If you are shopping for camping gear and thinking, “There’s no way these supplies are worth it!” you are not alone. My husband likes to say, “Camping and backing can be outrageous, spending a fortune to live like a vagabond for a few days.” It just takes a glance at the prices in outdoors stores to make that exaggerated statement seem convincing. Though the initial prices for camping gear can easily add up, there is a reason why so many fall in love with camping, and in response, invest in quality gear. Fortunately, anyone can experience the same joys these activities bring without having to break the bank. To help others who wish to start camping, but want to save some money along the way, I’ve added some tips and tricks below.
As an aspiring minimalist, one thing I have learned is to ask friends and family before going out and buying “new”. Often times, those around you are happy to lend some camping gear (as long as you take care of it). Eventually you will want your own, but it is wise to learn what you like and need by first testing out different models, designs, and set ups from your friends and family. Through testing out their rigs, and listening to the firsthand review from others, (including information you find on here Dope Outdoors) you can confidently purchase your own camping gear when you are ready.
Many companies have reputable warranties and return policies. So, if you do choose to buy right away, you can most likely exchange or return the gear for items the better fit your needs.
Prepare Meals at Home
When camping part of the experience is the amazing campfire meals. I know how tempting it is to pick up pre-cut/seasoned meats and vegetables to make a worry-free meal. Heaven knows there are endless options when it comes to “ready-to-eat” meals. Though what these meals save in convince, they can add up in cost. If you take the time to cut, prepare, and package your meals at home, your campfire dinner will be just as good and a few dollars less.
Choose Free Campsites
There are many names for free camping, but the concept is the same; spending the night on a plot of land where you will not be charged to do so, or be at risk of breaking the law. Many places that allow for free camping are on public land. The majority of these spots are void of facilities, electricity, water, or specific markings. Look for public land on the BLM website, but plan to bring your own provision, especially water. You may be able to find land near you, or even outside of a major national park. A little extra planning and packing can be worth the solitude, flexibility, and affordability of camping on public land.
Have Fun for Free
Camping is a wonderful practice that grants everyone the opportunity to “unplug” from the hustle and bustle of life, and instead, soak in the beauty and solitude that nature has to offer. While there is nothing like a relaxing camping trip, with a day of lounging and resting, there are also times where we just want something to fill our day. Before booking costly outdoor excursions, or “experiences”, consider some creative alternatives. While the choice is ultimately yours, some classic-outdoor-crowd-pleaser games are corn hole, washers, horseshoes, frisbee, card, capture the flag, hide and go seek, and general sports to name just a few. Even if you are camping solo, consider packing a book, drawing/painting supplies, a fishing pole, or your favorite hobby (whittling anyone?) to make your camping experience even more enjoyable without relying on technology.
Your Affordable Adventure Awaits
Don’t let anything hold you back from venturing outdoors. Your next adventure awaits, but this time it can be even more affordable!
What ways do you like to save while camping? Share in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!