The perks of fresh air, hiking, and sleeping under the stars can do you a world of good. Here are a few tips to boost your financial well-being, too.
If you are prepping for your next outdoor adventure or considering the relaxing benefits of taking to the forest for a few days of "roughing it," you'll figure out that there are several costs associated with getting away from it all. If you're going in style with your camper or RV, this won't come as much of a surprise.
The perks of a few days of fresh air, hiking, and sleeping under the stars can do your body and mind a world of good, but here are a few tips to make sure when you pop the tent or park your mobile home-away-from-home, you are boosting your financial well-being, too.
1. Avoid the peak camping crowds
You may think of summer as camping season, but depending on how far north you live, camping season can run well into autumn or even all year. Many campgrounds lower their prices after Labor Day (and before Memorial Day). If you can get away from it all when the rest of the country is not getting away, you might be able to find better rates and quiet surroundings.
Depending on the location, some campgrounds will close for the coldest months of the year or do not offer basic amenities, such as running water. Be sure you check out the services during your off-season escape and plan for the location.
2. Take advantage of off-season deals
If your gear could use an upgrade, take advantage of overstocked outdoor outfitters, especially when camping equipment may be out of stock on many retailer shelves. Keep an eye out for sales in specialty retails and online at stores like REI, Cabela’s , Sportsman's Warehouse, and Backcountry Gear. who offer camping gear sales and clearance prices regardless of the weather. You'll not only save money, you'll be ready for next year’s first spring excursion while everyone else is still dragging out and cleaning last year's tent and sleeping bags.
3. If you’re backpacking, really consider what you need to bring
An enormous part of camping’s appeal is making the most of what the land can give you. Is it necessary to bring your own firewood and giant lawn chairs? Don’t get drawn into buying a new camping accessory that isn’t crucial to your trip.
In turn, don’t be stingy with the necessities. If the terrain is treacherous bring your lantern; if it’s cold, bring your thermals. Be smart about your needs may be at different times of the year or in different hiking conditions and pack accordingly.
4. Camp with friends
This may be a bit obvious, but traveling in a group allows you to divvy up the financial responsibilities. You can carpool, share gear, and split the set-up and breaking camp chores. Plus, there’s the obvious boon to individual safety when camping in a group.
Many campgrounds offer group sites, but they may also allow multiple tents at a single site. Check the guidelines at each location to make sure you are following the rules and having fun together.
5. Bring water in reusable bottles
Pack what feels like enough water (if it is not readily available), then pack a little more. Bring it in refillable containers so you can make use of the water sources around you. Many national parks now feature refill stations to eliminate the need to recycle and haul away single-use bottles. Isn't it easier to avoid wasting money if you can find it for free?
If you do need bottled water, opt for gallon jugs that you can refill at home and bring with you. Helpful tip: If you're tent camping, you can even use them to shine a flashlight into and illuminate your space rather than a large lantern. However you plan for your water needs, if you’re buying bottled water, you’re actually making more work for yourself and the environment you are enjoying.
6. Camp for free
This means camping at free camping sites, with limited amenities, or rough-necking it a bit by making your own campsite. All the Bureau of Land Management locations and U.S. National Forests and Grasslands are open for dispersed camping. These sites require more preparation, but they also offer beautiful, exclusive scenery and experiences.
You can also find free campsites at freecampsites.net including city parks and private campgrounds. Many of these locations are compiled by previous campers, so check the dates of the comments to make sure the site is still operational at other times of the year.