Ep13 – Camping on a Budget


When it comes to a quality holiday that won’t break the bank, camping is the ultimate solution. However, the start-up costs can make it tricky for beginners who aren’t sure if they want to invest in the lifestyle.

If you’re a newbie or favour more frugal ways, then tune in to this week’s episode of the Snowys Camping Show! Take notes as Ben and Lauren share a bunch of tips for how to save cash on camping gear and supplies.  

Listen to the full episode here:

Or you can watch the video version here:


  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 2:15 – Buy once, buy right
  • 3:40 – What to look for when choosing gear
  • 4:30 – Borrow from friends or family
  • 6:34 – Camp with others to share the load
  • 7:46 – Use what you already own
  • 9:49 – Second-hand camping gear
  • 10:25 – Affordable items from homeware stores
  • 12:18 – Preparation is key
  • 13:20 – Dehydrating & vacuum sealing food
  • 14:58 – Budgeting for fuel
  • 16:10 – Campfire cooking
  • 18:03 – Liquid fuel stoves
  • 21:26 – Caravan parks vs free/low-cost campsites
  • 24:20 – Being respectful & leaving no trace

Links to things mentioned in this episode:

Saving money on gear

Generally, we would always advise you to try to buy once, buy right. But spending a bit more on quality gear isn’t an expense you necessarily want when you’re just starting out on your camping journey and aren’t sure of exactly what you need.

Start small and purchase just one or two quality items and with the remainder, choose things that can be upgraded but still of use down the track. For example, you could invest more money into a comfortable sleeping mat and then choose an entry-level tent to get you started. Eventually, that first tent could be used by the kids if you decide to upgrade. 

Or, if choosing to invest in a more expensive tent from the get-go, focus on the quality and materials of the model rather than being influenced by the extra bells and whistles.

Borrowing gear & shopping second-hand

Before you go out and buy anything, check if you can borrow some gear from friends and family. Borrowing gives you the opportunity to suss things out before you spend your hard-earned dosh or commit to a product that may not suit your camping style.

Another option is to embrace the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, by purchasing second-hand gear from op-shops, swap and sell groups, or Gumtree.

Use what you already own

Look at what you already have before you go and buy anything, you can probably use your existing down doona/quilt, pillow, and older sheets you don’t use as much. You could also grab some old towels, crockery, and cutlery to use for camping. From there you can fill in the blanks for the rest of your essentials.

Share gear on a group trip

If you go away as a group, you can share gear and subsequently divide the workload when it comes to tasks like cooking at camp. This is a great way to keep costs down and to make the whole experience easier for everyone.

Stay at free or low-cost campsites

The price difference between staying at a low-cost campsite and a caravan park can be considerable, so download an app such as Wikicamps or grab a free camp guide to suss out a good site for your trip. Just be aware that free sites may have limited facilities and might require you to be self-sufficient, which will involve extra gear and potential costs.

It’s also important to recognise that just because something is free, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated with respect and care. Free camps across Australia are closing due to disrespectful campers leaving their rubbish behind, causing damage to the area, and/or behaving poorly.

Don’t forget to leave no trace, that way we are all able to continue to enjoy these spaces for years to come.

There are so many tips and tricks for saving money on a camping trip.

You can definitely still get out and explore, even on a tight budget. Image: Coleman.

Saving cash on supplies for camping

Stocking up on drinks and snacks before your trip will avoid temptation at the servo en route. If you pre-cook batch meals before you leave and freeze and/or vacuum seal them, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by not picking up last-minute supplies.

If you’re able to carry fuel safely, then fill up early when it’s cheap so you’re not caught out paying higher prices in remote areas.

Cooking options

Campfire cooking doesn’t require any gas refills, you will just need to get your hands on some high-quality and affordable firewood. If you are camping on a station or private property, decent wood can usually be picked up for a good price.

Liquid fuel stoves might also be a good option to consider as you’ll never have to guess how much gas you have left, and you can easily plan how much fuel you’ll need to take.

Remember the fun you have camping is free!

The most important thing to remember is that nature is free and there’s no cost to exploring the outdoors and having fun. Those memories and the experiences shared with your friends and family will last forever. Make the most of what’s around you and as always, leave nothing but footprints behind.

Thanks for listening, tune in again for next week’s episode!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of the Snowys Camping Show Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts, or Stitcher so you never miss an upload.

If you have any questions for Ben and Lauren, make sure you head over to our Facebook group and let us know as we’d love to hear from you.

Catch you out there!

About the writer...

Joined back in October, 2015

Similar posts...