Province wide campfire bans in place - learn more.  Campers know before you go camping.

Camping on a budget

Coolers on a picnic table and a tent in background

Camping is simple- food and gear!

Camping in B.C.’s great outdoors is still a totally do-able activity, even if your experience is limited and your budget almost non-existent. Be creative, start small and keep it simple. Remember it’s about the doing, not the having.


Start with a basic list of essentials (tent, tarp, water jug, cooler, camping stove, dishes, pots, hatchet, etc.) then scour the house and garage to gather items on the list that you already have. Check out garage sales, thrift stores and online used-merchandise sites for the things you don’t have. See if friends or family are willing to lend you some of their gear for your first few trips while you gradually accumulate all the essentials that you need. Remember, you can always upgrade later when your budget allows and the opportunity presents itself (watch for awesome deals in end-of-season flyers).

Food –

Keep it simple and easy. I like to separately freeze home-made pasta sauce, pasta or straight up soup, chili or stew for an easy “first night out” meal. Use large, sturdy Ziploc bags or plastic containers that do double duty by acting as edible “ice” in your cooler. Bagels, pita or unsliced bread travel better and are multi-purpose. Downsize bulky staples (butter, condiments, etc.) into small plastic containers (drugstores and dollar stores are great sources). Pack things like tea, coffee and sugar into Ziploc bags. Make your own ice, by freezing water in lidded, plastic milk jugs (as they thaw, you’ll have an extra supply of drinking water). Pack hard boiled eggs, a chunk of cheese and some fresh fruit for an easy and nutritious lunch. Toss quick-cooking rolled oats in a Ziploc bag along with some nuts and raisins, for quick and easy breakfast.

Choose multi-purpose gear –

Wide mouthed insulated cups can be used for everything from hot and cold beverages, to soup, pasta and cereal. Empty ice-cream buckets can be packed with kitchen gear, then double as a dish-pan or water bucket. Use the lid as a cutting board or serving tray.

Woman stoking a campfire

Stoking the fire

Be creative and have fun!

Written by: Diana Hutton- Submitted as a contest entry

Published: November 7, 2014
Last Updated: June 28, 2016

BC Camping Story Contest Entry by BC Camping Story Contest Entry

This post as been submitted voluntarily by the above author as an entry to the Camping and RV BC Coalition " BC Camping Story Contest".