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Want To Try Camping? Then You'll Want To Read This

What you'll need and the best places to get equipment.

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A woman watching sunrise from a tent.
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I was looking for inexpensive vacation options recently, and I stumbled upon camping — it’s outside, it’s rugged and you can even do it in your backyard. How expensive could it be?

Turns out, camping can be super pricey if you’re starting from scratch. Tents cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and a good sleeping bag is at least $100 per person. You’ll need cooking gear, chairs, and a place to camp if you choose to go beyond your backyard.

Fortunately, there are plenty of spots that rent gear or even provide it, making it easier for first-timers to get hooked.

Rent Your Gear:


The outdoor retail king rents everything from bicycles to tents to canoes and more. Go onto the site’s rental space, where you’ll pop in your location (or the location where you’ll pick up your gear). Then, it’ll tell you what’s available. Basic backpacking kits are $200 for the first night and $41 for each additional night, while down sleeping bags can be rented for $42 for the first night and $8 a night after that. A six-person tent is $75 for the first night and $12 for each additional night. You can become an REI member to receive significant rental discounts.

Outdoors Geek

One of the best things about Outdoors Geek is that they’ll ship your rental anywhere in the United States. Another cool thing is that they also offer glamping gear, so you don’t necessarily have to rough it your first time. A two-person Basic Camping Package with a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad starts at $79 for one to three days. Or, you could do a fancy Shenandoah Bell Ten as a glamping option for $479.

Xscape Pod

Not sure what you’ll need? Xscape Pod, a Portland-based company, totally understands. They offer complete “pods” with tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, lanterns, coolers, first aid kits, cooking gear and more. Just let them know how many days and how many people are camping, and they do the rest. The pods are shipped to you and arrive the day before you leave (alternatively, you can do an a la carte rental, but the pods are overwhelmingly more popular). A basic Camping Pod for one is $149 (for four people, it’s $279). 

Rent an RV:

Cruise America

This company rents Class C motorhomes for RV camping for up to seven people. They come with a shower, toilet, fridge, gas cooktop, microwave, beds and more. All you need to do is to BYO food, and you can be on your way. Pricing varies depending on your location and the size of the RV, but a standard motorhome for three nights that sleeps five, leaving California, is $313 per night plus taxes and additional fees.

Escape Campervans

This is a great budget option if you’re traveling solo or with a friend. Escape Campervans has 12 locations that offer vans accommodating two to five people. They have beds, a kitchenette, a pull-out stove and a refrigerator — but if you want a bathroom, you’ll have to splurge for the Class C option. There’s a minimum of three nights stay, and the starting price per night is $95.


Going camping with a pet? Outdoorsy doesn’t even charge extra for furry friends. Available in all 50 states plus Canada, Outdoorsy offers rentable RVs, camper vans and travel trailers. Take it a step further and book one of Outdoorsy’s packages, including an entire adventure experience. For example, they’re currently offering a Texas glamping package for those who want to glamp and have room for their RV. The company will even deliver an RV to your door. When we popped into Chicago, IL, they offered fully furnished RVs and travel trailers that could be delivered for as low as $95 per night.

Stay at a Fully-Equipped Campsite:


You want to try camping but aren’t sure you can handle going full throttle into the backwoods with a sleeping bag and tent. Campgrounds of America (KOA) helps you find campgrounds with cabins complete with electricity and bathrooms with showers and beds. Some of their cabins even have mini-kitchens, grills and TVs.


This is essentially Airbnb for camping. On Tentrr, you could filter your search by location, date and number of people — and then look through photos of fully furnished glamping spots. Most have reviews and are very detailed, explaining whether the site is pet-friendly, check-in and check-out times and the amenities included.

How many of you have ever gone camping? Where do you like to go? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle