Happy family on a Great Smoky Mountain camping trip.

4 Awesome Tricks to Use On Your Next Great Smoky Mountain Camping Trip

Here at Pigeon River Campground, we’re always looking for new tips and tricks to make camping in the Smokies even more fun and convenient. After a little research, we found some truly brilliant ideas that you can employ on your next Great Smoky Mountain camping trip. Here are four of our favorite tricks:

1. Make Your Own Lantern

Creating a lantern is easier than you think! One quick way to make a portable light source is to strap a head lamp to a gallon jug of water. The light will shine through the water, providing your tent with plenty of ambient brightness.

Another fun way to make a lantern is to paint the inside of a mason jar with glow-in-the-dark paint. Your kids will love choosing a mix of colors to create their one of a kind lanterns. Obviously, you’ll want to use a non-toxic brand of glow-in-the-dark paint, such as the one made by Crayola.

(See Also: Everything You Need to Know About Our Smoky Mountain Campground)

2. You Can Use Doritos as KindlingA campfire beside a riverbank.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with wood when it comes to starting a fire during your camping trip. If you want to try something different, however, you can actually use Doritos as kindling. Corn chips are highly flammable because they are made with lots of hydrocarbons and fat. Just make sure that you’re careful if you decide to throw some cheesy chips on the fire during your Great Smoky Mountain camping trip!

3. Keep Mosquitoes Away with Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil or Sage

Whether you’re concerned about using insect repellent on your little ones, or you just don’t like the smell of bug spray, Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil is a great alternative. This cream keeps mosquitoes away, and as an added benefit, your skin will feel soft and smooth.

For another way to scare off insects, put a little bit of dried sage in your campfire. Burned sage does have a strong smell, so start with a small amount.

4. Take S’mores to the Next Level

S’mores are the perfect treat for a camping vacation, and you can find graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows right at the Pigeon River Campground general store. Nevertheless, even a classic snack can benefit from some innovation!

One tasty variation on the s’more is the “s’moreo”. To make this special dessert, simply toast a marshmallow and melt some chocolate over the fire, but instead of putting it inside two graham crackers, place the ooey-gooey marshmallow and chocolate inside an Oreo sandwich cookie.

The ingredients for s'mores.For another s’more-like treat, try making “campfire cones”. First, fill some waffle cones with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and any other toppings you may enjoy, such as bananas or strawberries. Then, wrap the cones in tinfoil and put them on one of our campground’s charcoal grills. When the chocolate and marshmallows are nice and melted, take the cones off of the grill and enjoy. To make this snack even richer, consider adding a scoop of peanut butter!  

To learn more about all of the activities you can enjoy during your Great Smoky Mountain camping trip, check out our complete guide to Things to Do in the Smokies!