An era has come to an end. Our youngest son no longer thinks that going to the dollar store is “cool”. He’s about to turn 12 and he’s become aware that the dollar store items are cheaply made and easily fall apart.
But a $700 iPad is right up his alley! – SMH
That being said, there are many great items at the dollar store that can be used for your family’s camping trip. We have depended on the dollar store for smart camping ideas for a few years now, and I’m going to share some of our secrets!
Lighting is important when you camp, and when you buy solar lights at the dollar store, even if you get a dud (which I’ve never gotten), it’s only a dollar or two, so it’s no big deal. We like to pick up a few of these and put them near staked tent cords and tree roots/stumps. They reduce tripping and are just so darn handy. We even bought a couple of table-top solar lights. Make sure to put them in full sun so they’re fully charged.
Your J-cloths, sponges and S.O.S. pads can all be purchased at the dollar store for less than you’d pay for them at Walmart.
You probably remember this suggestion from my Setting Up Your Camp Kitchen post. These things are magical and keep everything within arm’s reach. They’re not only great in the kitchen area, but if you have a tall tent like we do, they can be hung in your sleeping tent as well.
Shower Curtain Hangers
Those clips that your shower curtain hangs from are perfect for hanging things at the campsite. They can hold a multitude of items from hats, to wet socks or pot holders.
We once went to the C.N.E. during an on-again, off-again rainy day and were not prepared for the downpour. We scrambled to find rain ponchos and ended up paying far more for them than we should have. Now, I pick a few up from the dollar store and stash them with our camping items, just in case!
Places like Walmart and Canadian Tire offer trial sizes of various body washes, shampoos, and conditioners etc. I’ve found they are often much cheaper at the dollar store. Even better, if you don’t like the brands that the dollar store offers, buy a few packages of empty travel containers and fill them with your favourites from home.
Hanging Shower Caddys
I’m sure I’ve talked about it before but I’m still so pleased with this steal, I have to talk about it again. While at the dollar store last summer, looking to stock up, I came across a black hanging shower caddy. I opened it up to check the quality, it seemed to be well-made, not something that would fall apart. I bought it for $4. A week or two later, I noticed the EXACT same one in Walmart for $15.97. BOOM.
These things are great for organizing your shower items and are so portable. Often, they’re washable too, so if anything leaks or spills, you can clean them up easily and hang them to dry.
I talk about these frequently because they are awesome. They keep things well-contained and because they’re clear, it’s easy to see what you have at a glance. Great for trail mix, small car ride activities for the kids and a myriad of other things, one box goes far.
While you could bring your home towels with you, I find it’s better to have a completely different set to store with my camping stuff. I know that it’s always there, and I don’t have to run around the house as we’re prepping for our trip, gathering stuff like this from different parts of the house. It’s all about laziness, really.
From wooden spoons to ladles to tongs, the dollar store has all of these items. They’re on the cheap and they’re perfect for camping. There have been too many times that I’ve forgotten to grab a pair of scissors from the kitchen drawer and not realized it until I needed scissors at the campsite. $15 later at the local store, I was fuming over my forgetfulness. I vowed then and there that I’d buy a completely separate set just for camping. It’s worked like a charm.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are so many options! I encourage you to check out your local dollar store before you embark on your trip, and think outside the box. Many things can have more than one purpose, and THAT is where you’re getting your money’s worth!
What would you add to this list?