Yesterday I talked about camping near your favorite amusement parks and I talked about how much money you can save. Today I want to tell you more about why my family and I choose to tent camp. A few reasons are financial, but that’s not the only reason.
My husband and I have owned many RVs including a class C motorized, fifth wheel, pull behinds (16 foot – 34 foot, truck bed campers, and several pop-ups. They all had one thing in common, they sat in our yard and we camped in them there after a few trips. Why? Maintenance, fuel, the truck we required broke down, and once because my husband was badly injured trying to disconnect the camper from our truck. Which is why we can camp so much, he’s no longer able to work. We have used them in all types of weather and we did enjoy them, but it’s just not for us.
Depreciation is another reason. Especially if you buy new, like my parents. They’re mobile, so they depreciate like a mobile home or a standard vehicle. If you pay $20k for an RV today you’re only going to get $18k for it tomorrow. Then $15k next year. Don’t get me wrong, a tent depreciates, too, but I can deal with my $200 tent depreciating better than a $20k RV. That’s not counting the truck or SUV you require to haul one that can sleep 5+ people. Which also requires maintenance and insurance.
With a tent there is almost zero maintenance if you buy the right tent. Make sure you buy a heavy tent, not the $20 one at Walmart if you’re planning on using it a lot and especially if you’re going on long trips far away from home. We chose Vango due to their testing standards, heavy fabric, and only needing to water-proof it once a year. If then. The only gas, tires, insurance, and mechanical stuff we have to worry about is the van we use to haul our gear and get to our destination, not the portable house we’re sleeping in.
We can camp almost any where. We have found gorgeous places that are only accessible on foot so you can’t camp there unless you have a tent. Some National and State Parks, as well as private, only allow small campers and tents. As an added bonus – they are usually really cheap. Some are $5 a night! It’s not Disney, but you can hike out to a 200 year old cabin and see how our ancestors lived. Or, if you’re like me, you can discover an old cemetery and spend time looking (some times laughing) at the old names.
Tent sites tend to be cheaper. I love Disney so I’m going to use their campground as an example. These rates are for August 2019 for a family of five, so when you go the cost could be higher or lower. A tent site is $58.17/night and the RV sites start at $84.17 and go up to $101. That’s a savings of $182 in a week! That can almost buy the Quick Service Dining Plan or a lot of nice souvenirs!
It is more environmentally friendly. My husband and I aren’t hippies, but you can’t ignore the fact that a vehicle that can tow an 8,000 lb camper is going to use a lot of gas compared to our minivan. Primitive tent sites are more environmentally friendly because they’re not paved or graveled, it’s just a grassy area. They didn’t disturb the ground to put in electric, water, or sewer.
We also feel closer to nature when we camp. The kids put down the electronics and play together, we spend more time outdoors, and we get a feel for how the pioneers lived. That may not appeal to you, but we love history. That’s what happens when you grow up in Virginia and there are battlefields all over. Ha ha We’re not roughing it that much, though, and I realize that. We have a solar lantern that charges the phones and my laptop (I have to keep y’all updated, right?), we have a homemade AC that just uses ice and a battery operated fan, and our tent isn’t made of animal skin. lol I’ll talk more about our gear and accessories tomorrow, for those interested. It is budget-minded, I assure you. You don’t want to save $17k and end up spending it on gear. The less you spend on gear the more epic the trip!
I hope that this has given you a better understanding of why we choose to tent camp instead of buying another RV. It’s cheaper, better for the environment, and you don’t have to have a truck or an SUV. Thanks for stopping by!