If you are a frequent camper, then you should already have most of the essential camping items. You are not going to spend a lot of money every time you go camping.
But for those who are going camping for the first time in their life, they may have no idea how much will it cost for them to go camping.
The questions that they have in their mind will probably be what items they need to buy and how much the cost?
For first time campers, there are a lot of one-time costs they need to pay for. Those one-time costs are for the essential items that they need to have when going camping.
The main items are include of camping tent, tarp, sleeping back, backpack, stove, torchlight, lighter, table, chair, and so on.
For all these essential items, you can find many different brands of different prices. Depends on the budget that you have, you can go to choose those items that are between your spending budgets.
If the price is not an issue for you, then, of course, you will want to choose the luxury items that can be most comfortable for you to use while camping.
Here I would love to share with you on the estimated costs for all the essential items and non-essential items that you need to buy if you plan to go camping. Those costs are base on estimation and may vary to the actual cost when you go to buy are the stuff.
Also, the cost can be varied and can cause by many factors, those factors include:
- Are you going to camp by backpacking, RV, or car?
- How many people are going?
- Which campsite are you going?
- What kind of food are you ready for your meals?
- Are you going camping with your dog?
- Is there any toddler or baby going camping with you?
All the above-mentioned factors will affect your camping cost.
A Break Down of the Cost for Essential Items
I will try to break the cost for each item in detail later. But first of all, let’s just take a look at the essential items that you need if you want to go camping. Those essential items are the items that all campers need to have. It doesn’t care how you go camping, where your campsite is, or what kind of food you are eating.
But most of the items are just one-time cost items. Which mean you just buy them once and you can use them repeatedly until they are broke or need replacement.
While for Kitchenware, utensil, clothing, shoes, detergent, hygienic essentials, and etc, I will not count them into the cost. This is because even though they are also essential items, but since they are items that you have in your house, you can bring them from your home without the need to buy a new one. So I will not add them to the cost. If you want to add in, then you can do your own estimation and calculation on them.
* Kitchenware and utensil are include of cups and glasses, pots and pans, forks and spoons, plates, bowl, and etc.
* Clothing is include of the shirt, pant, underwear, glove, and socks.
* Hygienic essential are like shower soap, shampoo, shaving tools, deodorant, and etc.
First Time Item Cost
- Tent: $100 – $300
- Tarp with Pole: $50 – $150
- Sleeping Bag: $25 – $60
- Backpack: $60 – $250
- Inflatable pillow: $10 – $20
- Rubber hammer: $10
- Torchlight: $10
- Headlamp: $20 – $50
- Lighter: $10 – $20
- Camp Stove: $25 – $100
- Fan: $10 – $20
- Knife: $25 – $50
- Powerbank: $50 – $100
- Umbrella: $15
- Raincoat: $15 – $60
- Jacket: $35 – $100
- Container: $20 – $80
- Table: $30 – $80
- Chair: $25 – $100
- First-Aid Kit: $25 – $50
From the above estimate costs for respective item, the total cost that you need to spend on buying all the necessary camping gear will be in between $570 to $1,625.
Cost on Different Type of Camping
Other than this, there is a different cost incurred for a different type of camping.
For Tent Camping
You need to add the cost for campsite fee, food and water, charcoal, fire starter, mosquitoes repellent, bug spray, and etc.
For Car Camping
You need to add the cost for fuel, campsite fee, food and water, charcoal, fire starter, mosquitoes repellent, bug spray, and etc.
For RV Camping
You need to add the cost for insurance, maintenance, fuel, campsite fee, food, water, charcoal, fire starter, mosquitoes repellent, bug spray, and etc.
Generally, the food cost will be about $20 – $30 per person for one day; while the fuel or gas will be another $100. The campground fees will be approximately $15 – $50 per night depends on which campground you are camp on.
If you bring your dogs or baby to go camping, then you will need to bring additional items like dog food, latch, baby diaper, wipes, and etc. These are all the costs that you need to add to your budget.
Add-on Item Cost
Some people may want to get some add on items which are not essential but is for their enjoyment and comfort. Those addon items can be like:
- Fire pit: $50 – $150
- Portable camping toilet: $30 – $200
- Solar generator: $150 – $800
- Camping shower: $20 – $100
- Pop-up shower tent: $30 – $100
How Most People Buy Their Camping Gears?
From the people who are frequently going camping with me, I have done some survey with them. I found most of them are buying their camping gears on impulse. Because of this, sometimes they just bought something that is not really useful to them. Or sometimes they just bought some items which are way too expensive where they can get from other shops for a much cheaper price.
So, what I would advise is you better do your due diligence before buying anything. By doing so, you can buy something you practically will use them and at a reasonable price. Like that you will feel better by wisely spend your money on the right items.
Let’s take a look at how most people buying their gear:
- Straight go to the store and buy the items without doing any research.
- Doing some research online, then go to the mom-and-pop store and buy it.
- Simply buy the item when trolling at a store.
- Buying the item because that is a big discount.
Is It Worth To Buy A Tent?
You can do a simple calculation. A good quality tent should cost you around $300. For diligent use, you may use the tent to camp for at least 50 times before it tears up. Which mean every time you go camping, you only spend $6 for accommodation.
How To Save Money On Your Next Camping Trip
You may be the first time camper who just want to try out camping for once. You may afraid that you can’t fit for the camping activity and if you buy all the camping stuff, then it will be a waste for your money.
Borrow From Friends
If you want to save money when you go camping and don’t want to spend money on an essential item, one thing you can do is to rent the camping gear from your friends. If your friends not going camping on the day that you plan to, then you can borrow his tent, tarp, and sleeping bag.
You will not be going to waste your money if you think camping is not what you like to do after you try it out with all the stuff that you borrowed from your friends. You can just return everything to your friends after you come back from camping, and you have nothing to lose.
Buy From Second-hand Stores
Another way for you to save money is to buy your camping gear from second-hand stores. There are stores that sell used camping gears and a lot of them are almost brand new. This is because many people really only going camping for once but they have bought all the gear and equipment. They then found out camping is not the thing that they enjoy to do, but they have already bought everything.
This becomes a burden for them to store everything in their houses. So, they are selling all these to the second-hand stores. You will find a lot of good stuff at second-hand stores. Most of them are looking for a brand new because the previous owner only uses it once. And the price that you can get is very cheap compared to you go to buy the new one from the camping store. Like that you can save yourself a lot of money.
Camping on a Budget: How to Camp Inexpensively but Safely
Even if you are not a big fan of sleeping outdoors or adventuring out into the wild, consider taking the family camping in a state or national park. Traveling across the country or within your own home state to a scenic location can be worth the memories made and can be a fairly inexpensive way to share a vacation with your family.
By following some simple tips for packing effectively for a camping trip and for utilizing tools that can be used for a variety of functions, you may find that a camping vacation is just what your family can afford.
There are a few costs to consider outside of your camping equipment. First, the cost to camp in a state or national park will range from $12 to $25 a night. It is smart to look online or call a park ranger to find out more about the grounds you plan to visit, any security issues you should be aware of any extra amenities that it may offer.
Some sites may have built-in fire pits, charcoal grills, picnic tables, designated tent sites, free or paid parking, running water, full-facility bathrooms or showers and trash service. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you pack for the right circumstances. Additionally, estimate the cost for fuel to get you to and from your camping area and have extra gas with you in case you get lost or run out of gas in between stations.
Once you know where you are going to camp, begin pulling together the right equipment to take along. The type of tent to have depended on how many people you want it to hold and what season you plan to be camping in. Tents are divided into which season is appropriate.
If you’re a summer, camper, buy summer tents, which are made for hot climates only. They usually weigh between 4 and 8 pounds, which is important if you are moving camp from day to day. Winter tents are specially made to withstand cold, winter weather or mountain camping. They weigh generally 5 to 10 pounds. A general rule of thumb is to get a three-season tent, which can withstand light snow and a variety of climates. They weigh between 5 and 10 pounds. A fourth tent which is most practical is an all-season tent.
These are for your average camper who enjoys camping any season but doesn’t follow the mountaineering route. This tent weighs in at 5 to 10 pounds. A variety of sleeping bag options are available. Choose one that is light enough to be carried should you need to pack your equipment in, but is warm enough for cold weather.
Knives are important outdoor tools essential for any camping trip. When trying to save money, a survival or multi-purpose knife is the best option. It provides the benefits of a quality hunting knife along with several other tools that can be useful when in the great outdoors.
A survival knife can be used while camping to cut the string that holds the tent, to rig up lanterns and to clean and gut fish, among other miscellaneous uses. They are also important to have for emergency survival situations. Should you get lost in the woods, a knife would be protection against animals and would aid you in building a temporary shelter.
When looking for a good quality multi-purpose camping or hunting knife, either a full size or pocket knife version will work. Just buy one that has several blade types, screwdrivers, a potential storage spot for matches and small scissors – these things may come in handy while hiking or camping. By having these items in one easy-to-carry survival knife, you save money and space in having to carry each of these items separately
Outdoor lighting is one of the most necessary pieces of equipment when camping. A long-lasting, bright camping light will help ensure a safe trip. LED lanterns are appropriate for providing light to a wide camping space. For walking at night or looking for items in a tent, an LED flashlight or LED mini flashlight is useful and provides a strong, bright beam.
In both cases, having an LED light source is the most cost-efficient option for camping equipment because they will last thousands of hours longer than a standard flashlight or lantern. This means families will save money on replacing batteries and bulbs over the life of the light. LED outdoor lighting equipment is also more robust and durable than other flashlights so they are perfect for rough hiking or camping situations.
This is also important should you find yourself in an emergency situation. Knowing that your LED flashlight or lantern will not die out, gives you assurance.
Doing a bit of research ahead of time, preparing a list of must-have camping equipment, and utilizing equipment that can save money and space will help your family have a fun, inexpensive vacation in the great outdoors.
Where Can You Camp For Free?
There are some places that will allow you to make camp without having to pay a cent. You can either pull off along one of the many state highways or you can go to a random wooded area that is not really mapped out.
Make sure that the places you stay at are safe and that there are signs telling you it is ok to park your car overnight. The last thing you need is to get a ticket or have someone kick you out of your tent in the middle of the night.
The safest sites to go to are the National Parks. It is true that most of them will charge you. Try to find some of the lesser known parks in your area and stay in one of their free campsites. It is best to do this at the end of summer when the tourist season is over. That way there is plenty of space and it will be quiet.
Municipal parks in your area are another place to look at. Tell them that you want to volunteer to clean up the park after a big event. When you do this they will be more inclined to let you and your family stay on their premises without paying a dime.
Read also: The Do’s and Don’ts When You Go Camping