Camping Out: What is Needed to Budget an Outside Adventure

Camping is no longer popping up a simple canvas tent, roasting marshmallows over the fire and snuggling in your sleeping bag while the sounds of the forest and the stars in the sky lull you to sleep. These days it can be an even more entertaining experience with many comforts of home or it can include such events as boating, fishing and hiking across the beautiful landscape. Those who live and eat camping probably have everything they need to spend a few nights or longer in the backcountry, away from anything remotely resembling civilization. And then there’s you — the inexperienced outdoorsman.

With your inexperience comes the potential to spend too little or too much on camping equipment, plus the fact you want to be gung-ho about it all and spend a week camping in the Rocky Mountains in the early fall. Preparing too much can lead you to shed a good deal of equipment as you hike to the site. Bring too little and you’ll end up shivering in your tent as early fall snows blanket the ground. You need to meet somewhere in the middle to have a good experience. This means a budget is required. Here’s what you’ll need to include.

Site Fees

There are two types of camping sites — free and not free. There are many clearings across the country that allow a traveler to set up camp for no money at all. On the other hand, state and federal parks tend to charge a small fee in order to stay at one of their prepared campsites with extras like shower facilities. This is usually in the form of the admission fee or additional reservation charge. Those who wish to camp in backcountry areas may need to purchase a permit ahead of time in order to do so. Fees could also be required to hunt or fish on various properties. Contact your local parks and campsites to determine the costs in order to properly budget them.


You need a place to sleep in case of foul weather or angry wildlife. Some people like a canvas sheet over four poles, but you’re not one of them. You’re looking for a tent with enough room for you and your travel pals that isn’t so cramped that you’re rolling over onto each other while you sleep. In order to determine the cost and size of the tent find out who will be on the journey with you and if the tent will be used again on a regular basis. While big box outlets like Target and Walmart carry multi-person tents, you may want to try a specialty store like REI or Cabelas to pick your tent. They may cost more but experienced salespeople will be available to help you pick the right tent.

Sleeping Bags

You can skimp on the tent, but don’t go cheap on the sleeping bag. Purchase an inexpensive one and you can end up having an uncomfortable and cold time trying to get to sleep. Regardless of the time of the year the nights will generally be cooler than the days, so you want to make sure the sleeping bag is insulated and padded against the rough floor of nature. Again, go to a store specializing in outdoor activities to find price and get answers on the sleeping bag right for your adventures.

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