The following is a guest post from Tadej Kožar, from Camping Tent Lovers. He knows a lot about camping and I asked him to share some tips on how to go camping with no money.
Since I’m all about finding fun things to do during the summer that are low-cost (and preferably free), I wanted to learn a few things about camping. I’m not much a “roughing-it” type of girl, but a few of my friends tell me how fun camping is – so maybe I’ll try it.
With these money-saving tips, maybe you will too.
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- Fun and Cheap Date Night Ideas
Camping With No Money
Going outdoors to see and interact with nature is a great thing, and there’s always pressure to buy new products. But if you aren’t an avid camper, or if your paycheck is stretched a little thin, there’s no harm in seeing how far you can go without spending any money.
Today I have some tips for wilderness adventurers who’d like to go camping with no money, because this hobby really doesn’t have to be expensive.
Camp With a Friend
Find someone who already goes camping and simply tag along with them. Although this may seem obvious, it’s one of the best and most understated tips that there are. They’ll take you under their wing, teach you the ropes, and things should be very smooth and easy.
Because they’ll have all of the equipment that you need, sharing should be easy – especially since the most common tents are 2 to 4 man tents. Which means, little to no out-of-pocket expense for you.
I’m cautious to recommend picking things up at yard sales and thrift stores when their purpose is to protect you from the elements, as you never really know what you are buying until you try it out. So for any equipment that you need, my advice instead would be to borrow it for your camping trip.
They’ll know all about what they have and where it’s used best.
Be sure to test everything out before you go on your big trip, so that you’ll understand how it works. If something is missing, you’ll know right away – and you’ll also know that you didn’t accidentally lose it yourself on the trip.
Shorten the Trip
The shorter your trip is, the less items that you’ll need to go. But it’s always nice to stay a while, especially when the drive to get there takes a while.
For example, if you’re not staying overnight but simply going there to set up and enjoy a quick picnic, you may not need to bring a tent or sleeping bags.
Don’t Buy Food, Bring Your Own
Many camping trips involve a trip to the store beforehand, a trip to fast food on the way there, and another fast food visit on the way back home. Fast food can be surprisingly expensive, and all of the salt and chemicals can make you feel dehydrated or tired.
Instead, I’d recommend ditching the store and making due with what you currently already have. There are lots of online campfire recipes that are easy and delicious – and all it takes is a little prep work at home.
If you don’t have an ingredient that you need for a certain recipe, either make a substitution or try to find a different but similar recipe and use that one instead.
Got a Tarp? Then You’ve Got Shelter
If you do want to stay overnight and the weather is temperate, you may not even need a tent at all. A tarp placed in the right spots can be comfy and cozy, though it’s not as luxurious as a tent.
Deciding whether to use it as a ground cover beneath your sleeping area or as a roof or as a windbreak will be one of your hardest decision. Though, this still leaves you out in the open to all of the insects who’d like to make a meal out of you, so bring along your insect repellant.
Find Free Parks
Although there may be many different parks and reserves, not all of them have the same prices, especially if you plan on doing some hunting or fishing.
If you go to your location’s website, you can check the prices on different locations, and even scour your local area for locations that are free.
Choose Camping Grounds with Amenities
Basic needs can easily eat up the cost and funds set away for a fun trip on the trails, so try to find ways to fulfill those needs without spending money, such as choosing camping grounds with public, free-standing restrooms and outhouses.
If you like, you can bring extra toilet paper just in case.
This helps prevent you from needing to purchase a bucket outhouse and all of the necessities that go around that. Although there are some tutorials online on how to create your own portable toilet, the bigger dilemma is what to do with the resulting human waste.
Things You Should Always Bring to Go Camping
There are certain items that you really can’t go without when you go outdoors for great lengths of time, and sunscreen and insect repellant are some of them. If you’re out, ask a friend to borrow.
Or, see if you can get ahold of some travel sizes.
There are some recipes online for creating your own insect repellent, most use essential oils – but it’s one of those things where if the recipe didn’t account for a certain species of bug, you’re going to have a really miserable time, so it may not be worth it to try to save money in this way.
These two items will last a really long time on a shelf.
You always do want to bring your sleeping bag, though. During the night, the temperature can swing from high to low surprisingly quickly. Having a warm sleeping bag can keep your body at the right temperature so that you don’t risk getting sick.
Besides a comfortable sleeping bag will help you to wake up feeling rested and energized the next morning.
Camping Warnings for New Adventurers – Stay Safe While Camping
Don’t Double Car Tent
There’s a popular sensation going around about camping setups involving backing two trucks up near one another and draping a tarp or thick cloth between the connected truck beds as a car tent.
Please don’t do this, it’s not safe because of carbon monoxide build-up, a tasteless, colorless gas that can cause headaches, and even death.
Insulation Between You and the Ground
Wherever you go camping, never sleep on just the bare earth, as it will suck all of the heat away from you, and very quickly.
This leaves your body in a state where it can never keep warm enough. If all you have is your sleeping bag, find something else to put beneath you to act as insulation. This can be a cardboard box, a tarp, or just some leaves if you’re desperate.
Camping with No Money Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Next time that you want to go camping, set yourself up a challenge to spend as little money as possible, and you might be surprised how far you can go!
Happy trails, camper!
A quick word from Tadej…
…Are you a camper or willing to become one? If you are interested in camping, you could find my website useful. I am passionate about camping tents and camping. Getting the right tent for you is a vital investment, no matter where will you pitch your tent – in mountains, in your backyard or in the nearest forest. I will help you to find the right one. Find Tadej on Camping Tent Lovers and on Facebook.