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Thinking of exploring the great outdoors? If fresh air, pristine waters and sleeping under a starry sky is beckoning you, check out these 4 camping tips to help you save money on your next adventure.

Frugal Camping - Father and son drinking warm beverages at a campfire.

Camping Tip #1: Explore the great outdoors and experience America at its most beautiful by camping at a National or State Park. The National Park system makes discovering nature inexpensive when you purchase a American the Beautiful Pass . The annual pass covers entry for a vehicle with up to 4 adults (kids 15 and under are free) for $80. If you’re in the military, a senior or have a fourth-grader you’ll be able to access the parks for even less. Camp sites are not included, but for anywhere between $15 and $48 per night you can sleep under the stars at Yellowstone for example – which is by far less expensive than sleeping in a hotel or motel outside the park.

Camping Tip #2: A freshly caught fish roasting over an open fire is a great way to save money on a camping trip. Fishing licenses are affordable and can be purchased annually in Illinois for just $15 or for $24 you can fish in Wisconsin for four days as a non-resident. Each state has their own fee structure, so check it out before your trip.

Save even more by making and packing your meals ahead of time. Because you never know if the fish are biting and your local grocery store will more than likely be less expensive than in a vacation destination. Easy meals to make while camping are spaghetti, tortilla soup, and trail mix.

Frugal Camping - Hipster friends eating on a camping trip.

Camping Tip #3: One of the best ways to save money on a camping trip is borrowing gear – especially if you’re not an avid outdoorsman. Or even better, invite friends and family on your trip and share equipment, meal plans and campsite fees. The more the merrier by the campfire.

Camping Tip #4: Shop online sites like Gear Trade, garage and clearance sales at sporting goods stores to save on the camping equipment you’re unable to borrow or share. You may be surprised at how much money can be saved by purchasing last year’s model.

If you plan on purchasing brand new items at full price, consider shopping from companies like L.L. Bean, REI and Cabelas, which are known for their quality outdoor products. You may pay more now, but your hiking boots, tent and backpack will last for several years, saving you money down the road. L.L. Bean even offers an awesome warranty that could really add up.

Frugal Camping - Orange tent and canoe next to the lake in the Boundary Waters Minnesota.

Ready to head for the hills and pitch a tent? If so, you can save even more money on your camping adventures when you get cash back for using a DuPage Credit Union Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card. Or if you prefer, redeem points for travel rewards, gift cards at popular merchants or even camping gear. Take advantage of our lowest interest rate ever on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months when you open a DuPage Credit Union Visa Platinum Rewards or Advantage Credit Card.

Do you have any camping tips to save money? If so, please share below:

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