Dads are notoriously hard to shop for on any occasion, but especially for Father's Day. How many ties can you buy the guy? (Answer: they can never have too many ties — they are like the equivalent of shoes for dads.) Still, this year why not try a different approach to Father's Day gifts? Since our dads were the first people who taught us how to camp and how to budget our money, it's only fitting that that we show them our money-saving skills combined with our camping know-how. There are plenty of ways to take the old man out into nature while saving some money on the trip. Do him proud with these tips, and check out even more travel hacks for your Summer adventures!
1. Borrow your camping gear
Camping gear — especially the big stuff like tents, grills, and sleeping bags — is expensive! You, your dad, and your siblings (if you decide to invite them) can all reach out to friends and see what you can get them to lend you. It's possible that you won't have to spend a dime on the basics if you're able to scrounge up enough from everyone else.
2. Pack smart
You're not going on two-week trip to Europe, so you don't need to pack like you are! Bring the essentials and nothing more. Packing too heavy can increase gas costs, and it can also mean that you don't make room for what you may really need.
3. Bring your own water
It's a good idea to buy (or borrow!) a large water cooler and fill it up before you leave so that you're not spending a ton of money on water bottles and food on the road. If you camp at site that isn't too primitive, they usually have places to fill coolers. If you decide to go to a less populated campground (which is another way to save), you can look into getting purifying tabs and water filters and try getting your own water. Just pretend you're in the Hunger Games! Or a more fun movie about camping . . .
4. Choose a less popular site
The more people there are, the more expensive the site will be. If you aren't into rustic, off-the-grid camping, then you may want to stick with a campground that has bathrooms, running water, and eating areas nearby. But if you're up for it, you can save money on a camp site by opting for an area within a park that allows you to stay for free or for very cheap.
5. Bring a stocked first-aid kit
The farther out you get, the fewer stores there are that carry the things you may need. This means that they can jack up the prices pretty high, and people will pay because they have no other options. Bring the essentials — especially first-aid and medicine items since those can be the most expensive things to stock up on.
6. Chop or bring your firewood
If it's going to be a cold one, or if you need a fire to cook over, then it's a good idea to bring your own wood or chop your own, if you can hack it. Campgrounds and local stores will up the price of firewood the same way they will with medicine and other necessities.
7. Multipurpose items are key
It's always smart to bring along gear that serves more than one purpose — the Swiss Army knife of camping gear, so to speak (which, incidentally, is also a good thing to have along!). Bring meat that can be used for more than one meal, duct tape that can be used for, well . . . everything, a compass with a mirror included, etc. This helps you pack lighter and more efficiently, too.
8. Stay as close as you can
Depending on the type of camping you want to do, staying closer to home is always cheaper. If you're lucky to live close to a great camping area, then take advantage of it! The less you drive, the more you save.
9. Use solar lamps and flashlights
If you're already going to be out and about in the sun during your day of camping, there's no reason you shouldn't be charging up lamps and flashlights with the best source out there: the sun. Save money and the trouble of taming a bunch of stray batteries by using all of the solar-powered devices you can find.
10. Go fishing! (Or bring your own food)
If you are going somewhere where there is water and you guys like to fish, catch and cook your own food. If you don't want the worry of procuring your dinner in nature (we totally get that), then it's best to plan and pack your meals before you get on the road to the campsite.
Most importantly, keep things as simple as can be. The more you embrace nature and the great outdoors, the more you'll save! And if you still need some more Father's Day gift ideas that you can afford, we've got you covered.