If you’re looking for a great escape any time of year that won’t break your wallet, consider planning a camping trip. Instead of getting on a plane and heading to another country, grab some simple supplies, pile in the car and head to the mountains.
Even though camping sounds like it can be inexpensive, some camping trips—especially if you don’t have any gear or knowledge—can be quite pricey. That’s why we’re sharing our tips for how to have a cheap camping trip.
Camping gear itself can cost a pretty penny, particularly if you need to buy every single item. After tents, sleeping bags, mats, camping stoves and more, you could be set back a good $600. Fortunately, many people you know will probably have at least some of these supplies tucked away in their garage. The ones you should ask to borrow camping gear are your outdoorsy friends or family.
Even if you just get a few sleeping bags and tents, your cost will be significantly reduced. While you might feel awkward or uncomfortable asking to borrow things, remember that you can always do something in return to say thanks, like inviting the lender over for dinner.
Pick a free campsite
Although most campsites are fairly cheap, others can cost a good amount. Avoid private campgrounds with huge fees or very popular spots that require an expensive permit. Instead, opt for a smaller campground somewhere else. Free campsites are available around the country and can be found with a quick Google search. Nature is free, so why should you pay to enjoy it?
Aside from the major pieces of gear like sleeping bags and tents, camping requires a range of smaller things to complete the trip. For example, you’ll need plates, toilet paper holders, pillows, etc. Rather than going out and buying camping-specific items, simply use things you already have. Paper plates are great for camping, and they can be reinforced with an upside down Frisbee. Toilet paper can be kept dry and protected in coffee tins.
The key to saving money is being innovative, creative and willing to try new things.
Choose activities carefully
What makes camping so fun is getting outside and having fun. While going canoeing or tubing is a great experience, opting for free activities like hiking or swimming will save money. Not only are these just as fun, but free activities tend to offer more exercise and opportunities to accommodate everyone.
Tim Martinez is a freelancer and writes for various sites, including the official blog of Camping Gear Outlet.