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Frugal Camping Tips

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Camping can be an inexpensive and fun way to travel and spend time with family and friends. Here are some ways to minimize the costs and make it more enjoyable for all. This is a guide about frugal camping tips.


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18 found this helpful
May 22, 2012

I discovered this by chance last year while packing for camping. I took my 2 outdoor solar lights to use in my tent. These have a flat bottom because they hang from small shepard hooks. I put them outside the tent door in sunlight to recharge during the day and brought them inside at night. Worked great and were fireproof.

By Tootic from Plainville, CT

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June 6, 20140 found this helpful

Hi. First of all, that is a great idea! And winning the $$ is not a scam, in fact, I have won three contests! The first two were cash awards, the third was an Amazon gift card, which is what they give now. Don't worry, you will receive it. Thanks again for the great tip!

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15 found this helpful
October 11, 2011

If you are a camper, you have probably at one time or another experienced having a very dark campsite. I have a simple and inexpensive solution for you. Pack one of the solar yard lights to take with you camping.

You can purchase them for less than $4 and they give just enough light to make your campsite safe and easy to walk around after dark. If you have tent stakes and you are concerned about your family tripping over the tent ropes after dark, the solar lights are very safe to use as there are no electrical wires or extension cords to deal with.

Solar lights are weatherproof and using a couple around your campsite usually are not too invasive to your camping neighbors. They are very handy if you have small children who have to be taken to the restroom during the night in the campground. The solar lights give just enough light to take away the scare of coming and going from the campsite.


By Marsha from Greenville, NC

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October 11, 20110 found this helpful

That is a good idea! They now make them small and easy to take. I wish they had these when my kids were little. We went camping a lot. It would have made life just a little easier for all.

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January 3, 20128 found this helpful

When my son was younger, I was the Cubmaster for his pack. Most of the scouts had single moms. The whole family goes camping in Cubscouts, but money was an issue.

When we didn't have money, the boys slept in my backyard in the tents. For breakfast, they cooked for their family on stove inside, usually pancakes for a $1. The older scouts helped younger ones (6 years and up) to cook. They watched not to burn it, since this was mom's breakfast and their siblings would tease them if it burnt, especially sisters.

At the State Parks, you can stay for a dollar a night in primitive. Other campgrounds, such as K.O.A., charged $5 a night per scout. Some campgrounds offered free camping when scouts helped clean up the campground. Scouts collected and sold cans for camping fee money or odd jobs.


Each scout made a cup when starting Scouts, which was brought everywhere with them as their official cup. Each scout had a mesh dish bag (made from mesh fruit bag with drawstring on top) in which stored his mess kit or made their own, consisting of fork, spoon, knife, dish, pan, and pot. Each scout washed his dishes or didn't have clean ones to use at next meal. Bathroom and dishtowels were used instead of paper napkins, washing and line drying them. Sand was used to clean up the burnt pots. I saved old foam meat containers that I washed in the dishwasher to use as paper plates for the moms.

For drinks, we had Sun tea and Kool-aid. The Dutch oven was used for the big oven. The scouts made solar ovens by covering pizza boxes with aluminum foil or by folding a silver sun visor into an oven. The visors could also be used as a mat to sleep and sit on. Metal coffee cans were used as Hobo stoves. We would burn wood collected on garbage night for firewood. Metal knife and flint were used to start fire.

For sleeping, we lined the bottom of tent with newspaper if cold, and a pillow made by stuffing clothes in a pillowcase. We used sleeping bags or quilts to stay warm in winter and slept on mats in summer.

I am proud of all my little men and they still talk about those cheep fun camping trips their Cubmaster took them on.


By Southernbelleklb from Jefferson, LA

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January 3, 20120 found this helpful

This all sounds like so much fun!

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July 18, 2012

Single use salve made from straws

If you are camping and going to be hiking or even just traveling, these will come in handy. Place a straw over the opening of the ointment and squeeze a small amount of it, about one quarter of an inch.


9 found this helpful
March 10, 2014

When you are camping where there are no shower facilities, try this. Spray paint gallon milk jugs flat black. Set it in the sun and, wah lah, shower water.


March 27, 2014

If you need to keep milk or cheese cool when camping or picnicking, wrap them in wet cloths and place in a bucket. As the water evaporates, it keeps the food cool. Remember to dampen cloths again when they dry out.


Debra Frick0 found this helpful
February 22, 2008

A large tent for camping

I look forward to camping each year. Although I now camp in a Pop-up camper, when my children were little, my husband and I would take them Tent camping. Cooking over a campfire can be one of the most challenging things you will ever do.


2 found this helpful
August 5, 2013

I save cereal boxes and use them to stand on after showering to get dry and dressed. Shower stalls are usually full of dirt off people shoes so I open boxes up where they are glued and keep a stack of them in the camper.


3 found this helpful
February 9, 2012

We go camping in our travel trailer almost every weekend during the summer at a place where it is parked in a remote area with no water hook-ups.


July 4, 2007

If you're like me, you're going camping/hiking with friends/family this summer (or wishing that you'd be able to). Here's a few tips for your summer car-camping and backpacking trips:


1 found this helpful
June 12, 2007

Build a good fire at night, it keeps the bugs away. Take all the ingredients for s'mores, a must have for camping. And don't forget the marshmallow sticks.


1 found this helpful
June 4, 2008

When I go backpacking and don't have one of those tiny travel tubes of toothpaste, I'll make my own so I don't have to cart the large tube of toothpaste with me.


2 found this helpful
August 12, 2011

Use a blow up air raft, the kind used to float in a pool, as a bed when camping. The air raft carries flat and, when folded, it makes a small package. It is lightweight and it can be used as a float near the campsite if you are camping near water.


October 10, 20052 found this helpful

Make a camp washing machine with a five gallon bucket and a toilet plunger. The plunger does a good job of agitating the water.


June 30, 20060 found this helpful

A lot of these tips are for tent camping. They are inspired by some hints from an old Boy Scout site.


0 found this helpful
May 21, 2012

If you forgot the filters for your coffee pot, tear off a piece of paper towel or use a paper napkin in the bottom of the basket. Add the grounds, and water and go ahead with your normal coffee routine.


0 found this helpful
June 22, 2007

To save money and the environment, I purchased "picnic" plates from the Dollar Tree. They are made of thin plastic, making them easy/light to pack.


June 30, 20060 found this helpful

If you are bringing electronic devices or flashlights, remove the batteries before packing and store them in a ziplock bag. That way if something accidentally gets flipped on, you won't run down your batteries.


June 25, 20040 found this helpful

For a very cheap vacation when you've just married and young, why don't you go camping in your own state. Buy a tent when the season is over and borrow fishing poles or buy them at flea markets.


September 28, 20050 found this helpful

When you are camping all the tents look alike to a kid. So that they always know where their tent is, attach a flag type identifier on the tent as high as you can.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
June 28, 2006

I would love to hear other people's camping hints. Here are some of mine:

Hope these suggestions help others and maybe someone has thought up some more.

Have fun camping!

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May 24, 20090 found this helpful

The one item that I find makes our camping trips more enjoyable that I wouldn't have thought of unless someone suggested it to me is a doormat. I put a large doormat outside our tent to reduce the grit and dirt that gets tracked in. Seems pretty obvious, but I took our first couple of trips before someone suggested it to us. Much better now.

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March 8, 20100 found this helpful

Pack your food in clear totes, one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner. Most of the time keeps you from having to dig in all to find what you need.

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