Camping truly is the ultimate budget-friendly vacation! There’s minimal upfront cost, very few ways to spend money out in the middle of nowhere, and you have to bring your own food. Plus, I’m going to show you how to put together a Dollar Tree camping kit — filled with kitchen and dining supplies — for just $20!
See what I mean? Your budget will love you.
Family Camping on a Budget
One of the cool things about camping, is that once you have your equipment, you’re all set for a good long while! Unlike renting a hotel room, you actually get to bring your accommodations home with you.
Campsite fees are often minimal (depending on where you camp), especially when tent camping.
Personally, I would recommend investing in a few key things, like a good tent and comfy bedding. These will last you for years to come and make your camping experiences much more enjoyable!
Other things, like basic supplies and camp chairs, are easier to find on the cheap (or used) and don’t impact your experience as much. As you camp more, you’ll know which gear you want to invest in. But you really don’t need much to get started!
Just keep it simple.
$20 Dollar Tree Camping Kit
The first time we went camping, I put together this Dollar Tree camping kit, and it cost us less than $20!
This kitchen and dining kit has served us well ever since! I simply replenish some of the disposable items before a camping trip and we’re good to go.
You can purchase everything you need for your own Dollar Tree camping kit for under $20, too! Spending so little is great peace of mind because you don’t have to worry about anything getting ruined out in the wilderness. :)
Here’s how I put together my Dollar Tree camping kit…
Dollar Tree Kitchen Kit:
Dollar Tree items:
- large, white plastic basket/ bin (to hold everything)
- paper thermal cups with lids
- disposable table cloth
- cutting board
- large spoon
- dish cloths
- oven mitt
- pot holder
- butane lighter
- mini glass containers with screw-on lids (for salt and pepper)
And here’s what I added from home:
- old paring knife
- trash bags
- plastic baggies
- paper napkins
- paper towels
- dish soap
- wipes (I’ve used both store-bought and homemade)
Dollar Tree Dining Kit:
Dollar Tree items:
- square cupcake container with attachable lid (to hold the plates & napkins)
- oblong white container with lid (to hold the silverware)
- round clear container with a red lid (for snacks)
- paper plates
- paper straws
- disposable silverware
- paper napkins
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Along with the basics, we like to bring a few extras to make our camping trip more enjoyable. These are more of an investment, but can be nice additions to your camping gear.
- MSR backpacking stove
- Aeropress coffee maker and manual coffee grinder (for delicious coffee!)
- Lodge cast iron skillet (for cooking over the fire)
- high-power flashlight
- clothesline and clothespins (Paracord works great!)
- hammock with straps
- rubber mallet (for pounding in tent pegs)
- comfy sleeping pads
- memory foam mattress topper
- double sleeping bag (so nice for cold nights!)
- Weber charcoal chimney starter (we use this for grilling at home)
- Weber large grilling utensils (we also use these at home)
- first aid kit
Keep It Simple
One of the very best things about camping is that you get to unplug from the complexity of life. The less you focus on fancy gear and distracting technology, the more liberated you’ll be to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
Breathe deeply. Dip your fingers in an icy stream. Admire the intricacy of creation. Explore nearby trails and pathways. Stargaze on a clear night.
In other words—just keep it simple.
I’m putting together a post on family camping hacks soon, so stay tuned. Until then, I’d love to know your budget-friendly camping hacks! Share them down below.