Camping by the Numbers: How Much Does it Cost to Camp?
Articles about the outdoors in the home Camping-Related Articles When it comes to camping, the numbers tell the story: how much does it cost to camp? Kim Dinan, Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 The best thing about camping is getting down to the fundamentals and spending quality time with friends and family outside in nature. However, for first-time campers, the expense of acquiring needed camping equipment might be prohibitive, especially given the wide variety of alternatives available today. We did the figures on three distinct camping situations to give novice campers an idea of what it truly costs to camp in 2018.
Keep in mind, however, that cost varies even more depending on the part of the United States you choose to camp in, when you visit, and how many people you bring with you.
This is what it costs to go camping in America in 2018.
1. A basic tent campsite on a non-holiday weekend is available. Booking a non-electric tent campground on public property for a weekend camping trip is an economical option for a camping getaway. When camping at state parks, keep in mind that some (depending on the state) may need you to purchase an annual park pass in order to access the park. We recommend Mount Pisgah Campground in North Carolina ($20 per night for two nights = $40). 2. The most reasonably priced tent Tents are available in a variety of sizes and at a variety of price points.
- The Coleman Sundome 4-person tent ($71.99) is our top selection.
- The most affordable sleeping bag It is possible to forego the sleeping bag entirely and simply bring sheets, pillows, and blankets from home (for a cost of nothing).
- A ground pad or an inflatable mattress Ground pads or air mattresses are commonly used by happy campers to provide back support.
- The ALPS Mountaineering Foam Camping Mat ($16.35) is our top selection.
- Cooking materials for the campsiteWhile camping cook systems might be pricey, you can keep costs down by carrying pots and pans from home and cooking over the campfire.
- Camping equipment The only thing you’ll have to pay for out of pocket is firewood and matches (around $6).
- The use of illumination As soon as the sun sets, you’ll need a means to find your way about in the dark.
- Camp chairA camp chair is vital for ensuring your comfort while at the camp.
- The Coleman Broadband Mesh Quad Camping Chair ($24.95) is our top selection.
- Although they are not long-lasting, a Styrofoam cooler will suffice for the weekend in a situation.
9. Engage in some form of activity Take advantage of the free day by trekking, wading in water, or simply sitting around the campfire ($0). For the most affordable lunch conceivable, catch and cook a fish from a local river ($0, provided that no fishing license is needed).
Total cost: $178.76
1. Camping location with electricity for a long weekend Standard electric campsites are large enough to accommodate a modest pop-up camper or a small tent (use that electricity to charge your cell phone or blow up your air mattress). On holiday weekends, charges for electric sites are slightly higher, as are rates for other types of sites. Choose Ainsworth State Park in Oregon ($26/night for two nights = $52) as your destination. 2. A tent in the middle of the price range Lighter weight, more durable, and frequently easier to erect tents in the mid-range price range will be found in comparison to the cheapest tents on the market.
- It is recommended that you choose synthetic bags for automobile camping since they will keep you warm even if they become wet.
- In addition to providing warmth and comfort when camping, a self-inflating air pad is an excellent upgrade from a foam ground pad.
- Sleeping bag The REI Co-Op Camp Bed 3.5 ($129) is our top selection.
- Cooking utensils for the campsite A two-burner cook stove that runs on propane is ideal for preparing food and boiling water fast and simply when camping in the great outdoors.
- The Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($39.95) is our top selection.
Camp chairA mid-range camp chair is spacious and comfy enough to sit on for an extended period of time.
The Coleman 28-Quart Cooler ($21.36) is our top selection.
Engage in some form of activity Hikes conducted by rangers and other naturalists are a terrific opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem, and (as an added bonus!) they’re generally completely free.
MealFreeze-dried camping meals are a convenient and quick way to eat while on the trail.
Total cost: $664.70
1. Renting an RV for a weekend Rent a huge RV with all of the amenities if you want to camp in luxury (kitchen, shower and bedding). Our recommendation: Cruise America (about $600 for a three-night minimum rental). Camping spot with RV hookups at a high-end RV park (optional). Private RV resorts have a wide range of amenities, from heated pools to wellness facilities. Normandy Farms in Massachusetts is our top selection. The cost is $186 for two nights at $93 each night. 3. Bedsheets, blankets, and pillows (optional).
- A hand crank lantern will illuminate your path through camp and may be refilled either with or without power.
- Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 ($49.99) is our top selection.
- Our top selection is the Yeti Tundra 65 (which costs $349.99).
- Engage in some form of activity With everything from guided walks to white water rafting and zip lining, there is no shortage of outdoor thrills to be experienced in the great outdoors.
10. MealForget about cooking over an open fire in the wilderness. Gourmet restaurants may be found in camp lodges all around the nation, where guests can dine in elegance. The Roosevelt Lodge (about $50 per person) is our top option.
Total cost: $1,692.93
Is it time for you to embark on an outdoor adventure? Discover the top camping spots in America.
What Is The Average Cost Of Camping?
Where can I find out what the average cost of camping is? There are a variety of camping alternatives available, and not every campground is the same cost. You may be able to choose the best campground for your budget if you are aware of the price range that is feasible. In this case, what is the average cost of a campground? Camping is not usually provided at no cost. Although there is a free alternative known as boondocking, which entails camping without any hook-ups or utilities, it is not recommended.
What Is The Average Cost Of A Campsite?
The average cost per night is determined by a number of factors. It varies from state to state and from campground to campsite and might be confusing. A variety of factors can influence the cost of a single night’s camping accommodation. If you want to camp, you may choose from many different options including resorts, state parks and national parks as well as county parks and private campgrounds. So, where do you want to go camping next, and how much do you expect it to cost? Costs for various forms of camping will be discussed in further depth further down in this section.
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Factors That Affect The Campsite Expense
As you continue to read, you’ll see that we include some figures to assist you better comprehend the fees and charges. When we go into the explanations, we take the following elements into consideration.
Booking incurs costs, which are added on top of that. There is an additional price for using Reserve America, which is utilized to make camping reservations at national parks as well as many state park reservations. This fee is non-refundable. When renting a campground, you should also take into consideration the cancellation costs and rules. Keep in mind that campgrounds that may be reserved are sometimes fully occupied 6 months before the date, especially given how popular camping and RVing has become over the past few decades.
Although there is no guarantee that you will be able to acquire a campground until the day of your arrival, my best advice is to visit during the week rather than on the weekend.
Campground Cost Based On Season
There are peak and off-peak seasons for every place on the planet. Because of the increased demand for camping in Florida during the winter, charges may be higher. The good news is that during the off-season, there is a chance that rates will be far less expensive!
Campground Cost Based On Campsite Type
Pull through campsites are considered more convenient since you will simply have to drive into and out of your campground, rather than having to bother about disconnecting and reconnecting your RV.
Pull throughs are typically more time consuming than back-ins. So, if you have a large RV and vehicle setup, a pull-through may be the best option for your situation. For these reasons, pull throughs are typically more expensive than back-ins when compared to other options.
Cement pads vs Grass or Gravel
Obviously, concrete is the greatest material for an RV pad or any vehicle for that matter, as it is the most durable for driving and parking on. If the campgrounds are paved, they are also extremely likely to be on a flat surface. As a result, campgrounds with concrete pads are more expensive than campgrounds with grassy pads.
Included In The Costs
What is included in the cost of your camping stay? Are you looking for full hookups, water/electric, or are you looking for dry camping? Keep in mind that complete hook-ups imply that you will have access to electricity, fresh water, and sewer at your campground. Now, if you choose to stay in W/E, you will only have access to fresh water and power at your campground, and you will be need to relocate later in order to use a dump station. What kind of facilities will you have at your disposal, such as a shower and flush toilets?
Consider the fact that inclusions like this have an impact on the campsite’s fees before making your decision on whether or not to reserve a campsite.
Possible Additional Costs
Most campsites only include one car in their prices, so adding a second vehicle would result in an increase in costs. If you drive a motorhome and tow an additional car, most rental companies will not charge you an additional vehicle fee. If, on the other hand, you drive your motorhome separately from your additional car, as we do with our Class C, you may be required to pay an additional cost. Although campsites are not necessarily paid per person, there is virtually always a limit to the number of people who may be accommodated under the pricing structure.
A typical campground will accommodate up to 2 people, however there are plenty that will accommodate up to 6 people as part of the base rent.
Average Cost of Campsites – Costs included
RV Resorts, which are not to be confused with RV parks, are luxurious facilities in beautiful settings. This is one of the reasons why staying in an RV Resort is more expensive than staying in a typical park. There are even nicer resorts that are classified as “luxurious” among these pricey establishments. According to our data from 12 RV resorts throughout America, the average cost of a campground during the low season is $40-$50, while the average cost for a campsite during the high season is $60-$100.
Back-in campsites are priced between $35 and $40, while pull-through sites are priced between $50 and $65 per night.
Average Cost – Private Campgrounds
There are several campgrounds to choose from, both public and private in nature. For example, one of the most well-known is the KOA Campground, which can be found in virtually every state. Private campsites such as these, in contrast to RV resorts, allow tent camping as well. Tent camping costs around $30 per night, with rates as low as the mid-$20s during off-seasons and as high as $40 per night during peak seasons. For RV campgrounds, on the other hand, prices are more variable. Standard RV campsites range in price from $35 to $50 per night.
For example, because of their convenient location and high demand, campsites in Florida cost between $90-$130 per night in the summer and winter.
The cost of other campsites is around $50 during low season and $60 during peak season. The usual fee for each additional person is $3-$4 for children and $5-$10 for adults, depending on the age group. You’ll have to pay between $5 and $8 for each additional car.
Average Cost – State Park Campgrounds
Due to the fact that there are more than 10,000 state parks spread around the country, finding one is simple. Furthermore, it is a reasonably priced area for some enjoyable camping. Fortunately, state parks provide a variety of camping options, including tent camping, rustic camping, and RV camping. The following are the typical rates for a stay at a state park campground in California. A tent campground in a state park typically costs between $20 and $30 per night. During high season, the fee might approach the mid-thirty-dollar range.
For example, in more costly places such as Delaware on the East coast, the range starts at $40 and goes up to $59 during peak season.
Additionally, it charges $4-$6 for each additional car.
Reservation costs for state park campsites range from $6 to $9, with cancellation penalties ranging from $8.50 to $10.
Average Cost – National Park Campgrounds
Full-time RVers are welcome to spend a few days at National Park Campgrounds while taking use of the park’s amenities. Their prices are typically less expensive than those of private RV parks and RV resorts, resulting in a significant reduction in campsite fees and costs! Keep in mind that a yearly National Park Pass does not cover the cost of camping. As a result, you’ll still need to make a separate payment for that service. In order to enter a National Park, you will be required to pay an entrance charge, which may be per vehicle or per person.
- You may purchase a National Park pass from REI by clicking here.
- The typical cost of a campground is $15-25, with backcountry campsites costing significantly less (about $10).
- The charge for making a reservation is generally $10.
- Visit this page to learn more about camping in National Parks and other valuable information.
Tips To Make Your Camping Trip Cheaper
I hope that the comprehensive analysis of the cost of camping provided above has given you a better understanding of what to anticipate on your next camping trip. Even while we find ourselves returning to our favorite camping areas on a regular basis, it’s also fun to discover new locations. Look over these suggestions if you’re seeking for some suggestions on how to keep camping costs as low as possible. 1. Discounts for week-long stays may be offered at many private campsites, and monthly rates are frequently available.
- The location of any campsite has a significant impact on its costs, and areas such as California are far more expensive than, example, RV parks in Boise Idaho.
- Keep in mind that state parks charge lower admission costs to locals.
- If you’re thinking about staying at a National Park Campground, you should be aware that having an Annual Park Pass will save you a significant amount of money on all of your costs.
- If you have an Annual Park Pass, this will be significantly less expensive for you.
- Explore the possibility of boondocking and camping for free on BLM land, National Forest land, or other boondocking sites.
The cost of a campground might be pricey — or it can be inexpensive.
Choose between investing in a premium RV resort or camping in a typical park where the cost is less expensive if you want to save money.
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How Much Does It Cost to Start Camping?
If you’ve been considering about getting into camping, you might be wondering how much it would cost you to get started. Many people perceive camping to be a low-cost activity, but is this actually true when you start from the beginning? Starting a camping trip might cost as much as $500. This is due to the fact that you will need to purchase necessary equipment such as a tent, backpack, hiking boots/clothing, and a sleeping bag, among other things. You’ll also need to purchase food and beverages, as well as pay camping costs.
It is discussed in this article if camping is an expensive pastime and what equipment you will require for your first camping trip.
Is Camping an Expensive Hobby?
When most people think of camping, they envision sleeping outside in a tent with just the most basic of facilities. As a result, there is a common belief that camping is a low-cost hobby. However, it is possible that this is not the case. As you can see, the cost of camping varies significantly based on things such as:
- The length of time you intend to spend camping
- Your camping site as well as your activities How much equipment you already have and how much more you’ll need to buy
There are also other styles of camping, each of which has its own set of expenditures to consider.
The cost of RV campsites varies greatly based on the style of RV camping and the location of the campground. Standard RV campgrounds, on the other hand, price between $35 and $50 per night. Other options for RV camping include:
- Pull-through campsites are around $50-$65
- Sites with concrete pads are approximately $50-$65
- Resort RV campsites are approximately $40-$50 during the low season and $60-$100 during the hot season.
In high-demand places like the oceanside, campgrounds may charge up to $100 per night, while RV camping fees in state parks can range from $30 to $45, depending on the site. The cost is determined on whether you require partial or total hookups.
The cost of a typical campground ranges from $12 to $45 per night on average. This varies depending on whether you are utilizing a simple site with a fire pit or a full-service site with all of the necessary facilities. Many parks also offer an annual pass, which ranges in price from $30 to $80. Note that some campgrounds charge per family and night, while others have a flat cost that covers six to ten people per night.
Backpacking entails carrying all of your belongings on your back for the length of your outdoor journey, including food and water. The charges vary from person to person and are dependent on your location as well as the sort of journey you take. However, just like camping equipment, hunting equipment is not inexpensive. You may need to stop for a warm meal, spend the night indoors, or restock on essentials at various points along your journey. The majority of backpacking trips, on the other hand, include enroute camping areas or impromptu campsites beside rivers or beneath trees.
Is it possible to go camping in a car? Yes, it is possible. Some campsites provide automobile camping, which includes a ready-made campsite complete with a fire pit, picnic table, water, and even power in some locations.
Indeed, many national forests permit rustic camping, which is parking your automobile outside of a recognized campsite for up to 16 days without being charged. There are no utilities, such as bathrooms or running water, available, however.
Required Gear – Tent Camping at a Campground
If you are planning your first tent camping vacation in a campground, you will need to acquire a number of goods before your trip. The following is a comprehensive list of the equipment you’ll need as a first-time camper, with the most expensive things listed first.
- Outfitting oneself includes hiking clothing and shoes, a sleeping bag, and rain gear. Tent, backpack, cooking gear, cooler, and first-aid supplies are all necessary equipment. Items relating to food and drink
- Fees include: camping expenses, park day passes, and other fees. Transportation
- Kayaking, fishing, boating, and card games are some of the activities available.
Overall, the amount of money you spend will be determined by how inventive you are in purchasing your equipment, which is the most expensive thing. Using your imagination, hiring, or borrowing some of the items you require can allow you to significantly cut your expenditures.
Average Tent Campsite Cost
In general, well-maintained campsites are more expensive than unmaintained campgrounds. As previously said, popular parks have higher maintenance costs, and as a result, they demand higher admission rates. Camping entrance prices may also vary depending on the camp site, with certain camps providing services for free.
Private Camping Grounds
Tent camping is available in private campsites, such as Koa Campgrounds, throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Furthermore, they provide amenities such as a fire ring, picnic tables, bathrooms, and showers for its guests. The costs are generally $30, although they can drop to the mid-$20s during off-seasons and go as high as $40 during peak seasons, depending on the season.
National parks are the most safe places to camp, despite the fact that you may camp in any random forested area. Try to find the lesser-known parks in your area and camp in their free campsites if possible. The best time to visit is during the off-peak season, when there is plenty of available room. You may also have a look at the local municipal parks in your neighborhood. It is possible to camp at the home provided you agree to assist with cleaning the park when they host an event there on the weekend.
State Camping Grounds
There are thousands of state parks located around the country that provide camping facilities that are affordable. They also have camping options for tents and RVs as well as other options. The majority of state parks charge a daily fee, while others, such as those in Ohio and Illinois, do not charge an admission fee. Every visitor to the park must purchase a day-use permit, although minors under the age of 12 are admitted free of charge to the camping areas. During the peak season, the typical charge for a tent campground ranges between $20 and $30, with some sites charging as much as the mid $30s.
The price might range from $6 to $9, depending on the attractiveness of the park and the services it offers.
Other fees may apply, such as:
- $2-$5 per additional person (over 6)
- $4-$6 per additional vehicle
- $8.50-$10 cancellation fee
- $2-$5 per additional person (over 6)
- $2-$5 per additional vehicle
- $2-$5 per additional
It is important to note that charges are higher on weekends and during vacation periods. Additionally, if you intend on camping in a particular state park on a regular basis, purchasing an annual park pass is more cost-effective.
National Park Campsites
The yearly National Parks pass, which costs $80, gives you unrestricted entry to more than 2,000 federal recreation places. This covers admission to any national parks that charge an entrance fee on a regular basis. Additionally, several national parks provide fee-free camping opportunities at various times throughout the year.
However, this waiver does not cover any of the expenses associated with amenity or activity use. In this case, you will be responsible for paying the standard rates for camping, special trips, and transportation. These are the ones:
- Camping fees range from $15 to $25 ($10 for backcountry camping)
- Group campsites range from $65 to $80
- And a $10 reservation fee is required.
The fact that camping costs rise by an additional $5 to $10 per night during the busy season should not be overlooked either. So, if you want to save money, try camping during off-peak season.
Where to Buy Affordable Camping Gear
Also worth mentioning is that during the peak season, camping costs increase by an extra $5 to $10 per night. In order to save money, it’s a good idea to camp off-season.
Additional Costs to Consider Before Your First Camping Excursion
Aside from the necessary camping equipment you’ll need to purchase, there are a few other expenses to keep in mind:
- Fees to cover the use of an additional car
- In certain campsites, an additional person cost is charged (although many campgrounds include a maximum of 2 or a maximum of 6 people in the base rate)
Lastly, some last thoughts When you consider the hundreds of minor charges that might add up to a substantial sum, starting a camping trip may not be a low-cost proposition. However, if you prepare ahead of time and save expenditures wherever feasible, you may find yourself paying less money than you planned in the long run. Furthermore, after you have purchased all of the necessary equipment, camping becomes a lot more economical hobby that you will be able to enjoy for many years to come. Camping’s next stop is: Camping Essentials from the Dollar Tree Tent heaters that run on batteries?
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How Much Does It Cost To Camp In Illinois?
The cost of camping in Illinois varies greatly between state parks and private RV-focused campsites, making it difficult to gauge how much it will cost you to camp in Illinois. Because you did not budget for all of the expenditures, you do not want your campground taken away from you! Extensive study has been conducted on our inventory of over 300 campsites (and increasing!) in order to better understand the camping costs that you will experience so that you can plan your next vacation!
According on the sort of campsite you choose, you may expect to pay between $15 and $30 per day for your camping space. The cheapest choice for car campers in Illinois is the Illinois State Parks, which charge $8 per night for car campers. Private campsites, on the other hand, start at around $20-$25 per night and include facilities such as Wifi.
Is there an Illinois State Park Camping fee Senior Discount?
Seniors 62 years and older are eligible for a 50 percent discount on camping fees in Illinois state parks on Monday through Thursday. You must be a resident of Illinois in order to take advantage of the discount offer. More information and limits may be found in the discount section below.
Factors affecting the cost to camp in Illinois
On Monday through Thursday, seniors 62 years or older may take advantage of a 50 percent discount on camping costs in Illinois State Parks. A resident of Illinois is required to take advantage of the discount. For further information and limits, please see the discount section below.
Cost to Camp in Illinois State Parks
|Classification||Ameneties||Best Suited Equipment||Daily Price|
|AA||Showers, Electric,Sewer||RVs, Campers, Tents||$25 – $35|
|A||ShowerElectric||RVs, Campers, Tents||$20 – $30|
|B/E||Electric||Campers, Tents||$18 – $20|
|B/S||Showers||Campers, Tents||$10 – $12|
|D||No Vehicle Access||Tents, Backpacking||$6|
Private campsites will also typically adjust their prices based on the sort of campsite you choose or the exact equipment you’ll be bringing with you (more on that later). A more basic name scheme is more likely to be utilized by private campers than the vague AA, B/E, and other designations used by the Department of Natural Resources.
Over the holiday weekends of the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, the state parks in Illinois charge a somewhat higher rate for their premium campsites (AAA-Class) than they do on other weekends. Expect to spend an additional $10 per day during certain weekends. Depending on the season, private and local county operators may have different rates than public operators, so double-check their websites or reservation information to be sure.
As an example, the Cook County Forest Preserves in Chicago charge higher nightly rates in the summer, which are $15 greater each night than in the winter.
If you aren’t being charged by the camping type, most campsites charge different costs for RVs than they do for simply tent campers. If you are simply driving in and erecting your tent, you will most likely not have to worry about any additional expenses. Tent camping is, without a doubt, the most affordable alternative!
Residency (For Public Campgrounds)
Non-residents must pay $30 to enter Blackwell Forest Preserve, which costs $20 for locals. Non-residents pay greater fees than residents in several county forest preserves, which is a result of the county’s zoning laws. For example, non-county residents pay $10 more at Cook County’s Bullfrog Lake than those who live in the county. While this shouldn’t have an influence on your camping experience at private campsites or state parks (save for the possibility of qualifying for senior discounts), keep it in mind when looking at costs and creating a budget!
The Cost To Camp in Illinois
Without further ado, we have determined the average cost to expect at each campsite type in Illinois based on our thorough study on Illinois Campgrounds around the state:
|Campground Operator||Average Price Range||Note(s)|
|Illinois State DNR||$8 – $20||Taken from tent and tent + electricity site prices|
|City/Park District||$15 – $20|
|Federal (Army Bases, Federal Land, etc.)||$17 – $20|
|Private (KOA, Good Sam, etc.)||$25 – $35|
|County Forest Preserves||$20 – $42||The wide price range is primarily driven by the average $10 price increase non-residents|
|Illinois AverageDaily Campsite Cost||$15 – $30|
Illinois State Parks Discount Programs for Seniors, Veterans, and Persons with Disabilities
Those living in Illinois who are 62 years or older are eligible to a 50 percent reduction on camping costs from Monday through Thursday in B – AA campgrounds, regardless of the day of the week. Selected Class C and D campsites provide free fees to seniors from Monday through Thursday! Unfortunately, this means that from Friday through Sunday, you’ll be required to pay the full amount along with the rest of the public because weekends may already be quite congested. This is merely a discount on the camping price itself–there is a $10 utility fee linked to any campground with electrical access that is not discounted (Campgrounds B/E-AA on the list below).
|Campground Fee||Utility Fee||Final Price|
|Full Price(Fri – Sun)||$ 15.00||$ 10.00||$ 25.00|
|Senior DiscountClass AA, A, B/E (Mon – Thurs)||$ 7.50||$ 10.00||$ 17.50|
|Senior DiscountClass C or D (Mon – Thurs)||$ 0.00||$ 0.00||Free!|
Illinois State Parks Disability Status Discount
Residents of Illinois who possess a Class 2 or 2A identification card are entitled to a 50 percent reduction on campsite fees from Monday through Thursday of any given week. There is no difference between this discount program and the senior discount program outlined above in terms of setup. The full amount will be charged on Friday and Saturday, and this is merely a discount on the camping price itself–there is a $10 utility fee linked to any campground with electrical access that is not discounted (B/E – AA in the table below).
For a more organized example, see the chart in the Senior discount section.
Veteran Discounts Camping at Illinois State Parks
Illinois citizens who hold identification cards indicating that they are a handicapped veteran or a prisoner of war, or veterans who apply for a special armed forces pass in Sprinfield, are eligible for a 100 percent reduction on camping costs at any time.
In contrast to the Senior discount, this is not limited to weekdays only. The only price that will be charged to qualified persons will be the $10 utility fee that will be charged in Class B/E–AA campsites. Eligible veterans do not have to pay anything at Class C D campsites!
|Campground Fee||Utility Fee||Final Price|
|Full Price(For Comparison)||$ 15.00||$ 10.00||$ 25.00|
|Eligible Veteran DiscountClass AA, A, B/E||$ 0.00||$ 10.00||$ 10.00|
|Eligible Veteran DiscountClass C or D||$ 0.00||$ 0.00||Free!|
More examples of how charge structures function may be found in the Illinois Camping Fee Schedule, which provides more information.
Cost to Camp in Illinois Infographic
When I was camping lately, I came across a meme that stated, Camping: When you pay a modest money to live like a homeless person. It appears to be available as a wall decal on the Etsy website as well. When you consider that the typical American spends $1,145 per person on vacation – or $4,580 for a family of four – this meme is absurdly out of touch with reality. Yeah, I know it’s silly to get irritated by erroneous information on the internet, but I can’t help myself.) That does not necessarily imply that camping is a low-cost holiday option.
- You’ll need to purchase or rent the necessary equipment.
- the entire USA).
- For your convenience, I’m going to break down the costs of camping, including rates for both the budget and high-end alternatives, so you can plan your own vacation budget-wise.
- Winter camping is doable, but it will need a great deal of knowledge and pricey equipment.
Cost of Camping Gear: One-Time Investment of $231 to $2,762*
For each extra person, add $86 (at the low end) or $1,077 (at the high end). Camping equipment may be rented in campsites, although it will be quite expensive to do so. If you anticipate going camping more than once, it is worthwhile to invest in your own camping equipment. Alternatively, you might RENTAL camping equipment. It is completely free in this manner, and you may acquire a feel for camping without making any significant financial commitment. Just make sure you adhere to the laws and regulations for borrowing camping equipment.
You can purchase fantastic tents, sleeping bags, and pads for dirt cheap if you do it this way.
Backpack with Rain Cover: $0 to $150
On the cheapest end of the spectrum, you may just utilize the bag you currently have. Put a garbage bag over it to keep it from becoming wet. You will essentially incur no expenses as a result of this. A high-quality hiking or backpacking bag, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $150 dollars. In most cases, just one or two persons in your party will require a pack. The Osprey Talon 22 liter is a favorite hiking day pack for campers because of its large capacity. It is available for purchase here.
Tent: $50 to $400
Please do not purchase a substandard tent. Rain puts you in a bad situation (as occurred to several persons I encountered on a mountain who I had to “rescue” from the elements). That does not imply, however, that you must purchase an extremely costly tent. Despite the fact that it was just $50, my first tent performed admirably even in high winds and heavy rain. If you are searching for large family tents, they will be more expensive, but they will still be less expensive than a night in a hotel room.
Again, you don’t need to spend this much money on a tent unless you really must.
Read our 15-Minute Guide to Purchasing a Tent for more information. This Coleman tent for four people is a wonderful choice if you want quality on a tight budget. Check out the tents on REI’s website.
Sleeping Bag: $20 to $100 (Per Person)
When it comes to sleeping bags, everything that costs more than $100 is either ultra-lightweight or designed for use in four seasons. If you aren’t planning on camping in the cold or long-distance treks, you won’t need anything more expensive than what you can get here. It was roughly $30 when I bought my first sleeping bag, and I later upgraded to a lighter one that was around $70 when it was on sale. This sleeping bag from Teton weighs less than 3 pounds and has a temperature rating of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also available in children’s sizes!
Sleeping Pad: $10 to $150 (Per Person)
In the event that you don’t mind sleeping on hard surfaces, a $10 sleeping mat should be plenty. Use methods such as stacking a bundle of leaves beneath your tent before pitching it to create an extra layer of protection from the wind and rain. Spend a little more money on a decent, self-inflating sleeping pad, though, if you want extra comfort. These may also be bought for a low price, but the top-name models, such as the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir, are significantly more expensive. Take a look at these reasonably priced, high-quality sleeping mats.
Stove and Fuel: $10 to $200
As I mentioned in this article, I used to camp with a super-cheap puncture-style gas stove that was extremely light and portable. It was OK for my kid and me to be alone. I’ve upgraded to a “professional” camp stove. In order to accommodate larger families that are automobile camping, you’ll most likely need something more larger and with two burners. These are available for purchase for roughly $100, with the more expensive models costing over $200. Here’s a quick guide to the many types of backpacking stoves.
It is a reasonably priced choice, and you can get it here.
Cook Set: $25 to $$140
When camping, you may cook with your regular cookware using gas burners. These, on the other hand, are often cumbersome and time-consuming to pack. If you get cookware that is particularly intended for camping, you will have a much more enjoyable time on your trip. Cooking utensils, mugs, and a couple of fire-safe pots and pans are included with the majority of camp cook sets. The variation in price is due to the type of material used. The more expensive the set will be, the lighter and more durable the material used.
Cooler: $0 to $350
When using a gas stove while camping, you may use your regular cookware. These, on the other hand, are often cumbersome and time-consuming to transport. If you get cookware that is particularly intended for camping, you will have a much more enjoyable time. Most camp cook sets include a couple of fire-safe pots and pans, mugs, and cutlery, among other essential items. The material makes up the difference in price. The more expensive the set will be, the lighter and more durable the material is.
Water Bottle or Hydration Reservoirs: $0 to $75 (Per Person)
If you want to transport your water, you may just use regular plastic bottles.
There are dozens of insulated flasks and hydration packs particularly designed for camping and trekking that you can purchase if you want to go fancy. Having an insulated water bottle and a thermal insulator will come in handy while you’re out camping or trekking in really cold weather.
Rope: $5 to $15
A washing line, shoelace repair, bear bag hanging, and a thousand other tasks need the use of this item. Paracord is an excellent all-purpose rope to invest in.
Headlamp: $25 to $140 (Per Person)
Keep your headlamp purchase around $20, otherwise you’ll end up with a large piece of plastic bobbing about on your forehead, as well as one that consumes your batteries quickly and inefficiently. This Coleman headlamp is a good choice if you’re looking for a low-cost option. If you have a decent headlamp, you may be able to forego the need of a flashlight. There are some really amazing high-end flashlights on the market that are solar-powered or have really powerful beams.
Lantern: $10 to $150
It’s yet another optional accessory, but it’s one that comes in handy when camping. Modern camping lights are equipped with innovative features such as folding design and Bluetooth connectivity. A lot of individuals like using solar-powered lamps when camping as well. The use of a water jug as a flashlight is a useful camping tip since it transforms your flashlight into a lantern.
Rechargeable Batteries: $6 to $12 (Per Person)
You’ll need these for your camping lights, believe it or not. Always choose rechargeable batteries since they are more cost effective in the long term. The cost is based on the fact that the majority of flashlights and headlamps utilize two or three AA or AAA batteries.
First Aid Kit: $20 to $75
It is possible to build your own first aid pack for as little as $20. To get a pre-made camping first aid kit, you’ll need to budget around $75. Here’s a comprehensive camping first aid checklist to get you started.
Water Treatment System: $25 to $150
If your campsite provides safe drinking water, you may not need this, but if you plan on going on treks or wild camping, a water filtration system is a terrific addition to your gear. The Sawyer Mini is the filter that I use, and it is one of the most affordable options available. UV filters, water purification pills, and bigger filters are some of the various alternatives you may choose from. Read this article to learn how to choose a camping water filter.
Bear Bag or Canister: $0 to $55
To hang a bear bag on the cheap, you may use the rope you allocated above to hang food in a plastic bag from the ceiling. Alternatively, a bear canister can be used. Find out how to hang a bear bag right here.
Solar Panel and/or Power Bank: $0 to $200
In an ideal situation, you would utilize your camping trip to detox from technology. However, having a power source is convenient for charging your phone or GPS in case of an emergency or for capturing images. The majority of campsites will provide electricity for a nominal daily cost. Some individuals go all out and go agenerator camping in order to get the most out of their experience. Alternatively, you may purchase a portable solar panel. When going on short camping trips, a lightweight power bank should be more than sufficient.
Clothing: $25 to $600+ (Per Person)
Every time I go camping, I’m struck by how pricey “camping attire” can be. All kinds of space-age, high-tech materials are available for purchase in the form of clothing.
A single tee-shirt can cost upwards of $100 dollars! There is no need to bring them with you unless you are heading to a hardcore place! Simply said, you should wear what you currently have. You may, however, be required to purchase the following items:
- Waterproof jackets or ponchos range from $10 to $300
- Longjohns range from $10 to $100
- And waterproof/wool socks range from $5 to $30.
Daily Camping Costs: $8 to $110 per person, per day
This one is quite difficult to compute. Dehydrating my own fast meals, as well as making GORP from scratch, allows me to save money on food. However, I did have to purchase a dehydrator. Outside of travels, I’d estimate that food will cost roughly $10 per day, however the Outdoor Blueprint estimates that food will cost $8 per day. On the other hand, you may get upscale freeze-dried boil-in-the-bag camping cuisine. These normally cost roughly $5 each meal, or $15 per day, depending on the location.
- Check out this post for the finest quick camping food brands on the market.
- Because of the tourist markup, this will normally come at a high cost, in the thousands of dollars.
- Vacation Kids, on the other hand, predicts a greater sum of $60 per day per adult.
- Over 50 dehydrator recipes for camping, as well as plenty of tips on food planning for backpacking excursions, are included in a new eBook I’ve just published.
- Alternatively, you may purchase it right away.
- The meals have about 130 calories per ounce of dry weight, which is quite a lot.
Campground Costs: $0 to $50 (Per Day)
I love to go wild camping since it is absolutely free and there are no bothersome neighbors to bother you with. However, this means that you must trek to the location while carrying all of your equipment, dig a kitty hole, and transport all of your waste out of the site. As a result, I understand why most people choose to stay in campgrounds that provide facilities such as showers and restrooms. The cost of campsites, on the other hand, varies greatly. There are a plethora of “basic” campsites that charge between $5 and $10 per night for their services.
- I examined the pricing at a number of National Parks around the United States.
- Additionally, there are other National Park campsites within this range.
- These tend to be more expensive, but you receive some nicer amenities in return.
- Then there are the luxury campsites, which provide beautiful bathrooms, power hookups, laundry facilities, restaurants, and a slew of other amenities that I don’t really want or need while camping.
These typically cost between $50 and $100 a night (check out thislist of California State Park campground pricesto get an idea). Despite this, it is still less expensive than the majority of hotel rooms. * Read:
- What to Inquire About When Choosing a Campground
- How to Camp for Free in the United States of America
Other Camping Costs: $43 to $304
Every year, a large number of people go to state and national parks. In fact, there are several gorgeous spots all around the world that require no admission fee or permission to visit. If you choose these locations, your camping expenses will be considerably lower. In terms of State and National Park charges, I looked into some of the most popular parks in the United States and found them to be reasonable. The admission charge to Yosemite National Park is $30 per car (there is no per-person fee) or $15 per person walking in.
The admission cost to Everglades National Park is $25 per person.
Transportation Costs: $38 to $224
Every year, a large number of people visit state and national parks. Beautiful spots all throughout the world may be visited without the need for an admission fee or a permission at all. Selecting one of these locations will reduce the overall cost of camping even further. In terms of State and National Park expenses, I looked into some of the most popular parks in the United States and found them to be rather reasonable in comparison. It costs $30 per car (no per-person charge) to enter Yosemite National Park, or $15 per person walking around the park.
The admission charge to Everglades National Park is $25 per vehicle.
Buy Spray and Sunscreen: $5 to $20
And, to be even more thorough, here are some additional probable camping expenses that you can encounter when camping. All of these items are absolutely optional, and you can most likely make do with items you already have on hand (like the folding chairs sitting in your garage).
Chair prices range from $10 to $140. (per person) Table prices range from $20 to $170. Hammocks range in price from $20 to $250. Tarps range from $15 to $100. Showers for camping range from $15 to $100. Camping toilets range in price from $20 to $80. Camping Kitchen Station with Fold-Out Table: $50 to $200 Pop-Up Privacy Stations range in price from $20 to $140.
GPS ranges from $30 to $600. Solar chargers range in price from $60 to $170. Radios range in price from $20 to $50.
Binoculars range in price from $20 to $200. Maps range from $5 to $20. Compass prices range from $5 to $90. $10 to $25 for a guidebook
Camping Costs Grand Total:
Gear costs between $231 to $2,762 (plus an extra $86 to $1,077 every additional person). Camping costs between $8 to $110 per day (per person, per day) Other camping expenses range from $43 to $304 per night.
For a family of 4 on a 10-day camping trip, that adds up to:
Low-End Price = $612 $7,397 for the top of the line
Notes On the Real Cost of Camping
You’ll discover that the high-end camping expense estimate is completely illogical. If you don’t go beyond at a camping store and splurge on superfluous, pricey clothing or equipment, you’ll likely spend far less than this amount. Even if you do end up purchasing extremely costly equipment, keep in mind the following: Camping equipment is a ONE-TIME EXPENSE.
You will only have to pay for food, transportation, park admission fees, and perhaps some more batteries or luxury equipment after your first camping trip. The more often you go camping, the less expensive it becomes.