Camping on a Budget

Summer is the perfect time to make memories with your family. Consider camping on a budget for some family fun this year.

camping on a budget

My family loves camping. We will be going camping for the first time in three years this summer.  We haven’t been able to go because we didn’t have someone that could care for our animals here at the homestead, but we’ve been able to change things this year to allow us some time to get away and take a camping trip.

Camping has always been the perfect option for our family because we were always on a tight budget. Camping can be pretty inexpensive. The key word there, though, is CAN. You would think there is no way camping could cost a LOT, you know, being in a tent and all, but if you aren’t careful you could pay more than you had hoped for.

That’s why you want to make sure you plan ahead and do your research so that you stay within budget for your family camping trip.

Kids love camping. Not only that, camping is a great way to afford a good trip. We’ve planned trips that have been hours and hours away and have been able to afford it because we spent most of the trip camping instead of staying at hotels.

We’ve taken a trip across Canada, along with a trip to Colorado which took us 40 hours to get there and camped most of the trips. Not only did it save us money, but we were able to experience nature in a whole new environment that we weren’t used to. To wake up and see the mountains first thing from the campground was an experience we had never had before and one that I will never forget.

Camping is also a great way to get away for a short weekend. There are campgrounds everywhere. If you can’t or don’t want to spend too much time driving there’s a good chance you can find a campground within an hour’s drive of where you live.

And if you can’t even get away at all, you can always camp in your backyard. No matter how far you go the kids will think it’s awesome. If they are roasting marshmallows and sleeping under the stars they are bound to have a good time.

You may not otherwise be able to afford a family vacation besides camping. That’s what makes camping so awesome. Kids generally don’t care if they go on a full out vacation in another country while staying in a hotel or if they go camping.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that my children actually enjoy camping and the trips are less chaotic and stressful than when we’ve stayed at a hotel and went to a list of tourist attractions. There is something about nature that brings out a pure happiness in kids.


Borrow camping gear. One of the most expensive parts of camping is the gear. While it’s a good idea to invest in some of your own camping gear if you are an avid camper, if you are new to the idea of camping it may be better to borrow camping gear, especially because you may try camping and decide it isn’t for you.

Because people tend to only camp a few times a year, you can often find friends and family who are willing to lend you their camping gear when they aren’t using it. The benefit with this route as well is that you can decide what you will need and what you won’t need when you decide to invest in some gear for yourself.

Purchase secondhand gear. Thrift stores and yard sales are excellent places to find camping gear. Often you can find stuff that has barely been used because people buy camping gear and then decide camping isn’t for them.

Find cheap, or even free campgrounds. I’ve noticed that when it comes to places to camp, prices vary greatly. For our family we have always enjoyed camping at the provincial parks and have found it cheaper than camping at a KOA. You might even live in an area that offers free camping. Compare prices and shop around when deciding where to camp.

Camp closer to home. This will save you on gas and travelling expenses.

Pass on the bottled water. It’s easy to think you will need to bring bottled water for drinking, dishes, and brushing your teeth, but most campgrounds have taps where you can fill up your own reusable bottles.

Pre-make frugal meals and snacks. The weeks leading up to a camping trip I always liked to start baking and freezing food. The week before camping I would do some meal prep at home and package it up so that it was ready for our trip. This helped us avoid paying too much for convenience food at the grocery store.  Try these make ahead camping recipes.

Sleep in a tent. While I LOVE the idea of RV camping, tent camping is a lot cheaper. Not only for the actual tent, but tent sites at campgrounds tend to be a lot cheaper than RV sites that are often equipped with electricity.

Use a checklist. A checklist will help you not forget anything. The last thing you want to do is forget something and need to buy it at an expensive convenience store or camp store on the campground. I made this handy checklist you can print out so you don’t forget a thing!


Camping is such a great family activity to do and a great way to make memories together. If you haven’t camped with your family, I encourage you to try it out. There are so many activities you can do on a camping trip like fishing, canoe or kayaking, swimming, enjoying marshmallows roasted over the fire, and so much more.

Even on a rainy day camping can be fun. You can play some board games in the tent, and if you set up a dining tent you can enjoy your coffee while you listen to that summer rain.

Do you go camping with your family or do you have childhood memories of camping trips with your parents? Comment below, I’d love to hear about them!

Article Name
Camping on a Budget
Learn how to go camping and stay within budget.
Publisher Name
Simple Life of a Frugal Wife

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