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If you’re seriously in need of a vacation but have to watch your budget, keep reading. You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy a change of scenery, some quality rest, and a wonderful break from work and school. If you’re a seasoned camper or just getting started, you can figure out a way to make it work.
Gear Up on the Cheap
Watch yard sales for cheap camping gear. Keep an eye on social media marketing and Craigslist as well. Additionally, consider alternatives from what you own. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, consider building a bedroll on a tarp that is long enough for you to sleep on.
A quality comforter lined with fleece blankets and your own pillow can keep you snuggly warm inside your tent. If you have comfy sweats and a fleece hoodie, you’re all set. Many recommend sleeping in a hat, but hats can often fall off or get tangled in long hair. A hoodie can be loosely tied and will keep your neck warm too.
Visit thrift stores and look for saucepans and frying pans to avoid scorching the bottom of your good cookware over a fire. Hit a hardware store and look for a good pair of leather gloves; these can serve as a pot holder when pulling pans out of the fire and as a way to protect your hands when looking for twigs for a campfire. While thrift shopping, keep an eye out for large tins for trash.
Plan Your Travels Around the Weather
Start viewing average temperatures in your intended destination. If you don’t have an intended destination, do a little soul-searching about what happens to your mood in the cold weather or when it gets too warm. If you’re grumpy in the cold, don’t go too high. If you’re cranky when it’s hot, plan for cold nights and enjoy a trip to the mountains. Make sure that you make use of what you already have. Depending on what you drive, a Toyota 4Runner roof top tent can be a great investment and extend your camping season.
Plan Your Meals
Have a good idea of what you’ll eat each day, then fill it out with snacks. Treat your family to the stuff you ordinarily don’t buy, from mini candy bars to salty chips. Make sure everyone in your clan has their own water bottle, and either pack in fresh water or bring in a filter for campsite water.
Don’t plan to
- find food in the woods
- hunt or fish for your meals
- pull water from streams
- cook like you do at home
Berries and mushrooms found in the woods can make you very sick, the fish may not be biting, and water from local streams can be deadly. Load up on canned goods that you can easily dump into a pot and warm up. Set up a sandwich station.
Study Up on the Rules, Including Pack-In, Pack-Out
Before you cut one dead twig from a downed tree, make sure you know the rules in your current forest. A $10 bundle of firewood for a fire at night may seem like a dumb use of your dollars, but a $40 fine for harvesting wood in a restricted area makes even less sense.
Bring quality trash bags and be ready to store them in your tent at night. Carry that tin you found at the thrift store as a way to keep garbage contained in a small area. Leaving your trash outside the tent can create a smorgasbord for local wildlife, which can create both hassles and hazards, depending on who comes to the party.