One of the attractions of camping is that it’s generally cheaper than other types of family vacations, when you take into account rooms and meals. Camping is a great way to get the family together and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
When it comes to camping, the biggest risk to blowing your budget is probably gear envy. There is a lot of really great outdoor gear out there, from camp stoves, to lanterns, and everything in between. You really don’t need a lot of gear in order to have a great time in the backcountry, though.
We just bought our first piece of actual cooking campware last month. As much camping as we do, and we do a lot, you would think that we had all kinds of fancy pots and pans for outdoor cooking, but we don’t. We have always used old pots and pans from the house, and they seem to work just fine.
Indeed the easiest way to save money on camping is to use what you already have. You might not have any sleeping bags out in the garage, but maybe you have some foam mats or old blankets that you can use, instead of spending hundreds of dolars on sleeping pads.
Sleeping is one of those areas that I do not recommend cutting corners on. If rest and relaxtion is one of your goals, then it does not make a lot of sense to skimp on a tent or sleeping bags. Particularly for family camping, it pays to make sure the tent is big enough for everybody, and durable enough to last longer than one season.
Camping meals and snacks are another area where it is easy to get carried away if you’re not careful. Save money by making your own snacks and plan inexpensive meals with bulk foods like pancakes, hotdogs and hamburgers. Hamburgers and hotdogs are probably things that your kids don’t usually get at home anyway, so they’ll be thrilled!