The Secrets To Camping On Any Budget, From Tents To Glamping

camping on a budget

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Camping is a rustic alternative to a hotel vacation, but the costs of the experience can add up pretty quickly. Turns out rustic doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. There’s a big buy-in before you ever get into the wilderness for your trip. But it can be done on any budget. Here’s how.

The Regular Camper: $20 and up

camping on a budget

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Let’s say you’re camping on the reg. So you already have all the equipment. You can probably make a camping trip happen for the low price of gas and a campsite. Camping slots can run anywhere from $5 to $40, depending on the location. If you’re just heading to your local state park, that’ll be more affordable than checking out the backcountry of Glacier National Park.

No-Frills, No Gear and No Budget: $50 and up

camping on a budget

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So you want to go camping, but you have no tent and you have little or no money. You have a couple options: beg, borrow or rent.

You can borrow gear, begging your more outdoorsy friends to use their tents for your camping outing. Hopefully, you’ve got some friends like that — maybe they’d even want to join the trip. However, if you are a city-dweller who only knows other city slickers, you can rent a tent from national outfitters like REI or local spots like Outdoors Geek in Denver or Gear to Go in New York City. You’ll probably pay around $80 to $100 to rent a tent, and sleeping bags might cost you a little more (unless you want to rough it with just blankets).

You’ll still need to shell out for a campsite and transportation, but you’ll still be in better shape than trying to buy everything for only occasional camping trips.

Willing to Pay For Some Comforts: $75 and up

camping on a budget

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Campsites with access to real bathrooms are more expensive for obvious reasons. But if you’re not eager to squat or go in the woods, it might be worth paying a little more. If you have back problems and don’t want to sleep on the ground, you can up your budget to include air mattresses, extra appliances (like a stove, oven or grill), WiFi or potentially an entire camper (which you can find on Airbnb). Vanlife is all the rage, after all.

No-Expense-Spared Glamping: $100 and up

camping on a budget

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Between Airbnb, Glamping.com and local specialty websites such as Tentrr, you can find some amazing glamping opportunities. The websites have different offerings, but you can search by location, accommodations and luxury extras. Think chair swings, hammocks, s’mores and fireplaces. Camping has never been this cozy (or this expensive).

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