Five ways to turn household items into wilderness essentials

Field & Stream's readers share their best advice.
A foldgers coffee cup used as a toilet paper holder.

Say goodbye to wet, or mice-eaten, TP in the camp outhouse. Field & Stream

a campfire in the woods
These tips might not be as valuable as knowing how to build a fire, but they’re close. Matt Whitacre/Unsplash

This story was originally featured on Field & Stream.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest—which is certainly the case with this collection of outdoor tricks and gear hacks that readers have sent us over the years. In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our “greatest hits” of those reader tips, starting with this list of camping tips. From a toilet-paper protector to a modified mousetrap, these tips are simply brilliant.

Make sure your toilet paper stays safe and dry

Two of the most annoying problems at my hunting camp are wet toilet paper and mice getting into toilet paper. But there’s a solution. Cut a long slit in one side of an empty plastic coffee can. Stick a roll of TP in the can and pull a bit of the paper through the slit. Make a hole in the lid and the bottom. Run string through the holes and hang the can out of reach of mice. — Mark A. Clark, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Keep parachute cord tangle-free

A jif peanut butter jar with a rope pulled out.
There are a billion uses for p-cord at camp—but it’s useless if it’s a tangled mess. Field & Stream

The best way to store 550 parachute cord is in an empty plastic peanut butter jar. Drill a 3⁄16-inch-diameter hole in the lid. Stuff the cord into the jar (careful not to overlap it), and thread the end about 4 inches through the hole you made. Screw the lid back on, and pull out as much cord as you need. Kiss tangles good-bye. — Jim Ratermann, Tipp City, Ohio

Dry your boots with newspaper

A pair of boots with newspaper stuffed in them.
Stuff yesterday’s news into your boots so they’re dry by tomorrow. Field & Stream

I stuff my boots with newspaper, which absorbs the moisture. Then I keep repeating with dry pages every 45 minutes, and they’re good to go the next day. — Marck Schwarze, Elk River, Minnesota

Haul firewood with a ratchet strap

A bundle of sticks tied with a yellow rope.
Use a modifired ratchet strap to haul a night’s worth of firewood in just a couple of trips. Field & Stream

I took a broken 1-inch ratchet strap, cut off the end with the hook, and tied a loop at that end. I use this to gather firewood whenever I’m camping. I just lay the strap on the ground and pile sticks on it. Then I pull the male end through the female end and throw the bundle over my shoulder. I can carry twice as much wood in half the time. — Eddie Crane III, Richmond, Illinois

Set an inescapable mousetrap

A mouse trap with peanut butter on the trap.
A dab of peanut butter worked into yarn keeps mice from dining and dashing. Field & Stream

Here’s how to catch mice that steal the bait from a trap without setting off the trigger: Tie some yarn onto the trigger, leaving the cut ends about 1⁄4-inch long. Roll the ends to make them fuzzy. Work some peanut butter into the yarn and set the trap. The bait is tougher to get out of the yarn, and the mice will be more aggressive trying to get at it. — Richard J. Moncsko, Wilmington, New York