Camping can be a ton of fun, but at times, it can also be an expensive hobby. It’s often surprising how “roughing it” can cost so much money. There is the food, the supplies and gear, the cost of traveling to and at staying at your destination, and often little miscellaneous expenses for which you just aren’t prepared. Sometimes it almost makes you wonder if it might be cheaper just to set up camp at the nearest Holiday Inn Express off interstate exit 90 — but that would take all the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?
Camping doesn’t have to cost as much as many of use think however. There are certain areas and aspects of camping that can be cut back upon, and still allow you to have a great time. Sometimes reducing the cost of camping makes the experience even more fun or rewarding as we find ourselves following in our ancestors’ footsteps, cooking over an open fire, foraging for our own wood, and sleeping out under the stars.
Sticking to the camping basics when it comes to food can save you money. Items like hot dogs, canned beans, chips, cookies, marshmallows, eggs, bacon, etc. can be fun, delicious, and don’t have to be expensive. While they may not be healthy or easy to pack in your backpack, such items can be perfect for a weekend camping trip in which you set up camp and stay put.
If you aren’t planning on doing much hiking and have a clean water source or have brought water with you, you may not need all that fancy, lightweight camping food. And shopping at camp stores and outdoor shops at which items such as trail mixes, dehydrated foods, and similar food stuffs are often sold for a pretty penny can add significantly to your camping costs.
Gear and Supplies
There are certain supplies you might want to splurge on for your camping trip, especially if you’re planning to make camping a regular event. Items such as a good tent, maybe some foam pads or an air mattress on which to sleep, and good bug repellant can be well worth the money you spend on them. There are however, certain camping gear and supplies, which while you think might be necessary, you may in reality be able to do without, and by doing so, could end up saving yourself a bundle of cash.
While camping ads and outdoor supply stores might have you thinking you need the best of everything when it comes time for your camping excursion, this may not necessarily be the case. You don’t always need the fanciest or highest priced supplies to be a successful camper, and doing without on a camping trip can save you money as well as make your trip a little more adventurous as you put your outdoors skills to the test.
If you don’t have a tent, you could flop your sleeping bags down and doze beneath the stars (as long as it won’t be raining and the mosquitoes and wildlife leave you alone). Are you without a sleeping bag? Consider using blankets instead. They may not be quite as warm, but they’re a cheap replacement. Without one of those fancy hiking backpacks? You may not really need one if you’re not going to do much hiking, and a regular sized backpack may work just fine for your camping needs.
You might also consider gathering your own wood for your campfire since buying wood is about the same as burning your money. And when it comes to cooking, if you don’t want to purchase a cook stove and propane, consider doing your cooking over an open fire. It might be a bit harder and a little more dangerous, but if you’re careful and patient it can be fun, rewarding, and cheap. Your campfire can also be a great source of light at night, and a couple of flashlights from home can save you money on those pricier camping lanterns.
With the cost of gas, the wear and tear on your vehicle, and the time it might take to get to a campsite, camping travel costs can add up. Camping doesn’t necessarily have to be something that takes place far from home though. In fact, it can be easy as well as cheap to do it in your own backyard. But if you’re up for a bit more adventure, there are plenty of other camp area options that don’t have to cost a lot of money.
You may have friends or family that have land upon which you could camp and that may be much nearer to you than a campsite at which you would pay to stay. You might also consider a state park at which you could camp, and that may only require a nominal fee for your presence.
Wherever you decide to camp, remember, it’s often the act of camping itself and the people with whom you go that make this activity a true adventure. By making wise decisions as to where, how, and with whom you take your camping excursions, you may find that it can be an exciting, yet economical activity in which to participate.
This article is for informational purposes only. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.