Here are a few ideas to save money when camping without lacking the fun.
1. Garage Sale Shopping
Garage sales are the best place to find camping dishes and pots and pans for your camping kitchen. Cast Iron cookware can be often found at garage/yard sales. Garage sales are also the place to go to stock up on travel games or board games. UNO is a family favorite.
2. Clearance Shopping
The end caps of Target, WalMart, Dicks, Sports Authority, etc. are like searching for gold in a lost cave! Crazy deals can be found there.
3. Tell Friends and Family
Put the put the word out there among my friends and family to keep their eyes open for camping gear. I've been known to put certain things on my Christmas List.
4. Online Shopping
Amazon.com is always the cheapest site for purchase anything you can wait to get your hands on. However, you can find deals on Facebook through local yard sale group pages.
5. Craigslist Shopping
Buyer beware central! There are things on Craigslist you must be aware of before buying from a private party. I would be fine with buying camping chairs off Craigslist, but not sleeping bags. A camping stove could be more than half price on Craigslist! Don’t forget shopping this form is very time consuming and it might be cheaper time wise to hop onto Amazon instead.
6. Campground Deals
A lot of campgrounds will have coupons on their websites. They also sometimes will post deals for staying more than 2 nights at their location. If you plan your trip out early enough you can sometimes score an early bird price.
7. Group Camping
Split up the total cost of camping with a group of friends. Not only will this save you money, but it can be a ton of fun!!
8. Food Storage
Pinterest is full of ideas when it comes to food! Reusing an old coffee container, or plastic syrup bottle can make repackaging foods for the trip much easier.
When it comes down to it you truly don’t need to waste a bunch of money on gas. Camp someplace near home. The kiddos will love the time you’ve invested in playing with them. They don’t care if you are camping here or there.
10. Meal Planning
Ahead of time make some fun cheap snacks or meals for the family. Have a simple lunch of PB & J with chips and for dinner campfire hot dogs with a side of baked beans. The nice thing about camping food is no one expects a gourmet meal.
Below are some checklists to help you out with what to pack.