Over the Holiday weekend we went camping in the mountains. I’ll be honest camping is not really my thing, but it’s a cheap way to get away for a day or two. For people on a more frugal budget it’s a good vacation choice.
Our camp pitch was $21 for the night, we had enough space for our 3 tents plus a fire pit and a picnic table. Because we were in the national forest it is was pretty rustic. So no showers and a rather smelly pit bathroom.
Still at $21 it’s definitely cheaper than any hotel or Air BnB. There is also the fact that you are that much closer to nature. Of course not every part of the world is conducive to camping, when we lived in Houston it was often too hot and humid plus there was constant alligator danger. This isn’t a problem in Oregon.
It’s also May in Oregon so it’s cold at night. We thought we were prepared but it was still a bit too chilly. We wanted to make sure there were hiking trails near by as well so we had something to do. But come the morning no one really felt like hiking again so we just broke camp and left.
Although it is cheap on a nightly basis some investment is required. Tents for everyone, sleeping bags, blankets, cooking equipment. Each of these cost money, tents even at the low end are $40 or $50. If you want to get a good quality family tent that sleeps everyone with multiple compartments (maybe for several days camping) then that could be a few hundred dollars.
Sleeping bags can be bought cheaply, but if the weather is cold you are going to need good quality ones which might be $50 – $100 each. For cooking you can bring stuff from home, but it might be worth getting specific camp cooking items as the fire might not be healthy for your best kitchenware. So again some investment required.
Firewood can be pricey and not every camping area allows fires, so you might need a propane stove. Of course a good cooler is a must as you will probably need to take all your food with you, there aren’t always good grocery stores in the mountains!
As I mentioned most campsites are pretty rustic. Ideally if I was camping for longer I would want to find somewhere with proper bathrooms and showers so you would need a more structured campsite. However if you are at the more rustic places then you might need to invest a solar shower unit. Also a generator might be necessary which might be a few hundred dollars.
As I said camping is not really my thing. But it is good for bringing the family together as there is no cell phone signal so there isn’t much else to do but bond as a family. This is healthy for everyone.
Camping can be a frugal vacation choice, but it is tough to do for more than a few days. I’m not sure even in the warmest weather I could do it for more than a couple of days, but for a weekend getaway it’s definitely a viable choice. Upfront investment is required though so some thought is needed.