the long posts. You’ll need to use the short posts to secure the sides of the tent to the ground. Grab a handy rock and position the posts along the sides of the tent: one in the front, middle, and back. Use the rock to hammer each post down. Then, use more lengths of string or twine to tie the grommets in the tarps to the short posts. For your homemade camping gear to stand up properly, you’ll need to tie the string or twine so the tarps are pulled taut. Use additional string or twine and run it through the grommets in the top of the tent. Tie it off securely so the top is completely closed.

What’s a sleeping bag, besides a hundred bucks or more for a cushioned bed you can lay on the ground? You can easily make a homemade sleeping bag before you leave on your camping trip by using a bed comforter. The size of the comforter you’ll need depends on how big you are. A queen size comforter, for example, can sleep two average-size people.

Lay the comforter out flat. Then, fold it over in half. Use a sewing machine or manually sew a zipper up the length of your homemade sleeping bag. Or, you can hook the open side together by sewing Velcro� up it. Velcro makes it easier to get out of the sleeping bag.

Finally, roll your piece of homemade camping gear up and place it inside a large garbage bag. Then, once you set up camp, you can place your extra clothes in the garbage bag and use it as a pillow. (Put it underneath the comforter so you’re not lying on the plastic.) An added bonus to this type of sleeping bag is, if you get caught in a rain storm, you can use protect yourself by using the garbage bag as a rain poncho.

You’ll be able to see a lot, as darkness falls when you’re camping, by the light of the campfire. Yet you’ll still need a lantern to see you’re way, especially when you have to “answer nature’s call” and take a short hike to the woods. To make your own homemade lantern, clean out a large coffee can. Poke several holes all around the sides of the can approximately two inches up from the bottom. Then, cover the bottom inch of the coffee can with petroleum jelly. Stick five votive candles in the jelly, and your next piece of homemade camping gear is ready to light.

The petroleum jelly serves two purposes: it holds the votive candles in place. And, once the candles burn down into it, they’ll still burn brightly for several hours.

As for cooking utensils, old pots and pans will work nicely. You can even use a pan to make your morning coffee too! Just place the desired amount of ground coffee into a pan. Fill it with the right amount of water, then place the pan over the campfire. Boil the water and the coffee grounds for a few minutes. The longer you boil it, the stronger the coffee will be. Finally, remove the pan from the heat and your coffee is ready. You’ll just need to discard the coffee grounds that are left in the bottom.
A gallon milk or juice jug that’s been rinsed out thoroughly will make a great piece of homemade camping gear to carry water in. Take two jugs, and you’ll have a bowl to eat out of, (just cut the milk down to size), and a strainer, (cut the jug down and poke holes in it).

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