I love to find Ways To Camp On A Budget!! As basic as camping can be the costs really can add up. It can cost $20 to $30 each night just to stay each night at a typical private campground even with just a tent. That’s about the cheapest you can get for camping in my area. If you go off-season to somewhere off the beaten trail, you might even find somewhere you can camp for free! (I have included affiliate links to products I love. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Now one of my closest friends always laughed and asked why they would pay money to live out in the woods for the night. They kinda have a point but I love the fact that there is some comfort in numbers at a campground. Now for the nightly cost for a camping spot is just the beginning of your real camping costs. You’ve got to add in food, shelter, entertainment, and even the gas to get there. You can’t do much about the cost of gas, but there are lots of other ways you can save on camping costs. (You can see my posts on Camping for Free -> here)
Ways To Camp On A Budget:
Bring It From Home: Everything’s almost always cheaper back home than it is near a campground or a corner store. The markups in a campground general store are unbelievable! So the trick to cutting camping costs is to buy as little as possible from the campground general store. If we are on a long camping trip we try to plan a day in a town with a regular grocery store. Meal planning makes all the difference when camping, and every year I make a fresh spice collection from the dollar store for camping as well.
Avoid Disposables: Paper plates and one-use plastic forks may be easy to deal with after each meal, but that can also get very expensive over time. You’re also dealing with a lot of extra trash, and you might have to pay for that too. Besides, most campgrounds don’t come with recycling bins.
So your way to cheaper camping is to get the kind of cheap plastic dishes and basic metal or upgrade-plastic cutlery that you can reuse over and over again. They’re not just for camping. You can use them for picnics and backyard cookouts as well. They’re pretty durable, they don’t break easily, but even if you do break one, it’s easy to replace it. I have also picked up dishes and cutlery at thrift stores before as well for cheap as well.
Stansport Enamel Camping Tableware Set, 24-Piece, BlueSAMMART Collapsible Dish Drainer with Drainer Board – Foldable Drying Rack Set – Portable Dinnerware Organizer – Space Saving Kitchen Storage Tray (1, Grey)Odoland 22pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit, Large Size Hanging Pot Pan Kettle with Base Cook Set for 4, Cups Dishes Forks Spoons Kit for Outdoor Camping Hiking and Picnic
Free entertainment: Many campgrounds are close to lots of free things to do. Some will have lakes, beaches, with swimming, boat launches, sand castles, hiking, fishing (after licenses), and sometimes free camp programs at night. One thing I love about Washington State Parks is many have junior ranger programs for kids. (See the state parks site -> here) You’ve got lots of hiking trails. You’ve got fishing and fresh-caught fish and evening campfires. In many national parks, you’ve even got freebie planned recreational activities like nature talks and wolf howls. Go have fun, for Pete’s sake! Bringing board games and cards for rainy days can help too.
Go With Classic Meals: Make at least one camp night a hot dog with beans and burger night. It’s traditional and can be cheap! Look at some cheap foil dinners and camping foods as well. We do a lot of eggs for breakfast filling meals that will fuel your experiences. It doesn’t have to be fancy but make sure the meals will fill you up!
Blackstone Table Top Grill – 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle – Propane Fueled – For Outdoor Cooking While Camping, Tailgating or PicnickingDOZYANT 12 Feet Universal QCC1 Low Pressure Propane Regulator Grill Replacement with 12 FT Hose for Most LP Gas Grill, Heater and Fire Pit Table, 3/8Intex 64139EP Dura-Beam Standard Series Essential Rest Airbed with Internal Electric Pump, Bed Height 20in, Queen
Camping Gear: Having good camping gear can really save you money in the long run. My go tos for camping (You can see them above too) is a good camp griddle, propane hose instead of little tanks, and a good air mattress. Now the air mattress is to avoid the chiropractor visits while we camp in a tent.
What do you do to save money while camping on a budget?