Camping continues to be a bargain among outdoor recreation pursuits. Even though the sport of camping is economical, it can become as expensive as five-star hotel hopping. Following are five issues that keep your camping finances at a minimum.
- Bring extra gear.
Gear such as batteries can easily be packed for the trip without taking up much space. Buying batteries and similar supplies such as lantern and stove fuel at the campground or nearby convenience store will cost a premium price. The smallest piece of gear can take a big bite out of the weekend camping budget.
- Cooking at camp.
For many campers, cooking over an open fire is a highlight of the camping excursion. But for other campers, a short drive from the campground to a local restaurant is a culinary preference. The key to inexpensive camp cooking is having a plan; a checklist of ingredients and a basic recipe book, either purchased or compiled notes. Resist the urge to grab extra grub when grocery shopping for the campout.
- Find free activities.
Finding activities of entertainment that don't involve a fee is easy while camping. The bases of camping pastimes such as hiking, biking, fishing or canoeing are enjoyed without any additional cost unless bikes and canoes are rented. Visiting local sites that charge a nominal fee can be saved for another day when camping on the cheap is not the goal. Select a pursuit that you are already equipped to do so. If a good pair of binoculars is owned, then consider wildlife observation as an activity.
- Stay close to home — or at home.
The backyard campout that was a common activity among kids in the 70s is making a comeback. The "staycation" trend remains strong and camping is a worthy option. State parks and other government owned campgrounds are bargains compared to private campgrounds most generally.
- Check the checklists.
Checklists can be the most useful camping tool when used. A master checklist will keep each element of the camping trip in order; from preparation to campsite fun. An item left behind by mistake or another that was simply not thought about will have to be purchased or done without for the current trip. Utilizing a thorough checklist will keep things in order both before and during the trip.