Top tips for cheap family camping

A camping holiday needn't cost a packet - Hannah Rose reveals handy tips and tricks for making a night under the stars easy on the pocket. Plus, we round up our favourite campsites for £10 a night. 

Mother and son camping

Top tips for budget-friendly camping

1. If it’s your first camping trip then don’t go crazy on buying loads of new camping gear that you may never use again. Instead, ask around with neighbours, family and friends. There are several websites online that sell unwanted camping gear for a reduced price.

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2. Getting cold at night can be an issue, even in the summer, as you lose more heat to the ground than into the air. Layers of cardboard between your groundsheet and your sleeping bags make cheap, effective insulation.

3. There’s no need for expensive cooking kit – if you know how to light a fire then all you need is tinfoil. Wrap potatoes, corn on the cob and meat in foil and then bury your parcel in hot coals. 

4. As convenient as the campsite shop may be, the items they sell aren’t cheap. Stock up at a big supermarket or local grocers before you hit the campsite and pick up some fresh produce.

5.  Fight off pesky bugs by tossing a bundle of sage onto your campfire – it’ll smell great, too.

6. Make your own fire lighters. Dip cotton pads in wax and leave to dry, or stuff old dryer lint into toilet paper tubes. Forgot to bring any you made earlier? Tortilla chips are great fire starters. 

7. DIY your own lantern. Take an opaque milk carton, fill with water and wrap a head torch around its middle, light facing in. 

8. Outdoor gear can seem painfully pricy but there’s some great quality kit out there at affordable prices. Check out our guide to the best budget-friendly outdoors kit

Four great campsites from £10 a night

Carlton Meres Country Park, Suffolk, England – £10

This beautiful site is surrounded by lush woodland and boasts two large fishing lakes, an outdoor heated swimming pool and clean, recently refurbished showers. A stone’s throw from the cosy pubs of Aldeburgh, Carlton Meres will please the fussiest of campers. 

Maes Carafanau Cefn Crib Caravan Park Wales – £10

Set on a small working farm in Snowdonia, this lovely site is surrounded by mountains, valleys and woodland. Perfect for getting back to nature against a rather stunning backdrop, you can hire bikes and go off exploring here too. 

Linnhe Lochside Holidays, Fort William, Scotland – £10

Perfect for the more adventurous at heart, everything from ice climbing to white water rafting is available on the doorstep of this site. There are activities of a less heart-racing calibre too, and with a loch just a stone’s throw away from the site, all you may want to do is stroll down to the pebbled beach to watch the sun set behind the mountains.  

Cheddar Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, Somerset – £15

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A chilled out campsite perfectly situated for strolls around the Somerset Levels and the beautiful nature trails of Cheddar Gorge, this campsite may be a little steeper at £15 at night, but it’s worth the extra dosh for how relaxed it is. You can pretty much do what you want, as long as you’re respectful, so light a campfire and let the kids get muddy.