Tips and tricks for camping on a tight budget this summer

Jul 12 2018, 11:14 pm

Get ready for OK Times with the Okanagan Spring Summer Pack.

In Canada, we have the best backyard in the world. Most of our country is untamed wilderness, and it’s glorious to behold.

Camping is one of the best ways to spend a weekend in this gorgeous nature during our short summers, and it definitely doesn’t have to break the bank.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to keep the bank account safe while taking some much-needed time off this summer.

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Skip the campground, camp for free

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Lots of people in Canada know people who own a property that would be great for camping. Some actually have cabins, or hunting camps, but others have farmhouses on large properties that are just a short drive away from a lake or hiking trails.

Alternatively, there are a few campsites that are entirely free to use, as is camping on crown land. Of course, these won’t be as well maintained or convenient to get to as an established campsite, but hiking to get to your site is a great adventure if you’re up to it.

Borrow gear, or buy it used

Maybe this is the first summer you’ve ever seriously considered camping. If that’s the case, the idea of going out and buying all brand-new camping gear can be really daunting, and if you have any money-sense, it should be.

Gear can get really expensive, really fast. In this case, the tendency is often to buy things on the cheaper side, but that’s a terrible idea.

Buying cheap gear can mean buying new camping gear every single year, or even cutting your trip short because your tent somehow developed a serious hole in the floor on the first night.

Often, people selling their camping gear are doing so because they bought something new, and who needs to own three six-person tents? Stay sharp when buying used, of course, but it’s a great way to get high-quality gear for cheap.

Another option is borrowing gear from someone you know who has a lot of what you need — most people will be willing to part with their camping gear for a weekend or so if it would just be taking up room in the garage otherwise.

Prepare camping food beforehand


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Buying food while you’re on the road is a really fast way to empty your wallet, especially if you’re buying pre-made sandwiches and trail mix.

If you prepare your own food before you go and pack it away, you can save a lot of money, and ensure the food you have is the type of food you’ll love.

Here’s a list of cheap camping food ideas:


  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Eggs


  • Sandwiches: bread usually doesn’t pack very well, so consider pita bread or wraps
  • Fruit
  • Soups


  • Ramen noodles
  • Instant rice and pasta
  • Hot dogs
  • Tin foil dinners


  • Raisins and peanuts
  • Fruit
  • Jerky


  • Cookies
  • Pudding
  • Muffins
  • Smores

Inexpensive things to do while camping

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So, you’ve packed up your supplies, piled into the truck and you’re out on a beautiful campsite. Now what?

There are lots of fun things to do while you’re camping that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

  • Most campsites are near hiking trails, and hiking costs nothing at all (except for a bit of sweat).
  • If your campsite is near a body of water, you can go for a swim, take a trip out on the water with a canoe, or go fishing — provided you own (or borrowed) the proper gear.
  • Mountain biking is another popular thing to do while camping, and it’s a great way to see the area. It’s kind of like a high-intensity hike.
  • You can always bring boardgames, frisbees, playing cards, or a ball for leisurely games of catch.

Ultimately, camping is all about relaxing and spending time with friends and family in the great outdoors. How you go about that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

With all this in mind, camping season is getting shorter with every passing day. Get out there and explore this beautiful country we call home!

Lucas TaylorLucas Taylor

+ Great Outdoors