Ahhhhh summer. What better time to get out into nature and head out camping! Here are some ways you can save money camping this summer!
I remember seeing a meme years ago that said:
“Camping: when you spend a small fortune to live like you are homeless.”
The good news is that you don’t actually have to! I’m heading camping this week and here are some of the ways I save money on camping and how you can save money camping this summer. If you have more please leave a comment and let me know your money saving tips and tricks for camping!
- Avoid expensive campgrounds. I’m not saying you have to park in the Walmart parking lot (eeew) but there are hundreds of recreational sites that are free of charge! You can check out a list of the ones available in BC here
- Meal Plan – Let’s face it everyone eats differently when camping, usually more junk food and booze in particualar. These two can be budget killers! Prepacked food and drinks always cost more and usually aren’t as healthy. By making a meal plan, cooking lots of it ahead of time you will save money and eat better. I don’t know about you but all my kids do when we camp is eat, so if I don’t buy the “crap” they can’t eat it!
- Skip Disposables – Disposable cups, plates and water bottles are handy but they are also expensive and crap for the environment. Seriously how many times do you see people actually finish the entire water bottle? Well maybe adults, but kids usually have 3 and say “it got warm” and they don’t finish it. Buy a giant 5 gallon bottle of water, bring your own and just refill. $2 for the water refill and I’m sure you have a plastic or stainless water bottle at home. 2 minutes of dishes is also free compared to the expensive crap cutlery and plates. Don’t have plates and extra cutlery? Hit up a garage sale or thrift store and you’ll get what you need for cheap.
- Ice – Make your own! This is the money waster I have never understood… paying $4 to $5 for frozen water that melts? Make it ahead yourself if you know when you’re going you can make a lot of bags of ice beforehand. I also like to fill up old milk jugs with water. As it melts, I can drink it (ah so refreshingly cold) and they last way longer than ice cubes.
- Borrow or Buy USED gear – I love some of the camping stores out there but what a rip off! If you only camp a few times a year consider borrowing equipment from friends and family or buy used and save yourself a ton of money. You can often pick up used gear at garage sales for dirt cheap!
- Wood for fires – Well not a problem if you are in the height of fire season with fire bans like we are…but if you’re able to have a campfire DO NOT BUY WOOD! What a waste of money! Put a call out online and see if someone has a tree they need gotten rid of, or maybe some wood you can buy for cheap. When I see someone pull into a gas station to buy one of those tiny bundles for $10 I want to go smack it out of their hands! Quite often on Rec sites people will leave wood behind or you can find natural fallen trees and scrap wood around. Get off your arse and collect some!
- Rent equipment – This tip isn’t for everyone but be honest, how many times a year do you go camping? If you only go a few times a year consider renting! You can rent a travel trailer on rvezy.com starting around $100/night. They will often tow it out for you, have it fully stocked and do all the cleanup for you too! So say you do 3 trips a year for 3 nights… you’ll be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 total. Where as you decide you have to buy the trailer, you’ll be paying insurance, extra gas, and the payments which will be well over that per year!
These are just a few ideas to get you started on lowering your camping costs. If any of these make you uncomfortable, ask yourself why? Perhaps you have some skewed money mindset ideas – if so book a complimentary consultation with me and we can get those money mindset issues sorted out! See you in the backcountry!