It’s easy to look around at seasoned campers with all of their gear and think there is no way you can afford to go camping. They have RVs, outdoor chairs, matching dishes and all sorts of other gadgets! It may seem that the initial investment to start camping is out of reach. With a little creativity and a list of trusty resources you can get started on a shoestring budget.
If you’ve never camped, I would suggest borrowing some gear for a short trip. A friend with a tent can give you a quick intro into the outdoor world by loaning you their tent and a couple of sleeping bags. No friends with tents? No worries! You can “car camp” or rent equipment for your trial run. There are no rules about how to camp. Renting gear is easy through your local REI or Kitlender.com .
If you’re ready to purchase your own gear look to your local Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or garage sales for tents, dishes, sleeping bags and other general supplies. Many people go all in buying things before they know if this is even an activity they will enjoy. You can be the winner in those situations by scoring affordable, gently used equipment.
Great resources for pre-owned gear include:
Patagonia Worn Wear
Thrift stores and rummage sales
Girl Camper Michigan Guide & Contributing Editor