Camping is one of the best ways to go for an adventure or a family vacation without breaking the bank.
From the get-go, exploring the great outdoors with your RV will save you money on flights, hotels, or other types of accommodations. At the same time, your camping budget can quickly go up in flames if you aren’t careful or don’t plan ahead. Thankfully, there are lots of easy and simple ways to go camping for cheap – while still having the time of your life!
For all the frugal campers out there, here are our top tips for saving money on camping and how to plan a great, but cheap camping trip.
1. DIY Cooking
One of the beauties of camping is that your RV is an extension of your home, and cooking your own meals is one of the best cheap camping tips. Bring your groceries from home or visit the local grocery store to whip up some delicious camping meals for you and your fellow campers.
No need to go out for expensive restaurant meals. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy some fantastic food with an unbeatable, campsite ambiance – and have some fun in the meantime!
2. Ditch the Disposables
Disposable cups, plates, and cutlery might seem handy and cheap, but relying on one-use dinnerware for all of your meals will really add up over time.
Instead, get a camping dinner kit with real plates, cups, and cutlery. It’ll be much easier to eat with and won’t take long to wash off.
Investing in a water filter could also help you save money on bottled water in the long run. As an added bonus, you don’t have to haul around all those cases of water.
3. Don’t Forget the Basics!
Keeping your RV stocked with all the essentials you’ll need for your trip will help you cut down on unexpected expenses during your trip.
Stocking up on essentials such as bug spray, sunscreen, and band-aids at the campsite store or the local store can leave a sizable dent in your camping budget. Why pay double the price, when you can stock up at home?
You might want to keep a camping supply checklist in your RV, so you don’t forget something or run out during your trip.
4. Go Off the Grid With Solar Power
Harness the power of the sun – and save money! You can get both portable and permanent RV solar panels that allow you to power up any appliances and devices in your RV.
If you’re looking to camp remotely to save some money by getting an unserviced campsite, this is one of the best RV accessories you can buy.
If you’re wondering what the right solar set-up is for your needs, check out our tips on how much solar power you’ll need for your RV. You can also come for a visit to our store north of Calgary to get the latest RV solar advice from Bucars’ RV experts and check out our selection of RV solar panels.
5. Bring Essential Tools
Having some basic tools and gear on hand will not only help you get out of a pinch but could also save you money.
With items such as duct tape, roof repair tape, awning tape, a multimeter, a bottle jack, and a wheel nut wrench, you’re well-equipped for a few camping hacks and can do RV maintenance and repairs on-the-go. These essentials can help prevent disruption of your trip, expensive emergency repairs and damage to your RV.
If you want more tips on what to bring with you, check out our article with a complete guide to the essential RV tool kit.
6. Maintain Your RV
In a similar vein as #5 above, keeping your RV well-maintained is one of the best investments you can make.
Not only do break-downs and RV issues during your trip put a damper on your camping fun, but lack of proper RV care could lead to expensive repairs down the road.
7. Buy Used Camping Gear
We get it! There’s nothing more intoxicating than that new camping-gear smell or going browsing for brand new camping gear. If you’re looking to save some money on your camping trip, though, buying used, affordable camping gear and equipment is the way to go.
It’s never been easier to find perfectly good used camping equipment. Look for your favourite brand or the items you need online at Facebook Marketplace, local swap and sell groups on Facebook, GearTrade, or Kijiji. You can also try your luck at camping and outdoor consignment stores.
8. Look for Inexpensive or Free Campgrounds
To have a great time camping, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a high-end campsite.
We are fortunate to live in a part of the world with so many incredible and affordable camping options at provincial and national park campgrounds. Also, with the right gear and a bit of extra planning, you can even go on a boondocking camping adventure off the beaten path and save the campsite fees altogether!
Keep in mind that the best, cheap camping destinations book up fast, so make sure you’re out early to secure a site.
9. Stay Close to Home
Not venturing too far from home can help you save a lot of money on gas. Thankfully, we have some of the best campgrounds and world-class scenery in our backyard, so camping memories of a lifetime are right around the corner!
You can use Google Maps to easily compare the driving distance to different campsite options.
If you’re looking for some inspiration about where to go on a trip within a short driving distance from your home, check out our articles with the top-50 campgrounds in Alberta and the best spots for last-minute camping in Alberta.
10. Enjoy Free Camping Activities
One of the perks of going camping is having a wealth of free, incredible activities nearby.
Whether you enjoy hiking, bird watching, swimming, or just hanging out around the campfire, you don’t need to fork out extra cash to keep you and your family busy and entertained on your trip. Some campgrounds even offer free on-site interpretive programs and activities for kids.
If you’re an active camper, consider bringing along your own equipment such as mountain bikes and kayaks, so you can take full advantage of nearby trails, lakes, and rivers without spending money on rental equipment.
Also, bring board games, books, and other indoor activities, so you’re prepared for a rainy day!
Budget-Friendly Camping at Bucars RV
No matter your budget and your camping style, our knowledgeable staff are always ready to help you find the right RV and RV accessories for your next camping trip.
Come visit our store for the best camping hacks and tips you need to make your next camping adventure more affordable.