These Pool Noodle Hacks Will Transform Your Next Camping Trip

Did you ever think that pool noodles could be helpful camping tools? It sounds wild, but it's true. Besides being helpful for blowing pool bubbles (we've all done it), these dandy, brightly shaded foam sticks can help you out of quite a few jams. Since they're inexpensive, they make for terrific DIY materials. At just a few dollars a piece, pool noodles allow you to be creative without being afraid of messing up and wasting a bunch of dollars in the process. 

Some of our tips are fun, while others are simply functional. Either way, with a bit of ingenuity, you can enhance even the most rustic camp. These DIYs are so easy that even if crafting isn't your thing, you should have no problems getting set up. And diehard campers, don't think that a little added comfort will take the edge off of your reputation. Using pool noodles creatively can make camping more cozy, safe, and, well, colorful.

Rain diversion

There's nothing worse than waking up in a squishy tent area. When rain is forecast, it's a good idea to halve a pool noodle, affix it to the outside top corner of your tent or pop-up camper, and arrange it in a way that will divert water from your immediate tented area. This will help keep the mud and standing water around your tent to a minimum — less mess for you and (hopefully) fewer mosquitos or other bugs attracted by water.

Chair arm cushioning

Let's not delude ourselves; camping chair arms aren't comfy. One way to make them a lot more tolerable is slicing a piece of pool noodle open and putting it over the arm. It will be cushioned as well as colorful, and a bonus is that the noodle protects the metal arm from the elements. You could even match the chair colors to the noodles if you feel especially motivated.

Campsite boundary markers

Camping with kids can be challenging, especially when trying to enforce the family camping zone. An easy way to do this is to make boundary markers out of pool noodles (perhaps even in those kiddos' favorite colors). This can be done by putting a stake in the ground and mounting the noodle on it vertically or placing it on the ground horizontally, so long as it's noticeable. 

Tablecloth holder

Vinyl or plastic tablecloths do not like staying on picnic tables. You could bring a set of clamps to keep them in place, but a pool noodle will serve the same purpose. In fact, pool noodles are better because they surround the table lengths in longer stretches than a clamp can. Cut pool noodles, either the length of each table side or into small pieces, whatever your preference, and slice down the side. Once sliced, the noodles can be placed around the edge of the table, hugging the tablecloth tightly. They also make excellent table bumpers. 

Chair stabilizer

Have you got an old-school folding camping chair with horizontal bars for legs and some uneven ground? A pool noodle is the perfect solution. Attaching a sliced noodle to the bars provides the chair more stability on uneven surfaces and protects the chair itself if the ground is muddy and wet.

Camping fork caps

This is not an endorsement to put a pool noodle on a camping fork while it is being used. Please don't do that; it won't end well. If your camping fork is getting hot while you have it in the fire, you're just going to melt the noodles onto the base of the fork. What you should do is use small pieces of a pool noodle to cap the forks while not in use. This keeps the sharp tips from potentially hurting a person or cutting into your gear while you're on the move.

Comfier camp toilet

As with the arms on camping chairs, a bucket camp toilet is not comfortable. Cutting a pool noodle open and putting it over the rim isn't going to help a lot, but your tushy will be grateful for the small amount of cushion. When it comes to the tush, every little helps, and it still beats squatting by a tree. Be sure to put a bag inside, clamped by the noodles, for easy cleanup. You may want to bring an extra noodle for a just-in-case replacement. 

Protect your fishing rods

Along the same lines as the hack mentioned for camping forks, pool noodles can protect your fishing rods while in transit. If you cut the noodle down the middle and carefully place your fishing pole between the halves, you can protect the delicate fishing line and the mechanisms of your fishing rod. The pool noodle won't improve your fishing skills, but it'll definitely keep your equipment from breaking.

Prevent water pooling

Whether you've got an extra canopy for a dining area or your tent sags more than you'd like, a pool noodle can save you from tent water pooling. Propping one or a piece of one up top on the inside of a pop-up canopy, you can keep the canvas taut, as when there is less sag, there will inevitably be less water pooling. You can also do the same for a regular sleeping tent or even attach two together to make a pillar inside the tent.

DIY sprinkler

For those traveling with kids or those with summertime nostalgia, pool noodles make for excellent DIY sprinklers. If you have access to a hose, you can create a range of noodley contraptions. The easiest is to take a noodle, place several holes along the edge, put a wad of foil or cork on one end, cover that end with heavy-duty tape, and voila! Now, just insert a hose into the open end of the sprinkler, and in moments, you'll have budget-friendly entertainment.

Camping games

Pool noodles were invented for fun and safety, so it only makes sense to use them for some recreation. Other than their intended purpose, there are a bunch of fun campsite activities you can do with some pool noodles and imagination. For instance, you could set up an obstacle course, make concentric rings for a ball toss game, play with the noodles as javelins, or even make your own croquet course. 

Bed safety bar

When you're spending the night in a tent, there isn't far to fall if you're on a camping or inflatable mattress. Still, no one wants to be awakened by screaming because someone accidentally fell off the mattress. Prevent middle-of-the-night mishaps by placing pool noodles under a fitted sheet on the mattress. This will keep anyone, little kiddos in particular, from tumbling onto the hard ground.

Tent line visibility

Despite being heaps of fun, camping isn't necessarily a walk in the park. Aspects of the adventure can be challenging. Our main nemesis? Tent lines. You know, the strings that keep your tent tethered to the ground with a handy spike? Those are massive tripping hazards — unless you slip them through a pool noodle! This way, you can see the lines and keep safe around your tent.