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tips for camping on a budget

21667 Views 42 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  RVCamper
Sometimes it is hard for young families starting out to buy all the necessary camping gear to get going.

Here are a couple tips to make it a little easier on the pocket book.

1. Instead of sleeping bags, use the blankets and comforters from home. This saves initially on buying sleeping bags.

2. Check with the campgrounds to see if they have discounts for longer stays if you know you are not going elsewhere. For instance if you pay a full week in advance, it may be cheaper than if you pay each night individually.

3. Pack your canned goods and other unperishables from home so that you are not buying groceries at the campstore and local stores. In small communties, the prices will be higher and the camp store will not have the full selection.

4. Make a checklist so that you are not forgetting things and buying needlessly.

5. For the camping gear that you do wish to purchase, buy in off season. Usually at the end of summer, you can a lot of sales or end of line items discounted to sell fast.
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Yes you are right popuptrailercamper. This information is really useful for some guys. I have seen some campers who try to shop many irrelevant things in the name of camping. I think if you do proper planning and try to be limited to the checklist you can not only save your money but also carry a short luggage which make you fast.
A few more suggestions, just from my experience trying to stock up for this year's camping season (my first with the kids):

1. Buy pots or pans from Goodwill for camping, instead of buying the ones in the camping isle. They are cheap and you don't mind turning them black over a fire.

2. Rechargable D cell batteries don't cost that much more than non-rechargable ones, and can help you save lots of money on the batteries you use for flashlights, electric lanterns, fans.. etc.
1. Buy pots or pans from Goodwill for camping, instead of buying the ones in the camping isle. They are cheap and you don't mind turning them black over a fire.
This is a great idea! I havent been to goodwill in a long time, but I would imagine you could find quite a few things you could use from there for camping. I am going to check into that :thumbup2:
The suggestion about pots and pans from Goodwill is excellent. Your pots and pans at home you want to keep at home. Some people may have a spare set of pots and pans to use for emergencies. But getting them from Goodwill is easy and cheap.
Good Tips

I have also found a lot of good camping utensils at garage sales. I have bought frying pans, coffee pot, pie plates, regular plates, bowls and cups for pennies on the dollar. They are still in great shape for camping gear and cheap!! :way-to-go:
You seems to me a very experinced camper and benificial for the campers which are not so rich . It will really help them to enjoy camping in their limited budget . Thanks for guiding post .
My husband is the garage sale king. I have to admit he does get some good deals even though I find it time consuming and nerve-wracking.

Late in the season last summer, he went to a garage sale from a lady that was moving into a retirement home and we got three sets of brand new sheets still in the package.

So the beds in the trailer are going to get some updating this summer.
In my area, garage and yard sales have been changed by ebay. People don't have as many, and the people that do have the sales ask higher prices because if they don't sell it in the yard/garage sale they put it on ebay.

I can remember yard sale prices about 10 years ago, when things generally cost less than $1.

Estate sales are still nice. Most of the time they are used to get rid of EVERYTHING in one quick swipe, so the prices can be super low! Now... you just gotta find the estate with the camper in the driveway!!!! hehehehe
Great tips guys. My wife drags me yard selling every now and then, but I have never thought about getting some camping goodies. :thumbup2:
Garage sales aren't "officially" allowed in my neighborhood. Once in a while we see someone having one. I agree that they are very high priced now. I think I would love to sell things for $1. I just don't care! If your husband gets to them and gets things for you - that GREAT! More things to camp with. Some people sell some very nice things.
Goodwill and Salvation Army are the best places I agree. You can also check into local non-profits that may have thrift stores or flea markets. I know in our area that a lot of local non-profits are now trying to raise more funds by having little "thrift stores" open on Saturdays or having garage sales once a month!
I am not afraid to admit I will browse thrift stores and goodwill to. I know when we have yard sales and have things left over, they go to goodwill. Many times, really good stuff too. You never know what kind of camping goodies you will find there.
I'm going to use our Mr. Buddy heater a lot this year so I'm starting to do this:
Throw-Away propane Tank Refiller
Some great money saving tips there :thumbup1: one thing my wife enjoys, is going to the garage sales :way-to-go:..

Another good place to check online is Craigslist. I looked at what was offered, and coupldn't find quite what I was looking for in the right price range. I posted a "looking for" ad, and I got a decent 9x7 dome tent, set of basic nesting pots & pans, HUGE cooler, cutting board, paring knife, misc cooking utensils, water carrier things, all for $75. The tent alone would have been more than that! I also got 3 OLD sleeping bags for $25 from someone else, but they match and are in good enough condition. ie, not torn up or stinky. Since they match, I can easily put 2 together to make a big one for the BF and I.
Just be careful like you would with any other site, try to meet people in a public place, things like that. Common sense things. :thumbup1:
Don't forget to checkout "freecycle". It is a national group that has local groups in your area (Maryland has groups broken down by counties). People "offer" stuff they are getting rid of instead of just throwing it away. People also post "wanted" items. I think they started it to keep things out of the landfills. In my area, most of these people are giving away some great stuff! I'm either too slow with the response, or it won't fit in my small home--aargh!
Yeah, they have it by cities/towns here in Northern Il. But I'm too slow, too... It's a good place to check, though!
Another place to shop--Church rummage sales. The church near home is within walking distance, but I have to take the truck because my wife and I find to many bargains. We find stuff for camping and for home. Another thing is dumster diving. When the economy is bad the comptition gets higher.
Here is a common trick I use to make my flashlight batteries last a year or more. Simply turn the lower battery upside down and replace the top battery in the regular position. Just remember to switch the bottom when you next need your light. You will be amazed how long the batteries last when they are not 'trickle draining' !
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