Camping on a Budget

Posted August 31st, 2018

If you couldn’t tell by the abundance of pumpkin spice latte posts on Facebook, it’s almost fall! If you’re anything like me, fall brings cool nights around a campfire roasting smores with family and friends. Whether you’re in a backyard or at a campsite, it’s fun to get in the fall spirit with a good old-fashioned campout. But what if you’re on a budget? Well, then you’ve come to the right place.

Camping doesn’t have to be expensive (although it can be if that’s your thing). Look for free or cheap camp sites around the area. You don’t have to travel far to feel connected to nature! Or, as the cheapest option yet, camp out in your back yard! Not only will it be a fun new way to explore your yard, but if things go south, you only have a short walk to safety.

No gear? No problem! If this is a one-time thing, look into renting gear. Most big-name retailers (like REI) will rent gear for a weekend trip. If you have a small outdoor store in your area, they may have a similar program. Likewise, there are plenty of online gear rentals, which could potentially be risky, but worth a shot. If interested, try,, or Mountain Side Gear Rental.

If this is more than a one-time trip, consider investing in some decent gear. After the initial purchase, your camping trips will be considerably less expensive. Do some research on the weather in your area. This can help you determine which equipment you should splurge on and what you can buy cheap. It might be a good idea to look into renting equipment for your first trip to test out if you like it or not. Another option is to purchase used equipment. There are plenty of stores – both local and chains – that sell used equipment in great condition for a very discounted price. 

While you’re out there being one with the wilderness, you’ll still need food. It’s one of the most important aspects of any trip! Instead of splurging on those expensive (but super cool) dehydrated meals, why not make your own? Well, your own version. If you have a dehydrator laying around, go all out! Try new recipes and pack them all up for the trip. If you, like most people, do not have a dehydrator, try freezer meals. Some meal ideas that freeze well and thaw even better: pancake batter, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and soup. Plus, the meals double as an ice pack!

So you’re all set to camp on a budget. But wait… you show up and forgot to plan anything to do! No worries – you’re basically in a giant playground. Go for a hike. Find a body of water to swim or fish. Play volleyball, basketball, baseball, etc. Bring cards and play a game. Tell stories. Play hide and go seek. The possibilities are endless!

Go forth and camp, friends! Enjoy the weather before winter rolls in. And remember, you don’t have to break the bank to have a great trip. 

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