Summer is our favorite time to camp. We love to go for a weekend to relax and enjoy the primitive life. Camping is not always a frugal activity. Enjoying a frugal summer camping trip hacks is a list of ways I have found to be prepared and not break the bank.
After many many camping trips that cost way more than the average I learned a lesson. Less is more. Trying to rush and plan a quick weekend trip with the kids cost me more than going to a hotel. Why? Because I did not pre-plan. One thing I did learn was to write down each year in a notebook one thing I wanted to add or subtract from camping. Over the year’s this notebook has become a valuable frugal summer camping resource for us.
Packing Tips for Cooking
Camping means bringing what you have in your home, to an outdoor activity. Furthermore, I mean families that camp will be living primitively for the duration.
In this situation it is extremely important to be prepared. Running out of a necessary ingredient or dish is never good. Camp stores are overpriced by a lot, and driving to a nearby town for a store is not close.
Before leaving on a camping trip plan dinners that involve several of the same ingredients. For instance, walking tacos have ground beef, lettuce and tomatoes. That would be one dinner for us. The next night I would use leftover ground beef for fajitas. All the same ingredients, less packing, less money at the grocery store, less storage space needed.
My second tip for cooking is too include rice or beans for side dishes. Both are easy to cook in or on and open fire. They are a very filling, yet frugal side dish. Planning like items for use in meals has saved our family time and cooler space.
Frugal Summer Meal Planning for Camping
Meal planning for our camping trips is a very organized process. I have a list of my meals, ingredients that I will need, and a list of equipment needed to cook the food. For my meal planning options, grilling recipes are great for camping trips. Most of the recipes are able to be cooked over an open fire.
Next, my camping meals involve a very, very frugal breakfast. Because I have to pack milk for the kids, and we only bring 1 cooler the cold items have to fit. If we stay more than two days, then our second cooler comes along. For breakfast we have eggs, egg wraps, and bacon and eggs. Having our own chickens means that this meal was almost free.
Then, after I have my meals planned I think about essentials items for cooking. Aluminum foil is a must. This is a great product and holds so many uses in camping. Foil is available at most Dollar Trees and when done, it can be pitched. I use foil to cover the grill and avoid grease fires, baking potatoes, rice, and corn on the cob.
One more necessary, disposable, and cheap item is paper towels. Having both of these for my camping trips will make our primitive stay a little more comfortable.
Camping Kitchen Set Up Tips
Set up tips for a great camp kitchen involves a plan. Our kitchen will have a canopy so that I can prepare food. First, I set up the canopy with a table and cutting board, and a water bucket close by for hand washing.
Second, I set up our dish washing station in a corner away from the camp because it can get muddy. I like to wash the dishes, then dry and put away. For me it ensures no critters will be crawling or touching them at night.
Finally, I keep the cooler underneath the table where I prepare food prep. My camp kitchen is set up slightly like my home kitchen. I have my cold area, prep area, cooking area, and clean up area. For silverware, dishes, pots and pans I use an organizing tote that can be placed in the screened in eating area. After several critter break ins I have a pretty good prevention method.
Most of the camping utensils we use are purchased at garage sales, or thrift stores. Our canopy was found because someone just left it when we were remodeling a home, and our tents were bought on sale. Aluminum foil and paper towels are found at the Dollar Tree, so they are inexpensive. The most expensive item for our camping trips is S’mores. But we have to have those!
Frugal camping in the summer is possible, and as the years’ go buy look for sales in the off season. The best time to buy a tent is in the fall.
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