Tips for Camping on a Budget

Tips for Camping on a Budget

Camping can be expensive, but there are many ways you can save money and enjoy the great outdoors, without breaking the bank. Here are some easy tips for camping on a budget.

One of the reasons that I started The Helpful Hiker was because I found many of the established outdoor/camping blogs quite intimidating. They were always talking about expensive gear that I could never afford, therefore leaving me feeling like I should just stay at home. But I reasoned there must be hundreds of people like me. People with limited budgets and knowledge who want to get out (just maybe not with the most expensive tent or walking boots) and still feel like they belong in the great outdoors. Well, there is another way!

One of our first camping trips, featuring lots of Aldi bargains and a £99 tent!


Try Second Hand Sites

Firstly, if it is your first time camping spend as little money as possible. Try borrowing equipment to begin with as it’s very easy to spend hundreds of pounds and then you might not enjoy it and never want to go again.

However, many people do this…which brings me on to my second tip: buy from second hand sites. There is a very strong second hand market for camping gear, so it is possible to find some bargains.

In particular check out campingresources, an Ebay seller who specialises in returns from outdoor shops and the In Tents Selling Group on Facebook. (The In Tents group itself is a very friendly and welcoming bunch, full of camping advice and campsite recommendations)

Just a word of warning, selling scams are rife on Facebook and the like, so please be careful. If something is too good to be true…it probably is. There is some great advice here on how to spot scams and how to stay safe when buying online.

Shop Around

There are many outdoor shops around, both national chains and independents, so take the time to shop around and compare prices.

I recommend going to a larger store, such as Go Outdoors or Winfields Outdoors, where you can see a variety of tents and equipment set up and find out what is going to suit you best. Then you can compare prices and see where it will be cheaper, or if you can find it second hand.

I am signed up to many mailing lists (it is a good idea to have a seperate email for this) so am notified of all special offers and any discounts that are available. It makes it easier to time a big purchase if you have a discount code to use.

imageOur bargain tent and canopy in Scotland in 2014


Don’t forget the discounters

Over the years we’ve picked up a few items from Aldi, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their special buys. In the past we’ve picked up a tent tidy for £4.99, a tent light for £3.49 (even came with a battery!) and some ever useful tupperware boxes for a few quid.  We’ve also got chairs, walking socks, waterproofs, a bucket bbq and a hanging wash bag.

Shop Out of Season

Always keep an eye out for special deals throughout the year as it’s generally cheaper to buy camping equipment out of season.

A good time to look for a new tent is in the Autumn or Winter when many lines will be discontinued and stores will be looking to get rid of stock before the new arrivals in the Spring.

Do you have any money saving tips to help you camp on a budget? What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found?

Are you looking for more camping tips?

The Beginners Guide to Camping Etiquette

Top 10 Camping Tips for Beginners

How to Survive Camping with a Toddler



  • sharon sharon March 08, at 10:36

    Thanks for your amazing advice on camping with a budget. I was almost put off as I had no gear. I asked around and managed to buy second hand items. Saved a ton!!!

    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker March 08, at 12:31

      It can be hard if you have nothing. We’ve added bits and pieces over the years and managed to acquire lots. It’s definitely possible on a budget!


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