Money Saving Camping Tips

It's almost camping season! Here are tips for saving money on camping trips from the ThriftyFun community.

Easy Premade Grilling Packets

Take foil, cut it in about 6x6 inches. Make a hamburger patty, add the seasoning you like, add thick slices of potato, onion, carrots. Put another layer of foil on this, fold all sides over a couple times to seal tight and freeze. Take corn on the cob and soak for 24 hours, then freeze these too. These can be cooked on the grill or put in the campfire then the cooked for about 20 minutes, dinner is ready!


By Audrey From Cincinnati, Ohio

Tent Camping Tips

Going on a camping Holiday? Great! But don't forget to bring a light-weight blue foam ground mattress to place under you when you sleep, and also a plastic sheet to place over your tent. Two basic rules of camping have always been 1: to place more under you then on top and 2: cover your tent with a water proof plastic or treated nylon. Rain or humidity must not reach the actual tent. Have a great and comfortable camping Holiday!

By Joseph Raglione

Recycled Fire Starters

Make handy fire starters by filling a cardboard egg carton with dryer lint and pouring melted paraffin wax over the lint. Now you have a dozen fire starters, just break off as needed!

By Tricia

Another free fire-starter method is to take empty cardboard toilet-tissue rolls and stuff them with dryer lint. Use to start campfires. Easy & Free.

By kidsNclutter

Easy Omelets For Camping

This tip is for use when camping outdoors. Get a ziplock bag, add a few eggs (w/o shell) into the bag, add shredded cheese, chopped onions, etc., whatever you like in your omelets. Close the bag, (you may want to use a potholder) and put it in a pot on your camping stove with water. Usually takes about 5 minutes at the most. Empty contents onto your plate. You'll have the most amazing eggs or omelet, cooked in a ziplock bag. We use this idea a lot when we go camping. The kids love it too!


By Bonnie from Norman, OK

Keep TP In A Coffee Can

Place a roll of toilet paper in a coffee can with the lid on to keep it dry and clean.

By Tricia

Make Your Own Ice

If you like to camp, rinse well and save empty quart and half-gallon cardboard orange juice cartons. Fill with water an inch from the top and freeze. Pack the cartons in the cooler with your food items and you will have cartons of cold water to drink as the ice melts, or ice on hand (pack a hammer to tap on the sides of the cartons to shatter the ice; open the top flaps to pour out the amount of ice you need.)

By Denise from FL

I fill clean, small plastic tubs (from cottage cheese/butter/sour cream) 3/4 with water and freeze to use in coolers. This really stretches the bagged ice you get. We have an extremely large family (7 kids-14 grandkids) and use many coolers. Our bagged ice cost is outrageous if I don't do this. As the trip winds down, I condense coolers so I don't lose a lot of cold space. As I pack the coolers, I hold the container under running water for a couple of seconds and the "ice cube" comes out easily.


By Amy

Two Ice Chests

Bring two ice chests: one for beverages, the other for food. The drink cooler will probably be opened more frequently causing ice to melt faster. Keep the food chest in the shade, lid closed to last longer.

By Tricia

Camp Cheap In A National Forest

To camp inexpensively, go to a National Forest. Don't go to crowded camp grounds and pay $20 a night + extra vehicle fee.

Pack out what you pack in. Leave the place just like you found it maybe better. Don't try to burn pop cans in the camp fire, they don't burn.

When you leave, pour water or coffee on the camp fire to make sure that it is OUT.

By Dahart in CO

Keep Your Equipment Near Your Favorite Site

If you frequently like to camp in the same general area or at the same campground, consider renting a storage space for your RV or tenting equipment and save the gasoline cost of hauling back and forth from home. Another thought is to consider a seasonal site. The longer you stay at a campground, the lower the day to day cost.


By Sandy from WI

Keep Camp Pots From Boiling Over

When cooking over an open camp fire, place a stick or one strand of spaghetti across the top of pot to keep it from boiling over. By Jean from Raleigh, NC

Tips For A Great Camping Adventure

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.

If you like to read, take good lanterns and battery operated lamps.

Remember to sit back and look at the stars. You never get to see them like that with all the lights in town.

Be prepared for any kind of weather. Take rain gear, warm clothes and shorts and tanks. I made that mistake once, thought it would be cold and it was 90 degrees.

A wonderful camping food if you have it is wrapping fresh fish, lemon, garlic and butter in foil and putting them in the coals in the fire. I've never tasted anything better. Works great for potatoes too, especially the small red ones.


Have a wonderful time!

By Mythi from Silverdale WA

Thirty Years Of Camping Experience Shared

  • If you are going to an extended camping trip, make reservations to insure a campsite when you arrive.

  • Pack your galley (kitchen) with non-perishable items; buy perishable items when you arrive at your destination. The Dollar Stores have lots of snack foods and canned goods to take on camping trips; if you are tent camping, store these things in rubbermaid tubs

  • Always label your tubs and zip-loc bags.

  • Take plenty of water whether bottled or you purchase a big water cooler.

  • Be organized with your camping equipment; use rubbermaid tubs to organize cooking equipment, party lights, windsocks and other "camping decorations"; use zip-loc bags when necessary for toiletries, matches, citronella candles, etc. The large Zip-Loc bags can store linens, towels and even clothing.

  • Make sure you take plenty of flashlights and new batteries; each family member should have a flashlight. Pack insect repellent for each family member.

  • Body Wash soap is more convenient than bar soap for bathing purposes.

  • Each family member should have a plastic tote for their clothes, towel and a shower tote that holds shampoo, body wash, sponge/washcloth, etc. and shower shoes are essential.

  • A container of clorox wipes is handy by placing in a zip-loc bag and is handy for wiping down public toilets and wiping down shower floors before use.

  • Cooking utensils should be store together as well as eating utensils - we use a lot of paper plates and plastic cutlery. Always have plenty of paper towels, paper table napkins, baby wipes

  • Label all camping gear with family name. We recovered stolen bicycles from a campground that was in another state because I had engraved the bicycles with name, address and phone numbers on the bicycles - I used an electric pencil. The police contacted us by phone and the bikes were recovered.

  • Rain gear is important for each family member plus tarps to cover items on picnic tables. Be sure to keep food secure because of animals that might be roaming around the campground; keep the food in your car or in a secure area.

  • A tool kit is essential for minor repairs on camping equipment; a shovel is handy to have, an ax to cut wood.

  • Take a radio or some entertainment - even a television - or a craft item you enjoy doing, books or whatever interests, hobbies that can occupy your time. Enjoy your stay at the campsite just relaxing and doing what you enjoy!

  • The campground fees for a lot of campgrounds are economical (we have camped for a week at a resort for $120 for the week!); with the other monies we took, we were able to do other things due to inexpensive lodging fees.

Enjoy camping - we have camped for over 30 years and our children have fond memories (and they are grown)!


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By SUE V (Guest Post)
July 1, 20070 found this helpful


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June 8, 20080 found this helpful

If you're involved in scouting many councils have equipment which can be borrowed. Also, don't forget about scouting families who have kids no longer in the program.For families with military connections, contact the on-base recreation department. They sometimes rent camping equipment and campers very cheap.

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

For real newbies - consider buying a used tent - You can also use an inflatable mattress in the tent (maybe you have one for guests).
For short summer trips, you could think more picnic than cooking & eat hard-boiled eggs + bagels - and sandwiches - or cold chicken & only boil water for coffee...You can use sleeping bags - but old blankets/quilts work just as well. Bring pillows from home - Have candles for sitting out(esp. good if campfires not allowed)

]Note: I have found that camping in undeveloped campsites w/o electrical hookups is MUCH more peaceful! (Otherwise you might have to contend with the sound of a generator all night.)
Bring your guitar & other musical instruments & sit around the campfire & sing & make music!
Checkout local hiking trails & try to get maps beforehand. Don't go hiking without water, something to eat, a knife and your cellphone (also bring jackets for change in weather)!

Sometimes there are nature walks & other activities in national parks - These are entertaining for kids. You might also bring along board games, cards, etc. Have a great time -even on a budget!

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April 28, 20090 found this helpful

Let's all go a little light on the paper products...paper towels, plates and the like. Please use cloth, buy used table clothes and napkins at thrift stores. Bring re-useable plates and utensils. Trees are one of the best things about camping they're worth the extra effort.

CG in Glorious Oregon

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