Camping in general is a relatively inexpensive family activity, but you can spend too much money if you’re not careful. Use these tips to keep your camping expenses under control.
Test Before You Commit
Before you go out and buy all of the latest camping gear, make sure it’s something your family will do on a regular basis. Try camping with friends first so you don’t have to buy your own gear. Borrow a tent for the test run. Once you know it’s something you enjoy, you can start buying your own camping gear.
Start With the Basics
Even if you know you’re going to camp regularly, you should build up your camping gear stash slowly. Start with the essentials. The tent is usually the biggest expense. You don’t need to get a fancy tent. Get something large enough to hold your family and your belongings. Anything bigger just takes up more of your campsite and creates more work to set up. You can eventually add more gear, such as a camp stove or camping convenience items.
Buying used camping gear can save you a lot of money. Check with friends and family to see if they have any old gear they want to sell. Watch garage sales and secondhand shops to find basic camping supplies. You can save a great deal of money by choosing used camping gear that is still in good shape.
Campsites are generally much cheaper than a hotel room, but you’ll find a big difference in cost. Check around with several different campgrounds in the area you plan to stay. You can compare the amenities and the cost of each option. You might also notice a difference in price for different campsites within the same campground. Prime spots will generally cost more than other campsites.
Camping with another family can also save you money. Check with the campground to see if you can have more than one tent on the same campsite. If so, you can split the cost of the campsite with your camping partners. Or try all fitting into one tent.
You don’t need to go all out with your camping activities or menus. Stick with inexpensive, basic foods for the trip. This means buying fewer ingredients and having less work. Stay entertained with activities available for free at the campground. You can explore nature, go for a hike and swim in the lake for free. By cutting back on extra activities that cost more money, you keep your overall trip budget low.