Do you enjoy camping? Like to get outdoors? Camping is a fun adventure for the entire family, and it can be quite frugal. Getting back to nature can reset your mind and frankly, it can really be a blast!
Unfortunately, it often turns into an expensive activity when you are not careful, so be sure to follow as many of these camping tricks as you can and your trip can stay affordable.
Here are 7 camping tricks that will save you money…
- Shop smart for your tent. You do not have to spend a fortune to have a great tent. Choose the right time of year and you will find steep, steep discounts on tents and other camping gear. If you are shopping in store, be sure to head in at the end of summer for the best camping clearance deals. My friend once found a $350 tent at Target marked down to just $70! Another way to find awesome tent deals is at Amazon. Keep an eye on the Deal of The Day and Lightning Deals sections and they often feature tents and outdoor gear.
- Buy used camping gear. There are many sporting goods stores that sell used gear. Head on into look for your tents, chairs, lanterns, etc. Play it Again Sports is a great place to look. Amazon also sells used items, just be sure to pay attention to condition.
- Borrow gear. If you are only planning a single camping trip, there is often no need to spend big on gear, when chances are you probably know someone you can borrow it from.
- Bring your own firewood. One big expense that often comes with camping is firewood. Many people buy firestarter logs or they buy bundles of firewood from the local seller. These bundles cost a fortune. If you have any wood sources at home, take advantage of those and bring wood along with you.
- Find free campsites. There are still some campsites out there that are free. These are often more primitive and have less amenities, but you will save big money with them. If you can’t find free sites, you should definitely plan ahead and reserve your spot. It’s often several dollars cheaper when you reserve ahead of time. Also, make sure you look through the entire campground. Many campgrounds have different levels of sites that have different costs.
- Purchase a yearly pass for state and/or national parks. This is often significantly cheaper than paying per day. My friend who is an expert camper purchased a 2 year pass for $35, as opposed to a $7 per day charge for non-pass holders.
- Plan and prepare your food in advance. Camping food can be pretty cheap, but make sure you plan your menu. It’s easy to go overboard when you are making a last minute grocery run before your trip. Pack sandwiches, easy breakfasts and dinner than can be easily cooked on the fire.
If you are still on the fence about camping, consider taking a camping trip in your backyard. There is no entrance fee and if you decide that camping isn’t for you, all you have to do is go inside.
Do you have any more great camping tricks to save money that you would like to share?
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Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
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