The warmer it gets, the more I want to go camping. Here’s a little roundup of cheap camping ideas if you have the urge for roughing it. Don’t worry, it’s not too rough…
First, find a free destination near you. There are so many cheap campsites around the country, listed on FreeCampsites.net. Going in a warmer month and location will cut down on the gear you’ll need, so that will also save money. Bare minimum pup tents come cheaper than this one, but if you want flaps for a little privacy, this lightweight two-person tent will do the trick. Keep warm with an insanely cheap sleeping bag, if you don’t already have one. For food, you can do better than hot dogs. A dutch oven can help you make easy and inexpensive meals like stews and pastas, over the fire. And unless you’re a real pro, you’ll need some firewood, lighter fluid, and a fire starter for that. (I’ve also heard dryer lint makes good kindling, if you want to skip the fluid). Conserve your wood as much as you can, and gather more from felled dry branches if you can. Clean up your dishes and yourself with this natural soap that’s safe for everything. Also: smear it on the inside of your socks to prevent blisters. Keep bugs at bay with citronella balm and the dark at bay with a little lantern. For entertainment, pack books, games, and playing cards, and explore the terrain around you!
PRO TIP: Camping with kids? Check out this great post about How to Camp with a Baby or Newborn.
Any free campsite recommendations? What free stuff do you like to do while camping?
Lauren Johnson is a filmmaker/producer living in West Hollywood who enjoys a great foreign thriller, leisure beers, and non-primary colors. Lauren also writes the blog LOCONCEPTS.
I love camping! We try and go at least once a year if not more. However, we usually spend a little more than $100 a pop. Our groceries and wood alone usually run closer to $250 for a few days. But it’s still an inexpensive way to have some fun!
If you are camping for a few nights, or doing a big hike, save weight in your pack and money on firewood by building a twig fire. A collection of several big handfuls of dry twigs will provide all the heat you’ll need for simple meals (think cous-cous, beans, instant soups, oatmeal, eggs). Amp up the heat by building your fire in an empty tin can, and make sure to bring some newspaper to get things going.
June 22nd is the Great American Backyard Campout… so go really cheap and do it in your backyard, on your deck or porch, or your patio or balcony!! :)
That sounds so fun! I’m always amazed what I learn from readers!
aw, I love going camping, but haven`t done it in years.. maybe this summer!
Ah, I love camping!
That is an interesting collection of camping equipment for only $100.00. You might be able to get away with another $30.00 or so for two or three days worth of food (more if you like to drink the suds while camping) and about $25.00 for a decent cooler. Camping on a tight budget can be done though, I have done it many times in the past.
Love these pics! We keep talking about taking the girls camping this year.. maybe it’ll actually happen
I live out of Appmattox,Va I have a grassed field I campout on, a picnic table,& a fire ring On metal, so not to set the ground on fire. several old empty liquid soap containers of water to put the fire out, maybe a small shovel.. free firewood is always available. use up older food for your campout, Just have fun & enjoy nature,no need to spend $100.s of to have a good time.take your yard solar lights with you.
never leave a trace you were there, maybe even walk the highway some pick up trash (wear gloves).
keeb.in southern ,Va.
Yard sales & flea markets are really great places to pick up used camping gear.
thanks I’ve picked up several items at Flea sales
Another one good tool to bring is a small knife. There’s a good quality small knife in roadeavour only a size of a credit card. Its very compact but reliable.
I can attest to the dryer lint. We save up a few toilet papers rolls, stuff them with the lint, and it’s magic at how well it starts up campfires. I recommend everyone try it!