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5 ideas to make camping cheaper

POSTED: June 12, 2014 1:22 p.m.
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Here are some tips to keep your favorite pasttime more affordable.

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Summer brings a host of fun, outdoors activities. Camping is one hobby that many look forward to and spend months planning and preparing for. However, camping can often be expensive with the necessary gear and camping spot fees. Here are some tips to keep your favorite pasttime more affordable.
Camp somewhere without fees
Rather than going to a state park or national forest where you have to pay fees, find a free camping area. offers a variety of free camping areas throughout the state (although not all of the recommendations on the site are free so be sure to check elsewhere.)
Camping on Burea of Land Management public lands is free and they offer several camping areas around some national parks. The BLM has six campsites located in Bride Canyon and four sites located in the Picture Frame Arch Area near Moab. However, anyone camping on BLM land must carry out any solid human waste.
Find alternatives to expensive gear
The most expensive part of camping is often buying all the gear. A cheaper option is to just do without it. Camp on a tarp under the stars instead of buying a tent. Sit on a log or on the ground instead of buying camp chairs. Use small sticks or branches you find on the ground instead of buying roasting sticks.
These are easy and cheap alternatives to buying a lot of gear. Just be sure to check the weather forecast before planning a camping trip without a tent.
Go with others and split costs
Whether the campout is for a family reunion or with a group of friends, it's usually more fun and cheaper to camp with other people. Organize the event and designate food assignments and carpools to help split the costs.
Have one person be in charge of each meal or assign each person to bring a food item to share with the group. Divvying out assignments can lighten the burden of preparing and paying for a large amount of food during the trip. Carpooling can eliminate the need to find enough parking spots and it also saves on gas money.
Bring pre-made food
While packaged foods are very convenient, they are usually more expensive than making home-made food items. Rather than buying a lot of packaged snacks, bake some cookies and put them in Ziplock bags. Rather than having to buy hotdogs, buns and all the toppings, pre-make sloppy joes, seal them in a container and reheat them in a dutch oven or on the grill.
Look for sales at your local grocery store for s'more items — most stores do a package deal during the summer months.
Use your backyard
While this option may not be as exciting as going somewhere in the middle of nature, it is a very cost effective way to camp and it can still be fun. Pitch a tent in your backyard and roast some hotdogs or hamburgers on your grill. If you have a fire pit, roast some s'mores, but if you don't have one, you can still have a good time roasting them over your stove and then eating them outside on the lawn.
This option is also very easy to plan and requires no packing.
With these tips in mind, begin planning your next money-saving camping trip.

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