18 Camping Ideas Without Emptying Your Wallet

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Camping Ideas

Ah, the great outdoors. Camping can be great for every age group and ability level, and when you employ the right camping ideas, it can also be one of the most affordable vacations out there. Here are some suggestions for locations, camp games, food, etc.

Access a portion of your paycheck early to stock up on camping gear!

Best campsites for your outdoor getaway

Campers are already familiar with the usual camping sites. Besides a tent, you can try:

  • Car camping
  • Rooftop camping
  • Cabin camping
  • Hammock camping
  • Beach camping 
  • Recreational Vehicle (RV) camping
  • Camping in a floating boat 

Here are some even more unusual camp ideas for your next campsite:

1. Canoe camping

Canoe camping involves traveling from site to site. By day, you’ll pack your canoe with all your supplies before paddling to your next campsite for the night. Bonus tip: catch some fish on the way for a fresh and delicious meal.

2. Bike camping 

When bike camping, you haul your supplies on your backpack or a bicycle trailer and go to your next campsite. This option burns calories, so pack snacks for your journey.

3. Historic site camping

Some historic sites allow you to set up camp for the night. For example, the Cumberland Gap permits backpackers to set up a campsite. But check to ensure you don’t need to get a permit or pay a fee in advance.

4. Vineyard camping

Some vineyards allow you to camp in either a tent or an RV. For example, visit Hickman Family Vineyards in California for stunning views and stay for the wine tasting.

5. Cliff camping (with property safety precautions)

Adrenaline chasers might consider cliff camping, where you’ll tether your sleeping bag or hammock to the cliff’s surface. You’ll need a safety harness for protection, but you’ll wake up to a view others only dream about.

6. Glamping

Glamping is a mashup of “glamour” and “camping.” But you can learn to glamp on a budget. Repurpose household items to save money, such as turning an old suitcase into a side table or using old cushions for a luxurious vibe.

Camping tips and tricks to save time and money

Some camping ideas can save you time and money while you enjoy mother nature. Here are some tips for your next outdoor adventure.

7. Pack dryer lint and dryer sheets 

Do you want to keep your favorite camping outfit smelling fresh? Pack a few dryer sheets. These fragrant sheets will liven up your clothing, tents, and living space.

8. Use headlamps instead of flashlights 

Lights are certainly among your camping essentials, but carrying a flashlight can be cumbersome when your hands are full. Instead, opt for a headlamp that provides hands-free illumination.

9. Pitch your tent on angled ground with your head uphill 

Sleeping in the correct position will keep you from rolling downhill during the night. It will also keep the blood from rushing to your head. Thus, to avoid waking up with a headache, pitch your tent on the angled ground and rest your head uphill.

10. Pack a strap-on bottle opener

Few experiences are more devastating than reaching for a cold drink and realizing that you either forgot the bottle opener or that it’s buried at the bottom of your bag. A strap-on bottle opener will always be within easy reach for camping meals or midday snacks.

11. Learn fun camping knots 

Learn fun camping knots like the monkey knot, which looks cool but can also support a surprising amount of weight. Knots can make it easier to haul gear and maximize your supplies.

12. Make a DIY camping shower

If you want camping bathroom ideas, consider setting up a DIY shower. A bucket or portable water tank can be hung from a nearby tree, and a nozzle can supply a brief water flow for a quick rinse-off.

13. Other camping ideas to consider

Some campers can benefit from other camping ideas, such as:

  • Pack compact folding chairs that still offer back support
  • Use a camping toilet for outdoor privacy
  • Invest in an expandable faucet for a portable sink
  • Measure meals/ingredients at home to pack only what you need
  • Pack frozen juice boxes/bottles to use as ice packs
  • Bring a portable foot bath to rinse off sand/mud
  • Pack toilet paper in plastic bottles to keep it dry
  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Use glow sticks to illuminate your campsite at night

These simple ideas will keep you safe and comfortable throughout your trip and also prevent you from carrying excess supplies that get left behind.

Fun camping activity ideas

What are you going to do on your camping trip? Here are some great camping food and activity ideas for campers of all ages.

14. Engage in heart-racing activities 

Camping sites are commonly located near zip lines, rock climbing sites, or rapids for whitewater rafting. Put your skills to the test with these adrenaline-pumping activities. When you do, ensure you use all the necessary equipment for your safety.

15. Bring along boredom busters for downtime

Without access to your TV or the internet, you’ll want to bring outdoor games such as Can Jam or Baggo to pass the time. Alternatively, you can bring more miniature games and crossword puzzles for those rainy days at the campsite.

16. Get creative with your snacks

Use the following camping food ideas to make snack time even more fun:

  • Campfire cones: Oranges stuffed with chocolate, marshmallows, and treats and heated on the campfire
  • Camp donuts: Biscuit dough wrapped around sticks and cooked over the fire
  • Camp nachos: Chips and toppings made in a skillet over the fire

Combined with your classic roasted marshmallows, these treats can make for the perfect meal enjoyed around the evening campfire.

17. Try camping yoga or meditation

Yoga enthusiasts can use the fresh air to practice yoga or meditate. If family members have always wanted to learn, now’s a great chance to teach them basic positions or stretching techniques.

18. Set up a camp launcher

A camp launcher can send things like toys, stuffed animals, or water balloons into the air. This can be great fun for the kids; parents will have a blast setting it up.

Take these camping ideas on the road (or off it) 

These camping ideas can transform a simple outdoor trip into your next big adventure. Whether traveling solo or with friends and family, these campsite, food, and activity ideas will help you build memories that last a lifetime.


What should I pack for a camping trip?

Pack clothes for various temperatures, sleeping bags, and tents. Also, remember to pack extra batteries for your headlamp and tools for opening cans and bottles.

How do I choose a good tent for camping?

Select a tent that’s the right size for the number of inhabitants and choose a material rated against the elements. Tents with stakes and anchors can be easier to set up and protect you from strong winds.

How do you camp comfortably on a budget?

Bring stuff from home. Repurposing your existing supplies makes camping more manageable and less expensive. Alternatively, go camping with friends and share the cost of supplies.

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