Jun 13

How to Save Money While Camping

by in Finding Cheap Accommodation, Travel Tips

Camping is already a pretty low-cost way to travel. Depending on the equipment you already have and where you choose to stay, it’s possible that it won’t require anything more than gas money and some food.

But sometimes it does cost a little more. If you need to obtain the right equipment or find that the campgrounds in your area all have fees, you may spend more than you intended to. Here are some tips for saving money on your next camping adventure—no matter where you’re headed.

Ditch the RV

One of the most expensive camping costs can be buying or renting an RV. While you may find cheap RV sites to stay at, it doesn’t offset the price of the vehicle. Especially when, chances are, you have your own car. Driving a car is more cost-effective all around. You won’t have the added expense of the RV, you’ll save on gas and you can still bring all your gear along. Attach a Vault Cargo hitch carrier to the back, toss your bags and gear inside and set off—simple as that. 

Renting Vs. Buying Equipment

If you’re camping often, buying equipment may be the best choice. If you can find a good deal on a reliable brand, stock up on tents, sleeping bags and cooking gear. This will ensure that you’re covered each and every time you head outdoors. But if it’s not such a regular activity, consider renting your equipment. If you don’t think you’ll get your money’s worth from purchasing it, rental costs can be considerably cheaper. Another option, which is typically free, is to ask friends or family if they have equipment you can borrow.

Seek Out National Forests and Wilderness Areas

When it comes time to pick a destination, one wise choice is to check out national forests and wilderness areas. Some of these more distant, less populated pieces of land are free to campers. Sure, they may be a little off the beaten path, but consider the hike part of the experience. It will save you money and ensure that your camping adventure is as exciting as can be. Plus—an added bonus—there will be some really spectacular scenery around.

Invite Friends

Another way to cut costs when camping is to invite friends. If your campground does have a fee, the more people you split it with, the better. You can also toss money in a pot to pay for things like tents or sleeping bags (even if you’re just renting) and food. Make a meal schedule and let each person buy enough food for the meals they’re cooking. This is a great way to cut costs on food for each person; instead of buying for every day, you’ll each buy a few meals.

Purchase Food Before You Go—and Freeze Some

No matter who is going to be buying the food, you’ll want to do it before you reach your destination. If you buy it near your home, you’re likely to know where to get the best deals. Also, convenience and grocery stores that are located near campgrounds are often in the middle of nowhere. This, coupled with the fact that there aren’t many options, makes the prices go up. You can also freeze foods ahead of time so they don’t spoil before they’re needed, or so they stay refrigerated should the ice melt.

Separate Food and Drinks

One other quick tip is to keep the food and drinks in separate coolers. You’ll be removing drinks consistently throughout the day. Therefore, the ice will melt more quickly. Keeping the food in a separate cooler will ensure the ice lasts longer so you won’t have to buy quite as much—and it will keep your food fresh longer as well.

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