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Camping Hack: Multiple Uses for a Gallon Jug

Camp Skills



If you’re like me, you find yourself recycling gallon milk jugs a lot. My family goes through 2-3 gallons of milk every week, so our recycling bin fills up pretty fast. Since we had a camping trip planned, I did a little digging on how to reuse gallon jugs in the great outdoors. I found some great ideas that not only make camping easier, but they add some homemade fun to a camping trip too. From hand washing to water balloon catching, here are some great camping hacks that offer multiple uses for gallon milk jugs.

Gallon Jug Hand Washing Station




This homemade milk jug hand washing station will make your life in the great outdoors so much easier (and cleaner!). This idea is perfect for boondocking or tent camping. Follow these steps for a complete hand washing station right at your campsite:

  1. Poke a hole the size of a golf tee in the bottom of your milk jug.

  2. Plug the hole with a golf tee.

  3. Fill the jug with water. Replace the cap.

  4. Hang the filled jug from a tree.

  5. Place a bar of hand soap in some nylons/pantyhose and hang it from the same tree (near the water jug). Nylons will keep the soap off the ground and ready to use when needed.

  6. To use your homemade hand washing station, simply pull the golf tee out for a steady stream of water, wet your hands, replace plug to save water, wash with the bar of soap (keep soap in nylons), and then pull plug again to rinse your hands underneath the water.


Gallon Jug Water Balloon Catcher




To cool off on a hot summer day, make a few of these water balloon catchers for some campsite fun.

  1. Cut off the bottom ¼ of a milk jug.

  2. Line the perimeter of the cut-off section with duct tape to cover up the sharp edges.

  3. Turn it upside down (open end facing up) and you have a milk jug water balloon catcher! It even has a built-in handle!


Gallon Jug Watering Can




If you have indoor plants in your RV or like to grow a garden when full-time RVing, you’re going to need a watering can! This watering can is cheap (almost free!), easy to make, and gets the job done!

  1. For this project you’ll need a sewing needle and a lighter or matches. If you want a delicate flow of water, use a thin needle. For a larger flow of water, use a larger needle. Makes sense, right?!?

  2. Heat the tip of your needle with your lighter or matches.

  3. Poke 1-2 holes in the milk jug cap (poke them facing in so no pointy edges are exposed).

  4. Reheat your needle. Then repeat step 3. Do this until you have as many holes as you want.

  5. Fill your jug with water and replace the cap.

  6. Use your new Milk Jug Watering Can on all your indoor and outdoor plants to keep them looking good and staying alive!


Gallon Jug Bee Trap




Lure pesky yellow jackets and hornets into a milk jug that’s impossible for them to escape from. Here’s how:

  1. About 2/3 of the way from the bottom of the jug cut an upside down V shape out of the side of the container. Bend the flap into the jug.

  2. Pour juice (apple, orange, etc.) into the jug so that it’s about an inch deep in the bottom.

  3. Put the cap on the jug and hang it from a tree.

  4. Sit back and watch as one by one bees succumb to the sweet smell and dive into the milk jug trap.


Gallon Jug Campsite Nightlight




Don’t stumble around in the darkness at your campsite and possibly trip over tent stakes or hit your head on an awning arm. Instead make a DIY campsite nightlight with an empty, cleaned-out milk jug. Simply strap a headlamp to a milk jug that’s filled with water, set it on a picnic table, inside your tent, or outside if your little campers are playing Monsters in the Dark, and you’ll be awash in a soft glow of light! Or try making one of these beautiful Tin Can Lanterns using an upcycled tin can (think empty soup can, fruit & veggie can, etc.). Your campsite will be the loveliest one at the campground come nightfall with these pretty crafts!

Gallon Jug Ice Pack




To help keep food and drinks in your cooler colder longer, create a big ice pack out of a used milk jug. Just fill it MOST of the way with water, leaving room for expansion (remember, when water freezes it expands and needs room to grow!). Add about ¼ cup of regular table salt, put the cap on it, and freeze it. When it’s time to pack your cooler for your trip, position your homemade ice pack so that it will keep everything cold. Thanks to the added salt, it won’t melt as fast as it normally would.

Gallon Jug Plastic Bag Holder




If you’re full-time RVing or are heading off for an extended vacation in your RV, you may end up with loads of plastic grocery bags. Don’t throw them away! You can use them as trash can liners, dog poop pick-up bags, and so much more. But where to put them?!? Make a Plastic Bag Holder out of your used milk jug. Simply cut a hole out of the jug toward the top 1/3rd and drop them right in. Make sure the hole is large enough that you can fit your hand through the opening when you need a bag down toward the bottom of the jug. Problem solved! Now all your pesky plastic bags are corralled into one convenient holder!

Now that you have multiple uses for gallon milk jugs for camping, click here for other top camping gear you'll want to bring along on your next outdoor adventure. Do you have another ingenious way to use a gallon milk jug on a camping trip? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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