Tips From A Frugal Camper

As I have mentioned before, camping is one of my all-time favorite activities. Right now I do mostly car camping with my family.  While camping isn't extremely expensive, costs can still add up fast with equipment, food, activities, etc.  Here are my favorite ways to save money when car camping as a family.
Money saving tips for car camping.
  • Go to a National Forest. They are much cheaper than most National Parks and State Parks/Forests. The downside is that they usually have fewer amenities and vaulted toilets. Although, last year we stayed at a NF campground that had a swimming area. 
  • Simple meals. We generally keep our meals very simple when camping. This helps contain costs and allows us to spend more time enjoying the outdoors instead of cooking. 
  • Cook over the fire. No extra equipment required. There are a surprising number of things that can be cooked over a fire. 
  • Take advantage of free activities at the campground. Hiking, swimming and the like are generally included in the cost of a campground, if there is any cost at all. Bonus: most of these require little or no extra equipment. 
    Money saving tips for car camping.
  • Take friends. You can't share the cost of a campground, but friends provide cheap entertainment for the kids. Bonus: you can also take turns preparing meals. 
  • Borrow or buy used/inexpensive gear. The first tent I owned as an adult was from Walmart and I took it on every camping and backpacking trip for 5 years. I even survived a thunderstorm in the Everglades, staying completely dry. There are plenty of inexpensive gear options.
  • Make your own equipment. The best DIY project I found this past year was a hand washing station using only a old laundry detergent bottle. The handle was a perfect place for hanging a towel. Check out my DIY Outdoor Gear Pinterest Board at the bottom of this post. 
    Money saving tips for car camping.
    DIY hand washing station from a laundry detergent bottle. 
  • Camp close to home. Last year we lived in southern Indiana, pretty boring geographically. But we were only a couple hours from the Garden of the Gods. You can always find something interesting close to home. Plus, for my family, a large part of camping is just being able to spend time together.
    Money saving tips for car camping.
  • Buy a year pass to your local state parks or forests. They generally include a discount on campsites plus you can get onto the property as often as you like. If you go regularly enough this can save you money.
  • Do without. While there is a lot of gear that makes camping more convenient, you really only need the basics. 
How do you cut costs when you are car camping as a family? 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


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