I grew up camping because it was a lot cheaper to camp with 3 kids then to stay in a hotel. I can distinctly remember the amazing amount of stuff we could fit into our station wagon and mini-vans along with 5 people. Now when I camp, my vehicle is always stocked with enough items to keep me going for a week while in the great outdoors.
Some of my best memories are in a tent, with torrential downpours pounding on the collapsing roof, as us kids huddled together with our books, snacks, and flashlights hoping that at least one piece of clothing would be dry in the morning. The tent we had growing up was not exactly waterproof, and in my own searches to purchase the best tent, that feature was top on my list.
Camping is one of the best ways for a family or couple to bond with each other and nature. Despite the mishaps involved with camping such as rain, animals, wind, and all things mother nature, the joy that comes from being just a small piece of fabric from the outdoors is priceless.
As one of the most inexpensive vacationing activities around, camping gives you the opportunity to be in nature instead of just observing it. Many park campgrounds put you in the center of wild life, offering the chance to wake up to the rustling of raccoons digging into your food. It’s not the most appealing thing to hear at 2 a.m. when you’re trying to sleep, but the sight of wild life is something to behold.
There are many places to purchase camping supplies, including Cabelas, Sears, Walmart, Kmart, Gander Mountain and Coleman. The basics that you need to get you started for park or campground camping settings are as follows:
- Sleeping Bag
- Propane Stove/Burner
- Trash Bags
- Cooking Utensils
- Water Cooler
- Lawn Chair
- Toilet Paper
For more comforts of home, don’t forget an air mattress, pump, and other personal items. If you plan to do backpack camping, packing the minimum is usually best.
When it comes to purchasing your camping supplies, if you do not own any of these items, you can expect to spend an upfront cost of around $300-$500 total. Instead of purchasing all these items at once, I started my camping supply piece by piece as I needed the items. You may prefer to cook over a bonfire at your campsite, and that would eliminate the need for your pots, pans and a propane stove or burner. Sometimes camping can just require your tent, sleeping bag, water, cooler and matches. You can definitely keep camping simple and cheap. Check with local outdoor companies and park systems to see if they offer equipment rentals.
When searching for a place to camp, remember to respect nature. Wherever you want to travel, do research ahead on local, state or national parks that offer camping, and family campgrounds in the area such as KOA. Many sites can be reserved online with the option of on site water or electricity if you desire those conveniences.
Depending on the geological area, campsites can run anywhere from $10-$50 per night. Not all campgrounds allow pets, so be sure to call ahead to seek approval. Also read all safety warnings and guidelines. Certain times of the years fires are not permitted, and different bugs or animals can be present that can cause a hazard to your camping. Be safe and alert.
A typical camping weekend, if the camping supplies are already in your possession, should run you around $150-$200 including your campsite, food, and travel expenses. The more people, and longer length in stay will increase these prices, but compared to a weekend in a hotel with dining out, camping is much more affordable and fun.
I highly recommend camping to any couple or family. If you need a quick, quiet getaway, camping is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and budget.