I recently went on a one week camping trip with some family. We had a great time – swimming in the lake, drinking cold beverages and chatting over a campfire.
While we were camping I noticed a distinct difference in my camping ‘style’ compared to others.
Camping on a Budget
We camped with a few other couples and they all had more ‘stuff’ than we did. We have a $220 tent that we purchased at a local outdoor store, and we were outsized by massive, hulking trailers and motorhomes in nearby camp sites.
No one else in our group of friends & family even had a tent – the closest in size to our tent was an 8 person tent trailer that came equipped with a king size bed. While other couples were microwaving popcorn in their huge motorhome, we were sitting by the campfire making Jiffy Pop.
We spent about $500 in total for all of our camping gear, while others spent tens of thousands of dollars.
Why Not Upsize?
Throughout the entire trip I was asked numerous times if I planned on ‘upsizing’ to a trailer or motorhome in the future.
When I explained I had no plans to buy anything bigger, they seemed shocked and I could tell they assumed we couldn’t afford a massive motorhome.
Ironically, we can definitely afford a motorhome – I just don’t want to buy one.
Why would I spend over $25,000 on something that gets used 1-2 weeks per year?
And on top of that, I’d likely have to pay to store a trailer elsewhere since our yard isn’t large enough for it. That means monthly storage fees (as well as insurance) – no thanks.
Camping – The Old Fashioned Way
Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t understand the need for all the features that most trailers have. Sure, it would be nice to watch some satellite TV and prep dinner on granite counter tops, but at what point does it not become camping?
We managed perfectly fine using the stuff we brought (and it wasn’t much).
Here’s a few ways we were able to get by with what we had:
- Instead of a full kitchen with double sinks, we used two plastic containers to wash & dry dirty dishes. This worked well and only required a couple plastic containers, dish soap and a table
- Instead of a microwave to use for heating items, we just used a campfire. It made the food have better flavor and also allowed us to chat over the fire while the food was warming up
- Rather than a flat screen TV for entertainment at night we just sat by the campfire and traded stories. It was a great time to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while and was very relaxing.
How Camping Changed My Spending Outlook
After spending a week in the woods with the bare necessities, it makes me wonder about our current spending and whether some of it is actually necessary.
While we were camping, we didn’t have a dishwasher and we were able to wash the dishes quite well in the evenings.
We also didn’t have the time-wasters that most houses have – cable TV, home theatre systems and all the latest electronic gadgets.
The trip made me wonder whether any of that ‘stuff’ is actually necessary.
Related: My Summer Cable Cut-Off
The entire time all we really had for entertainment was the surrounding area – the mountains, lake and awesome hiking trails. We used what we had nearby to have fun and pass the time – and it worked quite well.
The total cost of the camping trip was about $350 – including fuel, the occasional snacks while travelling and the campsite reservation.
I’m willing to bet that others with massive motorhomes spent nearly $1,000 simply because the cost of fuel is so much higher (along with higher camp site reservation costs and the constant need for a power supply).
We had a great time camping and the trip was cheap. I loved getting back to the basics and I don’t think I would ever want a huge motorhome. Sure, a small tent trailer might be nice in the future but for now I’m quite content with a tent.
Do you enjoy camping? If so, what type of camping accommodation do you prefer?