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How to Camp on a Budget and Still Have an Amazing Time

camp on a budget

Here are six tips for camping on a budget and having a great time.

Why go glamping when you can go camping on a budget? You don’t need as much gear as you think, and you don’t need to shell out nearly as much as you think. With these tips and tricks, you can hack camping on the cheap side.

1. Avoid Campground Fees by Going to National Forests and National Parks


Campground fees got you down? Don’t go to campgrounds that have them. There are national parks and national forests from coast to coast, as well as state lands that similarly don’t charge fees at certain sites. Why pay for something you don’t have to?

It’s also a great way to see some of the most amazing areas on the planet before the government sells them to golf resort developers.

Camping on a budget in these areas comes with a price, though. Usually, free sites are primitive sites, so no plumbing, showers, electricity, running water or anything. However, that also means fewer of the worst thing in the world: other people.

2. No Need for a Lantern with a Jug of Water and a Few Batteries


Another great hack for camping on the cheap is leaving the Coleman Lantern behind in favor of a headlamp and a gallon jug of water. Turn the headlamp inside out, put it over the jug and turn it on. Cheaper lighting, and you’ve got water in case you get thirsty!

For even more savings, re-use gallon jugs by filling them at a tap instead of buying more. Remember, it’s green to recycle!

3. Use Freezer Meals


Ever see Pinterest posts and other stuff about freezer meals? They work wonders for camping trips, especially when camping on a budget. Freeze the meals you want to eat and avoid having to hit the nearest grocery store to your campsite. You won’t use as much ice, and it saves you a lot of prep. Throw it in the cooking vessel of your choice, or place by the fire and enjoy hobo stews and casseroles.

Another good method? Freeze foods in foil. Get a steamer rack, a cheap soup pot and lid. Place foil packets of comestibles on the steamer rack and boil a bit of water. Steam until heated through. Makes clean-up a breeze.

4. Box Wine is Not All That Bad


For those 21 and over, box wine is a great camp tipple if you want to have a few (or more) belts without breaking the bank, if you can stomach it. There’s no glass to break, and it’s easy to pack out once polished off. Chilling is easier, as you can just take the bag out of the box and lay on ice.

Furthermore, since the ABV is quadruple that of Coors Light, and a four-liter box costs about the same as an 18-rack of beer… you get more bang for the buck.

5. Tents Are for Sissies; Sleep in Your Truck


If your truck has a canopy, there may be no reason to bother with a tent. Clear out the bed and throw down an air mattress or a roll of thick foam pad. Use a sleeping bag as normal or use blankets!

This may only be recommended in certain company. A significant other, for instance. A hunting buddy… that could just get weird. Unless you date/are married to your hunting buddy, in which case “the couple that slays together, stays together.”

6. Eschew All Cookware Save a Dutch Oven


In truth, a person only needs a few pots and pans and if you’re camping, you only really need a Dutch oven. There may be no better type of cookware in the world. Soups, stews, roasts, baking, deep frying… they do it all. Get a camp oven stand or cook directly on the coals; it’s all the cookware you need.

With a little care, cast-iron cookware will outlive you.

There are plenty more ways to enjoy camping on the cheap. Stay tuned for more!

NEXT: Check out these 10 things to keep in your truck on every camping trip!

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How to Camp on a Budget and Still Have an Amazing Time