10 Tips for Camping on a Budget in 2023

Camping is an activity that offers an opportunity to unplug, explore the great outdoors, and create memories that last a lifetime. However, the cost of camping gear, site fees, and transportation can add up quickly and make the experience unaffordable for some. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enjoy camping on a budget without sacrificing comfort or fun.

By following some basic tips and tricks, you can reduce the cost of camping and create a memorable adventure that doesn’t break the bank. In this article, we’ll share 10 tips for camping on a budget in 2023. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the activity, these tips will help you make the most of your camping experience without overspending.

Camping on a Budget

Plan Ahead and Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates

Planning ahead is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to camping on a budget. Not only does it help you save money, but it can also help you secure a better camping spot and avoid unexpected surprises. By planning ahead, you can compare prices for different campsites, take advantage of early bird discounts, and book your trip during the off-season when prices are lower.

Additionally, planning ahead can help you create a detailed itinerary that allows you to make the most of your time while camping.

Choose Your Campsite Wisely and Opt for Free or Low-Cost Options

Choosing the right campsite can make a huge difference in the cost and quality of your camping experience. While some campsites may be more expensive, they often offer better amenities and facilities. On the other hand, cheaper campsites may require you to bring your own water or may not have shower facilities. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose a campsite that meets your needs and budget.

If you’re looking to save even more money, finding free campsites can be a great option. One way to find free campsites is to check with the local BLM office or Forest Service office. They often have information about dispersed camping options in the area. Additionally, apps like iOverlander and Campendium can help you find free camping spots near your location. It’s important to note that free campsites may not have amenities like running water or toilets, so be sure to come prepared.

Bring Your Own Food and Cook Your Meals On-Site

One of the biggest expenses when camping can be food costs. Eating out or purchasing pre-packaged meals can add up quickly, especially if you’re camping for an extended period of time. To save money, consider bringing your own food and cooking meals on-site. This can include packing non-perishable items like canned goods and dry goods, as well as perishable items like meats and vegetables that can be stored in a cooler. Investing in a portable camp stove and cooking utensils can also be a worthwhile expense that will save you money in the long run.

Not only is cooking your own meals more affordable, it can also be a fun and enjoyable part of the camping experience. Grilling over an open fire or cooking a pot of chili on a camp stove can create memories and bring people together.

Invest in Quality Gear That Will Last for Multiple Trips

Investing in quality camping gear can also help you save money in the long run. While it may be tempting to purchase cheaper gear, it’s important to consider the durability and longevity of the items. Cheaper gear may not last as long or perform as well, which can result in additional expenses down the line. Instead, consider investing in high-quality gear that will last for multiple trips. This can include items like a durable tent, sleeping bags, and camping chairs.

Additionally, purchasing gear during off-season sales or using coupons can help you save money on these higher-end items. By investing in quality gear, you can enjoy your camping trips without the added stress and expense of replacing broken or worn-out equipment.

Consider Alternative Modes of Transportation

Another way to save money while camping is to consider alternative modes of transportation. Driving to your destination may seem convenient, but it can also be expensive due to gas prices, tolls, and parking fees. Instead, try biking, hiking, or taking public transportation to save some cash and explore the area around your campsite. If you’re an RVer, keep in mind that RV prices may fluctuate. Do your research and consider all your options to find the best deals.


Camping can be a fun and affordable way to explore the great outdoors, but it’s important to plan ahead and make smart choices to stay within your budget. By following these tips, you can save money on campsite fees, food costs, and transportation expenses. Remember to be flexible with your travel dates, choose your campsite wisely, bring your own food, invest in quality gear, and consider alternative transportation options. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can enjoy all that camping has to offer without breaking the bank.