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Teach your kids how to camp smarter with these 23 camping hacks

Taking your kids into the woods is one of the greatest, life-long gifts you can give them. Teach them these little tricks to help them maximize their time in nature.

Use a coffee can to hold toilet paper rolls.

Attach a wire or string to the can to hang it from a branch.

Make a coffee can camping stove.

Teach them the bowline, a.k.a the "The King of Knots."

It's very useful for hanging things like tarps and game animals.

Fill a cardboard egg carton with charcoal for an easy firestarter.

Close the lid, place it in the pit, light it up, and boom, you're ready to cook.

Make tiny oil lamps out of travel-size shampoo bottles.

Unsea, also known as Old Man's Beard, is a tree-hanging lichen that has potent antibacterial properties

Use it to disinfect wounds. It's common in most U.S. forests.

You can use sunlight to purify your water

Sunlight can kill several types of bacteria and viruses, but there are some caveats.

Burn sage in your fire to fend off mosquitoes

Rosemary, basil and other household herbs work well, too.

Pack your backpack like a pro

Use this chart to pack for maximum efficiency.

Make a "Hillbilly Washing Machine" using a bucket and a plunger

The first thing you need to do is obtain a suitable bucket.

These buckets are great because the cover already has a small lidded opening in the cover -- you will want to use it with the cover on to avoid splashing. For optimum efficiency, it's best to have the hole centered in the lid, but I was coming at it from the "ease of construction" angle. 

The other thing you need is a traditional-style toilet plunger.

The plunger, and the plunging action employed through good old elbow grease, act as the agitator in your washing machine.

Depending on the style of your plunger, you may want to cut away the extra rubber flap inside -- this can contribute to overly sudsy wash water, which is something best avoided when washing cloth diapers as it requires much more rinsing.

As an extra step to prevent this problem, you will want to cut between 3 - 6 quarter-sized holes around the perimeter of the plunger. It doesn't have to be perfect -- mine clearly isn't! I found that three holes wasn't enough, so I went for the full six.

Be very careful when cutting these holes -- I found the squishy, thick rubber quite difficult to deal with, even using a very sharp knife. Remember to practice safe knife practices when cutting these -- SAFETY CIRCLE, Everyone! :)

The next step is putting it through a trial run.

I opted to start with otherwise clean but freshly tie-dyed diapers, before moving onto washing today's dirties. I added my detergent (1/2 what I'd use in our regular washer) to the bottom of the bucket and then filled the bucket half-full with very hot water. I dumped in the diapers (about 8 flats, plus wipes and homemade fleece liners) and started plunging. In hindsight, I could have used a bit less detergent, as it required two rinses, but they got good and clean in very little time.

Attach a headlamp to a water jug, turn it on, and voila!You have an iridescent light source. Your phone will work too

If you lose your compass, you can rub a needle against your clothing several times and float it on a leaf in water

The eye of the needle will point you north

Believe it or not, Doritos work well as kindling

You can use Tick-Tac boxes to store spices and tackle

Premake your pancake batter in plastic bags

You can use the batter bags as ice packs until you're ready to cook your flapjacks.

Cook all your hot dogs at once using a rake