Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ultra low budget camping - Part 2 - The Opposite Extreme

You can't talk about low budget camping without exploring just how much money it's possible to blow on a one week trip.  This is just for fun, and not anything I would actual do in real life, but there are probably people out there that do.  Glamping is pretty popular now a days.  We've stayed in yurts before, and talk about one day renting a cabin, but I don't know that we ever will.  Maybe a back country one for a night.  I did a quick look into renting an RV for a week, and it was well over a thousand dollars, before you add in any kilometres and gas.

A while back, I was reading a forum discussion about how Ontario Parks are raising their rates this year.  Someone mentioned that they don't count the cost of buying food for their trip because they would have had to eat at home anyway.  This is true, but not entirely.  The types of food you buy for a camping trip are often vastly different from what you'd buy for a normal meal at home.  I know we don't have anywhere near as much junk food at home as we do when we go camping.  We don't usually buy cookies, chips, and we almost never buy cans of pop for at home.  We also do a lot of vegetarian nights at home, but we often find that when camping, chopping a lot of fresh produce is awkward so we take bagged salads or canned veg.

Okay, but this is your vacation.  You don't want to be scrimping and starving yourself just to stay on budget.  Steaks and beer for everyone! (Not the kids obviously.)  Lots of people do a big dinner for their first night out, whether it be a car camping trip or a back country adventure. Steak seems to be the popular choice. If it was me, I'd do a big beef roast in the dutch oven, baked potatoes, vegetables, maybe even yorkshire puddings in the reflector oven (I'd be willing to temporarily abandon my attempts at a vegan lifestyle for a yorkies and gravy...)  For lunches, lets load up on sausages, burgers and hot dogs, for breakfasts, eggs, pancakes, french toast, and bacon.  Dinners can be big pots of stew, grilled ribs,  pork chops, baked potatoes, and lets not forget desserts.

So a weeks worth of camp food, with this kind of mind set, you can imagine just how high the food budget would be.  Then add in buying bags of firewood, marshmallows, Jiffy Pop, chips, pop, cookies and other snacks, and there's no surprise a week of camp food can run more than double what it costs to feed those same four people for a week at home.

But this is kind of an extreme example.  I doubt any but the most die hard carnivores would eat a week of dinners that went like this - roast beef - pork chops - ribs - burgers - steak - baked ham...not to mention the amount of cooler space you'd need. And ice!  Ice can get pretty expensive when you buy it from the parks, especially if the park is far from the nearest town.

So let's see what we can do to have an enjoyable trip without depriving ourselves or blowing a months worth of grocery budget on 6 nights worth of food.

Just for fun, what's the most expensive camping trip you've ever taken?  What made it so expensive?  What was the most expensive camp meal you've ever made?

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