Head Straight To The Bar Next Time You Want To Clean Your Camping Gear

When you come back from a camping trip, chances are you might be tired, and you might not feel like cleaning your gear right away. It's exciting to break it out when you've got the whole trip ahead of you and there's something to look forward to, but what's your motivation when all the fun is behind you? Maybe the "fun" was an ordeal that involved mosquitos and bears. Depending on how hard you were roughing it out in the wilderness, you might feel more like taking a good long shower and pouring yourself a stiff drink when you get home.

The funny thing is, when it comes to camping, alcohol has several applications that go beyond its usual main purpose (as a libation). As long as you don't mind spraying it on yourself, whiskey mixed with water, for example, can be used to keep bugs away while camping. You can even use it — with caution — to accelerate a campfire.

When it comes to cleaning, however, it's vodka you'll want to have on hand.

Clean your gear by spraying vodka on it

Forget all those times as a 21-year-old when drinking screwdrivers at house parties made you sick. Vodka can also be used to clean camping gear like tents and backpacks, which aren't built to fit into a washing machine or withstand its spin cycle the way hiking clothes can. Even waterproof gear is subject to mildew and mold from rain, to say nothing of body odor or the smell of charcoal or campfire smoke seeping into them.

To that end, BobVila.com recommends using vodka from a spray bottle to clean your camping gear. Again, you'll want to mix in water, just as you would if you were using whiskey as a makeshift insect repellant. But a mist of unflavored vodka and water should help remove odors, and you can even make a "cocktail" out of it by adding in some essential oils. Then, you can leave your gear out to dry with some air freshener if need be.

Lemon juice and vinegar are also good for cleaning outdoor gear, but really, where's the fun in that? When you've just had the camping adventure of a lifetime in Wyoming or some such place, you might as well apply the same adventurous spirit to the cleanup part. Just don't get too carried away and fall into a "one for the tent, one for me" cleaning and drinking routine. (You probably shouldn't spray vodka into your mouth out of the same bottle you're using to clean.)

Other outdoor cleaning uses for vodka

Vodka can also be used as a glass cleaner, so if your SUV or jeep has mud-flecked windows from driving through the great outdoors, you can spray some of it on and then wipe them down. Apart from that, vodka can even disinfect surfaces.

The alcohol can furthermore help take the odor off clothes and hiking boots when you spray it in the insoles. Since it doesn't leave an odor of its own, you don't have to worry about your clothes smelling like you've been off on some lost barhopping weekend, as opposed to just weekending at a campground.

Using vodka as a cleaning agent could get expensive, of course, so it's best to keep saving that $1,500 bottle of Absolut Crystal Pinstripe that you bought at the airport years ago for a special occasion. Go with a cheap brand of vodka instead and maybe save it as a DIY last resort for your camping trip.