We had our first camping trip of the year, at our favourite site, over the weekend. We had a whale of a time as usual and I’m high on the experience, raring to go with a post about saving money on life under canvas.
Eight of us spent Saturday lying in the sun reading and chatting, cooking up succulent food, exploring the countryside around the camp and playing frisbee. We’re going again soon, this time twenty of us including a completely uncontrollable herd of small children.
Here’s how we keep it real and minimise the costs.
- If it’s your first time, there’s no need to go mad buying all the equipment under the sun. Beg and borrow the basics instead of spending a bomb on an activity you might not enjoy
- Find a campsite close to home – our favourite is only eight miles away over the South downs but it might as well be on the moon. Emotionally it’s a million miles from everyday stresses and worries, completely peaceful and 100% refreshing. If the weather turns nasty we just pack up and nip back. Stay close to home and you spend less on fuel, too
- Go for short breaks. It’s cheaper. And we find a night or two under canvas just as relaxing as a week away in the sun, if not more so because it’s all so easy and basic and mellow. We aim for five or so weekends a year
- Take your own booze. The pub near the site we stayed at charges a fiver a pint so for us, it’s worth investing in a coolbox. Try out Robert Dyas discount codes – they sell loads of camping and picnic stuff
- Travel light and save even more on fuel. Work out exactly what you’ll need and resist the temptation to take everything but the kitchen sink. One set of plates and cutlery is fine, just wash them. Plan meals and avoid waste by NOT cramming the entire contents of your fridge into the car!
- Take things like Boules, frisbees, badminton and rounders to keep everyone entertained instead of spending money getting to (and paying for) entertainment
- A cheap tent is all very well, but the cheaper they are the sooner they die. If you love camping, invest in a good quality tent, one that’ll last you for life. We went through three cheap tents in 12 years before we finally laid out £300 for a durable, beautiful, tough canvas bell tent that’s built to last forever