Camping is one of the most affordable and liberating accommodation options when choosing where to rest your head for the night. Whether abroad or at home, there are thousands of campsites to choose from to meet every traveller’s budget, and there’s even the option of ditching the campsite altogether.
However, initial costs to get set up can be daunting for a complete beginner. Outdoor gear isn’t cheap and camping equipment is no exception. You can easily rack up a hefty bill buying all the necessary bits and bobs. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We’ve come up with a few ways to keep camping cheap and help you get outside into nature…
The most expensive part of camping has to be the equipment, and it’s this that can scupper someone’s plans for a wonderfully cheap and adventurous holiday. When you add up the tent (or bivi bags), the sleeping bags, the lighting, the cooking utensils, and anything else that you might need, you’ll see that it’s going to cost you a small fortune. Of course, if you’ve been camping before then you’ll probably have all this equipment already, but if this is your first time and you’re not even sure you’re going to enjoy the experience let alone have the budget to cover those costs, you might be at a loss.
There is a very easy way to get around this problem; borrow the equipment. Ask your friends and family if they have any camping equipment you can use and you’re likely to find that someone has at least something, and something is better than nothing even if you have to buy or hire other elements. The one thing we’d recommend buying for yourself, however, is your own sleeping bag. It is much more hygienic and a worthy investment!
Make Your Own Food
One of the best things about camping is cooking around a camp fire in the evening. The crackle of the logs; the smell of the burning embers; the orange glow and the sound of chatter are conjured up in the mind when thinking of camp trips. But one thing you wouldn’t tend to think about is where all the delicious food is coming from. It’s all too easy to rely on a local shop to stock up once you get to the campsite, but you’ll end up spending a lot more this way.
Rather than buying ready prepared meals, buy the ingredients and prepare the dishes yourself; it’s much cheaper and your money will go a lot further, plus it’s part of the fun of camping and will give you a real taste of what it’s like. To make things even cheaper, you can bring some things from home, such as rice and pasta or noodles.
We briefly mentioned campsites above, and they are a great way to go camping because you’ll have all the home comforts (almost) exactly where you need the,, and should something go wrong, you’ll be able to ask for help.
However, these campsites, even though they’re fairly inexpensive when compared to hotels, can mount up if you spend a few nights away. This is where wild camping comes in. Now, wild camping isn’t strictly legal in England or Wales but if you respect the wild camping code and arrive late, leave early and leave no trace, you should have no issuse.
If you want to really lean into wild camping, head north to Scotland where you have the right to roam – find out more about this in our guide to the Isle of Mull.
And there you have it – three simple ways to make camping even more affordable if you’ve yet to dip your toe. If you do fall in love with sleeping outside (which you will) then investing in good quality kit that is going to last, over the space of a few years is the way to do it. Remember, buy cheap – buy twice!