Camping on a budget

Whether you do it to bond with family members or friends, escape the noise or get in touch with nature, camping can be a great experience.

Regardless of your motive, camping is also a wonderful way to prepare for an unanticipated bug-out experience.

If you suddenly have to leave your home due to a crisis and spend two or three nights outdoors, your camping experience will come in very handy.

You will already have first-hand knowledge of how to provide yourself with shelter, start a fire and cook outdoors.

In fact, even if you’ve never gone camping and have no desire to do so, it would be a good idea to do it a few times. Just to provide you with the peace of mind that will come from the fact that you know how to do it.

As with anything else, there are expensive and inexpensive ways of camping. I’m going to assume that we’re all on a budget here and that we want to have some camping experiences that don’t set us back too much financially.

So, let’s take a look at some survival strategies for camping on a budget.

Look for Free, Settle for Cheap

If you want to go the campground route, especially for the first couple of times you do it, you need to know that many of them charge a nightly fee.

But there are also free camping sites, and you can find some of them at and

These types of sites, which include information on national and state parks plus RV parks, will also provide you with photos of the campgrounds, user reviews and even cellphone reception.

Travel Tips

If your campsite is a few hours or less away from your home, then you don’t need to be concerned about this. But if it’s farther, here’s how you can save some money.

Plan ahead and find rest areas and truck stops that allow free parking, including overnight. Yeah, a 5-star hotel would be more comfortable, but we’re cutting costs here, remember?

You might even want to find a free campsite for the night or two that you’ll need to stay overnight if your journey is a long one.

Plan for the Weather

Knowing what the weather is going to be in advance of your trip will help you pack the right kind of gear and avoid having to drive somewhere to make a purchase.

Overnight low temperatures are especially important to get a grip on. Make sure your sleeping mats and sleeping bags are insulated.

Enjoy Free Activities

So much of what we do for entertainment in our daily lives costs too much money. While camping, you can enjoy many free and inexpensive things.

These include nature hikes, swimming, bicycling, boating and fishing. Pack your vehicle with balls, Frisbees, board games and any other items that will result in fun with family or friends.

Less Is More

The less you require for your camping trip, the less money you’ll have to spend acquiring it.

One guideline you might want to follow is the 20-pound rule. Make sure everything you carry to and from your campsite – other than food and water – is no more than 20 pounds per person.

Watch for sales on the equipment you purchase. Better yet, borrow or rent that equipment for your first camping experience, just in case you decide not to do it again.

Camping can be a lot of fun, as well as an educational survival experience. Best of all, you can do it on a budget.


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