How Much Does Camping Cost?

People new to camping often ask, ‘how much does camping cost?’ Camping novices may feel overwhelmed by the number of things that they need to buy before they plan their first trip.

Things like backpacks, tents and sleeping rolls can cost hundreds of dollars. This is a particularly big problem for people on a budget who have to put their camping plans on hold because they just cannot afford it.

However, camping does not need to be as expensive as you think. While essential items are a must, there are many areas where you can save yourself some serious cash by getting the essential items for the right price.

Here’s a short guide on how much camping costs that can give you a good idea about how you can pursue this hobby, without breaking the bank.

How Much Does Camping Cost

What You Will Need

There are many camping accessories in the market that you can do without. However, some items are a must if you want to have a stress-free experience. Here is a list of items that you will need to go on a camping trip.

Camping Backpack


Sleeping Bag

Cooking Stove

Cooking Set

Insulated Cooler

Portable Lamp

First Aid Kit

Cost of the Main Gear

The camping tent, backpack and sleeping bag are the three most expensive items that will increase the cost of camping for your trip.

Unless you have an RV, a tent is necessary to provide shelter and cover during the night. It acts as the home base where you will be storing most of your other gear.

Many new campers spend a lot of money on their tent because they want to get the best. Keep in mind that you don’t need to buy anything too fancy. The tent must be sturdy, water proof and big enough to accommodate you. It will cost you around $40 – $200 depending on the size and quality of tent that you need.

The sleeping bag is the next necessary item required for your trip. The price of a bag varies based on how comfortable and versatile it is. You can buy very comfortable sleeping bags that are built for all kinds of weather and cost more than $200. However, you can also find sleeping bags that are deisgned for specific seasons and cost $60 to $80.

Backpacks are a must while out in nature. You need one to carry food, water and other items like the tent and sleeping bag etc.

On the low end, you may already have a backpack for other purposes that can be used for your camping trip. If you don’t you will need to get one that can cost around $50 to $120.

Water Container

Water is free. You should be able to find a source of clean drinking water at your camping spot, especially if you are going to a camping destination that is popular with tourists.

Still, you will need to have a water container on hand to keep some water in your backpack. You have multiple options here.

First, you can can take some empty plastic bottles with you on the trip. This option costs nothing.

You can also buy a collapsible cooler bag to keep your water or other drinks cool. Such coolers cost around $30 to $80 and are very handy on a trip.

Lastly, if you are concerned about the availability of water at your camping desination, you may want to get water purifiers that cost $15 to $40.

Cooking Set and Stove

You may be able to get by with packed sandwiches and meals for a halfday trip. But if you are looking to camp over night or have a weekend-long trip outdoors, then you will need to pack cooking utensils and a stove with fuel to have a good time.

Many beginners go overboard buying lots of cooking tools and supplies that raise the cost of camping. However, you won’t need to buy many items for your first trip. At the very least, you will need a good portable stove and a simple cooking kit. You can take the cooking utensils you already have to save some money.

You will also need to have some fuel such as a gas tank, unless you are planning to use wood for burning. These items can cost you around $20 to $110.


You will need a lighting device for the night. A chargeable or battery powered electric lantern costs around $30 to $50 and provides very good illumination for 15 – 20  hours.

You will also need a carrying light such as a flashlight that costs $10. Some campers get headlamps that are easier to use on your head and cost $20.

First Aid Kit

Some people believe that first aid kits are entirely optional, but we don’t agree with that. A first aid kit can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency and worth ten times its cost.

You should get a first-aid kit with at least the bare essentials including bandages, plasters, disinfectants, sterile dressings, painkillers and tweezers etc. A simple first aid kit costs less than $20.

If you are new to camping, it is best to stick to populated paths and high-traffic campsites where you can get medical help quickly, if required.

Our Final Thoughts

How much a camping trip costs depends on multiple factors. The length of your trip, the destination you are going for, whether you already have some of the camping gear and how comfortable you want to be on the trip can increase or decrease your costs.

Some campers report spending $300 to $500 per person on their trip. Others claim that their entire trip cost less than $100 per person.

The latter tend to be more experienced campers who already have much of the camping gear and prefer to get their own firewood, water and food on the trip for an authentic camping experience.

According to our estimates, the cost of camping is higher up at first and goes down over time as you go on more and more trips.

If you have been on a camping trip, we would love to hear from you about how much money you spent on your trip. Feel free to let us know your thoughts and experiences about camping expenses!

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