Camping often involves a bit of an adventurous spirit and sometimes the desire to just get away from it all without spending a ton of money. The truth is, camping is a great way to be alone with your thoughts and sort yourself out without all of the hustle and bustle of typical everyday life. It can also be a great way to experience new adventures without spending a lot of money. However, you can inadvertently spend more on camping than you ever thought possible when you start buying all the tools and equipment that are for sale. The question is, how do you stick to a budget when camping? More specifically, are there places where you can camp for free so you don’t end up taking a hit on your bank account by paying exorbitant fees just to camp in a specific location?
Camping without a big budget
As mentioned, camping can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The truth is that you can camp on a budget if you’re careful about how you do things. It starts with finding ways to minimize your costs associated with sourcing the tools and materials needed to camp in the first place. It ends up finding specific places to camp that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to do so. Before we get too far into that, let’s briefly talk about how to get the tools and other items you need for camping without spending a whole paycheck in the process. Perhaps the most obvious answer is to borrow a tent or something along with some cooking supplies from someone you know who goes camping fairly regularly. This way you know that the items you are using are in relatively good condition and you have a chance to see if camping is really for you before you start investing significant amounts of money in things you may want to do again use or not in the future. It’s worth noting that it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying any item aimed at campers, especially if you’re new to camping. That’s mostly because you don’t know exactly what you need and don’t need until you’ve done it a few times. Therefore, it is very important that you speak to someone who can give you sound advice on what you will really need while you are out there. Most people can make it with a tent, some cooking supplies, food, water, a good first aid kit, a lantern and some blankets. From there, all you have to worry about is having enough gas to get you where you want to go. Your next big question is figuring out where to camp so it doesn’t cost you money.
Can you set up the camp for free?
When you search online for free campsites, the information you find will vary depending on the location where you want to camp. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that you want to camp for free somewhere in the United States. If you start Googling this, you’ll likely find information telling you that you can camp for free in company lots and back alleys, but common sense should tell you that’s not a good idea. Camping at a real campground is far better than just shopping in someone’s parking lot or worse, on a dimly lit back street where anything could potentially happen without another person even seeing. In that case, you should look at places like the United States Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. These are the types of sites you can use to find out where to camp for free without getting arrested or possibly getting your throat cut. It’s also a good idea to check out the state park websites in the state you plan to camp in. You may be surprised to learn of the number of state parks that have reserved areas for the public to camp, and some are free. It may require you to spend a little time in front of your computer, but you can definitely find the ideal place to camp without paying a fee if you are inclined to do so.
One app for everything
It probably won’t surprise you that there is an app that can help you find free campsites. In fact, several of these are available and the overwhelming majority of them won’t cost you anything to download. In case you are interested, you can try adding some of them to your phone so you can use different sources of information to increase your chances of finding just the right campsite for free. Apps like Compendium, HipCamp, and Recreation.gov are all free and can be used on your smartphone (Compendium is only available for iPhone users). iOverlander is another solid option that’s free to download. If you’re willing to pay for an app, The Dyrt is a great option, listing more than 500,000 free campsites across the United States. It’s free for the first 30 days, giving you plenty of time to try it out and see what you think. As you can see, camping doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re determined to camp for free, there are more than enough resources to help you find tons of places to do just that. In fact, you might quickly find that camping will become one of your favorite hobbies, especially when you can do it on a minimal budget without feeling like you’re giving up anything in the process.