Some people think of camping as a way to save money and have fun at the same time, while others think it is a very costly and expensive thing to do.
But all that depends on what gear you will need, your experience level and some other things, so our question have to be how much does it cost to camp on average?
While there are many factors that can affect the total expense of camping, on average a beginner camper with no gear to start with will spend from $195 up to $400 per person per night. The cost can be lower if the camper has a gear to start with and can go higher if the camper has no experience whatsoever.
So, what I have done in this post is I have created 5 hypothetical campers all with different needs, characters and budgets. My plan is that everybody reading this will have to pick one example which is the most similar to their situation and find out how much they could spend on a camping trip.
I have posted some questions on social media the question is how much do you spend on a camping trip and I have picked the best answers and put them edited them a bit and put them at the end of the post.
Table of Contents
A quick overview
- Minimalist family camping cost(low end)
- Average family camping cost
- Luxurious camping cost(high end)
- RV camping cost
- Cabin camping cost
- They are a family of four
- Husband and wife
- Two kids
- No camping gear to start with
- They are minimalist
- 3 nights stay
- Tent camping
- Spring season
The first family they were camping in the spring season, the cheapest campground payment they got was $30 per night so they decided to stay for 3 days and they spent a total of $90 on a campground.
Explanation: Normally campgrounds charge from $25-$80 if you are tent camping, the price depends on the campground you choose and the time of the year you are camping. To lower your cost you can camp in the winter season, choose a place which is not populated and decrease your time of stay. The other thing you can do if you are tight on a budget is going for free campgrounds. There are free campgrounds you can find one and go there, Freecampsites.net and this website might help you to do that.
Family one bought a tent for $68, they are a family of 4 so the tent they bought is a four-person tent. They don’t want all their money to be spent on an expensive tent so they decided to get a decent but inexpensive tent for under $70.
Explanation: A typical 2-person tent will cost between $30 and $50 but that does mean you can’t get one for $100: while a typical 4-person tent will cost between $35 and $100 but that does mean you can’t get one for $200 and the list goes on. What I am trying to say is if you are like the first family I mean if you are on a tight budget, try to keep things unfancy and simple.
Family one has bought one 25° rated double sleeping bag for the parents for $35 and 2 small size sleeping bags for the kids for $20 each, which adds up to a total of $75 for sleeping bags.
Explanation: The price of sleeping bags varies a lot, there is one sold for $20 and there is another sold for $500 this wild price range is due to many factors from temperature ranting, size, material to the brand of the sleeping bag. What you have to know is you don’t need a $500 sleeping bag if you aren’t going to climb Everest or if you aren’t hiking through the Rocky mountains just a simple sleeping bag will do.
Family one has spent $2 per-person on breakfast which adds up to $8 for 4 people, and for 3 days it will be $24 for breakfast, While for lunch and dinner the family has spent $2.5 per person which is $10 dollars for 4 people which adds up to $30 for lunch and $30 for dinner too, which is a total of $84 for food.
Explanation: While camping food should not be the biggest priority because you might not get what you expected, the average amount of money people spend while camping ranges between $2-$10per meal it can sometimes increase sometimes decrease that depends on the camper.
Family one spends $20 on transportation, they arrived at the campground with their car with a total of $10 on gas and the same when going back to their home so they spent a total of $20 on gas.
Explanation: Transportation is not a thing to explain to, you might travel with a 1-hour drive or you might go with with a plane to your destination, so this depends from person to person what you want and your budget and it is obvious that to decrease the cost shortening the distance between the campground and your house is crucial. There might be a campground which is close to your place and there is one that is 100 miles distance far from your house better than the campground which is located in your city which is 10 miles far from your house anyways choose what is best for you.
As you know family one is a minimalist family, they don’t spend money on things that much but the whole purpose of camping is to have fun so they took somethings to spice things up, a roll-up a chessboard for $15, a soccer ball for $12, and monopoly for $13 which adds up to a total of $40.
Explanation: it is not a must that you have to buy to have fun especially while you are camping, you can keep it simple and inexpensive. You can even have fun in nature playing around if there is a river around your campground that is great even if not, just having fun in the wilderness is more than anything in my opinion.
Conclusion on the minimalist family
Family one totally spent a little over $400 for a full camping trip you can as well do that if you are careful enough on the things you can buy and always keep in mind that there are cheap things with high quality, for them it might be $412 but you can do it under $600 for sure.
- They are a family of five
- Husband and wife
- Two kids
- One toddler
- No camping gear to start with
- They like things average
- 3 nights stay
- Summer season
|First aid kit||$10|
Family two paid $50 per day for their campground, they stayed for 3 days which is a total of $150 for camping ground rental and the season they choose to go camping was summer it would have been less on other seasons.
Explanation: In summertime campgrounds charge more(including both RV and cabin rental) if you want to spend less on that you can choose other seasons, but there isn’t much difference but some dollars. you can find a decent place to camp for around $50/per day on any season and any place of your choice.
Family two has bought a 6 person tent $140, which is an average price for a 6 person tent. They bought a breathable tent because they were camping in the summer season and they wanted some ventilation in their tent.
Explanation: It is not always the case but buying a bigger tent is nice because there isn’t much difference in the price anyways it is like getting an extra room for just some extra bucks. And what you have to know is depending on the season there are some different choices you can have like in this case a breathable tent. I would say you to expect anything from $100 to $150 for a decent 6 person tent.
Second family they are a family of five and they bought on 40°+ rated double sleeping bag for the husband and wife for $60; 30°+ rated double sleeping bag for the two kids for $40 and another toddler sleeping bag for the toddler for $30 which is total of $130.
The second thing they have got is a sleeping pad which is crucial if you want the comfort of a bed in a sleeping bag. What they did was get two double sleeping pads for $55 each and for the toddler they used soft fabric as a sleeping pad.
Explanation: We have talked about the lower end of sleeping bags on the last family, here let us talk about the average cost of a sleeping bag. An average single sleeping bag is sold around $35-75, an average double sleeping bag is $50-$120. When we come to sleeping pads, they have a wide-ranging price just like sleeping bags, the high-end ones tend to be more comfortable, but generally, they are on the ballpark with sleeping bags.
Family two has spent $3 per-person on breakfast which adds up to $8 for 4 people and for 3 days it will be $36 on breakfast. While for lunch and dinner, the family has spent $3.5 per person which is $14 for 4 people which adds up to $42 for lunch and also for dinner, and they have bought some snacks for $20. total of $140 for 4 of them. Not to forget they have a toddler who needs milk and tiny food which they spent on that $15.
Explanation: The best to save money on food while camping is cooking it by yourself, not only you save money but it also is more healthy. The problem is cooking by yourself needs time and effort and you also want a stove to cook with, most people prefer this than taking packed foods especially people camp in groups, but that is your choice.
Family two used their own car to go to their destination with a total of $70 on gas, they have more than average on transportation because the campground is far from their house. They could have traveled by plane which would be less energy taking but it would be super expensive for 5 people.
Explanation: As I have said there isn’t much to talk about transportation cost, it is easy to guess for you depending on what transportation system you’re going to use and the distance you are going to travel.
Family two has bought books for $27, a bow and arrow for $73, and finally a double hammock for $50 they have spent a total of $150 on activities.
Explanation: As I have said there isn’t much to talk about transportation cost, it is easy to guess for you depending on what transportation system you are going to use and the distance you are going to travel.
Conclusion on the average family
The second family has spent below $1200 which is an average cost for beginner campers the reason I said beginner if you have the gear to start with you can spend way less than that. But assuming that you are a beginner and you like things average you can expect anything from $900-$1500.
- Family of two
- One pet dog
- No camping gear to start with
- They like things luxurious
- 3 nights stay
- Autumn season
The third family has spent a total of $210 on campgrounds, $70 per-night which is probably one of the highest campground rentals for tent camping. For the most part there isn’t much difference when we talk about campgrounds so the price difference may seem unfair but it is what it is.
Explanation: The most expensive campgrounds for tent camping are between $60-$80 in my prescriptive there isn’t much difference between the $25 camping ground and $80 so I would say you can save some money by going for the lower end. The other thing is it is not common but some campgrounds charge for pets.
The third family is camping in the autumn season so there is no much problem with temperature. the temperature is in the mid-range but it might get rainy so they have bought a waterproof tent. the tent is a 4 person tent with a shocking price of $400.
Explanation: If you were to ask me to spend my money on a high-quality tent or an expensive campground I would for sure pick the expensive tent(assuming it is also high quality because of many things; one is do you plan to go on other camping trips? if the answer is yes buying a tent which is on the high end would be great cause many cheap tents tend to wear out within a short period of use.
The third family has bought a double sleeping bag for $370 which is more expensive than most sleeping bags, and an air mattress for $35 which adds up to $405. While the sleeping bag they have got is on the higher end the air mattress is cheap.
Explanation: I did to show you you can replace the sleeping pad with air mattress, some people find sleeping pads more comfortable some find air mattress comfier their price is on the ballpark too, not much of a difference you can pick what you like. The cheapest air mattress you can get is around $35 it can go up to $300 while the cheapest sleeping pad you can get is around $20 and it can go up to $200.
Family two has chosen to eat in a restaurant than cooking by themselves. For breakfast, they were paying $15 average for each person which is $90 for three days. While for lunch, they spent a total of $120, which is $60 for each person, $20 per day finally for dinner a total of $150 which is $75 for each $25 per day.
Explanation: It is up to you if you want to cook or go to restaurants, there aren’t many restaurants in campgrounds but some minutes’ drive will get you there. What you have to know is you spend way more if you eating in restaurants than cooking yourself.
The campground they have chosen to camp is far from their house, and they went to their destination driving, they have traveled hundreds of miles and spend $150, $120 on gas and $30 for oil.
Explanation: If you are going to travel long distance make sure your car is in a perfect health, get 1 or even 2 spare tires, get a high-quality oil, check your tire pressure and some other technical stuff, I am not a mechanic so I can tell you more but anyways make sure everything is ok with your car, if that is not the case it may result in a big expense.
The third family has spent a lot on fun activities. They have bought a lightweight plastic fishing boat for $130, a hammock for $50, a truth or dare card for $15, a telescope for $250, books for $35, and a fishing rod for $20 which is a total of $500.
Explanation: If you have some extra cash laying there are a variety of things you can get depending on your interest the above examples are just to give you the idea.
In spite of spending a whole lot of money on other things it is a must to get your dogs necessity, family two has spent a total of $35, 15 on pet food and 20 on a lightweight dog bed cause obviously no one want to carry a 10-pound bed to a campsite.
Explanation: If you are going to have a pet with you, you have to know there are many things your dogs need just like you do. To have like if you are camping in a cold place dog booties and a sweater would be a compliment for your dog. The other thing is pet must be properly vaccinated, you can read this post I have written on solo camping with dogs.
With a total of $2560, this family can be said they spend more than average people, for a family of two you can expect anywhere between $2000-$3000 all your wants and needs satisfied, what you have to know is for that much money 4-6 people can go a full camping trip.
Fourth family(RV camping cost)
- Family of three
- RV campers
- Husband and wife
- One child
- They like things moderate
The fourth family are RV campers; they rented an RV for $120/per day which is $360 for 3days which is the average price of a class C RV.
Explanation: RV rentals can vary from $50/day for a travel trailer to $500/day for a class A RV. the price goes up and down depending on the season, the age of the RV, and the kind of the RV you want. If you are looking forward to renting an RV you can check rvshare for people who live in US and for Europeans you can check autoeurope. When we come to the average rental price on a summer season a decent RV will cost you $100-$200 excluding other things which you might need.
Kitchen Kit+Accessories cost
This family chose to pay for kitchen kits instead of taking their own, and it cost them $110 for the whole set. the RV rental company offers them the whole kitchen Kit for $110 no matter on how long they stay and they accepted the offer.
Explanation: Most RV rentals charge some extra money for kitchen sets, and they can also add some personal things like bed sheets, pillows, toilet paper which is a time saver for you but you can spend a whole lot of money I will leave that to you. The final things that you might spend money while when renting an RV are.
- The miles you travel ($0.35-$0.50)
- Security deposit (which is refundable)
- Pet fee($30-$60)
- Generator ($20-$50)
The fourth family has rented one of the cheapest RV campgrounds for $45/day, for three days they paid $135.
Explanation: Campground charge way more for RV spots when you compare it to the tent spots it has about double the price and there are some extra rules you have to follow when you are camping with an RV too. On average campsites charge $40-$100 for RV spots. There are also campgrounds that are only for RV campers which are a little more expensive than the state parks or national parks.
The fourth family has spent $3 per-person on breakfast which adds up to $9 for 3 people, for 3 days it will be $18 on breakfast. For lunch, the family has spent $3/per person which is $9 for 3 people which is $27 for three days and the same for dinner and finally they have bought some snacks for $20, a total of $92 on food for a family of 3.
Explanation: While camping with RV it is so easy to cook because you will have the most things you will need for cooking things like a stove, cooking pan, a refrigerator to store your meal safe and many other things so I would suggest you to cook by yourself to save some money but if you don’t want to cook for any reason you can have your meal in restaurants.
The fourth family has spent $70 on gas, the RV they rented consumes 1 liter FOR every 3miles(4.8KM) they travel, which is a little lower than average distance an RV can travel per litter, they traveled a total of 30miles(48KM) x $2.4 per liter gas= $70.
explanation: this might go up and down depending on the size of the RV, the age and some other things but you can expect 40 liters per 100 miles drive so just multiply the distance you are going to travel by the gas consumption of the RV then you know how much you are going to spend on gas.
A total of $200 spent for fun equipment; they have got a hammock for $25, hiking equipment for $150 and that all they have got for entertainment. for RV campers you can take your laptop or some video games. I don’t personally take electronics to a camping trip cause it will ruin my experience but it is your choice, I will leave it to you.
Cabin camping cost
- A woman with no camping gear to start with
- She like things average
- 3 nights stay
- Cabin camping
Cabin rentals are available in most places and in this case, the woman rented a cabin for $150/ night, she stayed for three days which is a total of $450.
Explanation: Cabin rental has mid ranging prices, on average a cabin which has rooms for 5-people will have a price of $200/per night this might go up or down depending on the season and the place the cabin is located
The woman has decided to cook by herself which is not hard cause the cabin she rented has all necessities she needs to cook, she has spent $12 on breakfast $4 per day, $18 for lunch $6 per day and $15 for dinner which is $5 per day with $15 of snacks her total expenditure on food is $60.
Explanation: Most cabins have cooking utensils provided so you shouldn’t worry about carrying a stove or firewood not even a for the most part. the more expensive one tends more fancy things like a microwave and more utensils and some other things you won’t expect while camping.
Many people think cabin camping is expensive but the reality is there isn’t much difference with tent camping or RV camping. and don’t mistake cabin camping as glamping, cause on glamping you spend way more.
Other things you might take
Besides the things I have listed there are many things you can take to your camping trip I would suggest you get a checklist so that you won’t forget anything, I have loved this checklist from rei you can take a look at it.
|First aid kit||$8|
4 experienced campers tell us how much they spend on a camping trip
I have got this information by emailing and posting some questions on Facebook group the question was”how much does a camping trip cost you on average” and these are the best answers I have got.
On average I spend $200-$500, I have almost all the gear I need which makes it easier for me to go camping, for the most part, I go for a tent camping alone in the summer season and for beginner campers I would say to choose a time with nice temperature and checking weather forecast before you plan can help too.Alek Hugh
First time I went camping with my expense was with my fiance I remember it cost me at least $1000, what I would tell for a first-time camper is you should not buy everything you see experienced campers haveG
I usually go for cabin camping, I rent cabins normally for around $180 besides the rental I spend around $500.Mariam S
I have been camping for many years and I have most things that someone would want on a camping trip, I also own an RV but I enjoy tent camping more, but if you ask me what to ask for beginner camper I would say anything from $600 to $2000 for 2 people for a 1-week trip.Jacob P