CAMPING | 6 Easy Tips For Cheaper Camping Trips – How To Camp For Less

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When it comes to getting away from it all, a cheap weekend under canvas, especially during the warmer months, can be appealing. Turns out though that camping isn’t always as cheap as you might think, and it can be surprisingly easy for costs to spiral, but with our budget camping tips, they don’t need to! Skip the waffle, straight to the tips.

budget camping tips

A typical campsite can cost anything from around £8 per night for a basic grass pitch, up to around £45 a night for a pitch with an electric hookup in the height of the summer.

If you’ve got a big tent or an awning, you could well get stung again and have to pay extra. If you’re taking the dog with you, need space to park 2 cars or even if you just want a hot shower, plenty of campsites will all charge extra.

Add to this the cost of fuel, the purchase of extra camping supplies like gas for the camp stove and costs can quickly escalate.

Wild camping

So how can you ensure the cheap camping break you’re hoping for, really can be done on a tight budget? Below we list 6 things that will have a big impact on the overall cost of your camping trip, helping you to keep the cost of your break as low as possible.

Cheaper Camping Trip Tips

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1. Save On Pitch Fees

Whilst some love getting back to basics when camping or even wild camping, others prefer the convenience and facilities that larger holiday parks can provide.

Whatever your usual preference, pitching at a holiday park is generally far more expensive than pitching up in a farmers field with minimal facilities, so if you want to bring the cost of camping down, consider your campsite choice carefully.

Basic campsite
Choose a small, basic campsite to save on pitch fees

The trade-off is that low prices can often mean fewer facilities; we’ve even camped at a surprisingly large campsite once that had no facilities at all apart from a stand pipe! Of course if you want to camp even more cheaply, you could give wild camping a try, though do make sure you’ve done your research and have the land owners permission.

You can find inspiration in the book Tiny Campsites by Dixe Wills or if you’re keen to give wild camping a go, check out Wild Camping: Exploring and Sleeping in the Wilds of the UK and Ireland.

2. Don’t Camp In A Tourist Hot Spot

Many campsites will charge different prices depending on the time of year. During the high season, prices along with demand will peak. You can keep costs down by avoiding camping in the main season where possible of course, but for many that’s just not practical, especially if you’ve got kids and can only take holidays during peak times.

So if you’re tied into camping during the high season, then simply head for less touristy, cheaper destination.

Castlerigg Hall campsite
Choose your location wisely to save!

The Lake District for example continues to offer some of the most expensive camping options we’ve come across with grass pitches without EHU often costing £35 or more a night, whereas we’ve found much more reasonable prices, even in high season, at some lovely little campsites tucked away in rural Wales and in certain parts of the Peak District.

Find out How To Choose The Perfect Campsite.

3. Take Extras With You

Plan carefully what you need to take before you go as this makes it much less likely you’ll forget or run out of any essentials. If you’re staying at a campsite with its own shop, you may find that buying on site will be more expensive.

Primus gas
Take extras like gas with you to save money

Things like replacement batteries, gas bottles, logs for a campfire and so on, will all command a premium at most campsite shops, so you can save money by making sure you bring everything you’ll need, including extras with you.

Always take extra batteries and an extra gas bottle, even if you think you won’t need them!

4. Plan Food & Drink In Advance

Although dehydrated food pouches can look appealing, they are expensive and buying food from the campsite shop can often be pricey too (although we’ve camped at a few sites that provide some great value local produce), so make sure you’ve planned your meals in advance and take what you need with you to cook your own meals.

Cheap camping tips
Plan meals in advance and take everything with you

Bringing your own soft drinks and booze and cooking your own meals means you avoid the expense of having to eat out all the time and means that you won’t end up needing to pay a premium at the campsite shop.

Eating well when camping is surprisingly easy with a bit of planning, and things like omelettes, casseroles, curries and spag bol all make great, easy camping meals.

Check out the Go Outdoors 2018 Camp Cook Book for inspiration.

5. Buy Your Camping Gear Out Of Season

When the weather improves and thoughts turn to camping, it’s all too easy to remember your trusty old tent that finally failed last year, or your sleeping bag that left you shivering and just wasn’t up to scratch.

With so much amazing camping gear to tempt us at this time of year it can be tough to resist the lure.

Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Family Tent
Buying camping gear out of season can save you hundreds of pounds!

Just as the weather starts to improve and campsites begin to get busier though, that’s exactly when new season camping gear is commanding the highest prices!

Don’t be tempted, as from around April to August, you’ll be paying a premium and there will generally be less bargains around, so always buy your camping gear out of season if possible.

Sign up to mailing lists of big retailers like Go Outdoors and Winfields Outdoor and you’ll be the first to find out about any seasonal camping gear promotions they have on which is the next best way to bag yourself cheaper camping deals.

6. Borrow Camping Gear

If you don’t camp often, or perhaps if this is your first camping trip, getting all the necessary gear can be costly. As well as buying out of season, to bring the cost down even more, consider borrowing from friends or family.

Most avid campers will have old sleeping bags and even tents they no longer use sitting at the back of their garage, and more generous family members might even be happy to lend you their current camping gear, but you never know unless you ask!

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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