Camping On A Shoestring Budget


Pack a tent, load up the minivan and head for the great outdoors!

Camping is fun and affordable, perfect for families on a tight budget.

Outdoor enthusiast, Sheryl McGlochlin, shows us how to camp on a shoestring budget.


(A price comparison)

2 Burner Stove, 20,000 BTU, w/ Fuel: U of U Rental: $10, OR Purchase at Campmor: $44 w/out fuel, Recreation Outlet: $44 w/out fuel

3 Person Tent: U of U, Rental $16, OR Purchase at Campmor or Recreation Outlet starting around: $59

Self Inflating Pad: U of U Rental: $3, OR Purchase at Campmor: $40, Recreation Outlet: $30 – $40

Sleeping Bag: U of U Rental: $9, OR Purchase at Campmor: $20 & up, Recreation Outlet: $30 & up

TIP: Don’t invest a lot of money on camping gear/equipment until you try it out first to make sure you like it!

GREAT WEBSITES FOR CAMPING GEAR:, A local wholesale store with a retail outlet, SLC


X2C Sports – Find them on Facebook – Consignment Shop – Consignment Shop

Thrift Stores i.e. Deseret Industries

Thrift Town

Yard Sales

Garage Sales

RENTAL GEAR AVAILABLE, from local Universities, open to the public

U of U:

Weber State University:



Check all other Universities in Utah i.e. SUU, Dixie, SLCC, etc.


Save money and time by sharing camping chores, campsites and equipment. LOTS of great people in Utah are looking for other outdoor-loving friends! We’ll help you meet MANY of them – singles and families! – Be in the loop! Join our Outdoor Adventure Group on Meetup! Type in these Keywords to find us: Outdoor Adventure, Salt Lake City

Another great way to learn more about our Outdoor Adventure Group

Receive a Complete Camping List when you join our FREE Outdoor Adventure Newsletter at:


Granite Flat Campground: American Fork Canyon, $16/night, drinking water, RV sites, group sites, shady, lots of trees, clean restrooms, less than 1 mile from Tibble Fork Reservoir, a non motorized reservoir, great for canoeing, kayaking or fishing

Affleck Park, Approx. 15 minutes from mouth of Parleys Canyon (near Mtn Dell & East Canyon area), bring your own water, more private and quiet due to the lack of water on site, family oriented, $15/night, must reserve online, no cell phone coverage, clean bathrooms, shady campsites w/ lots of trees and quiet stream, no utility hookups, clean restrooms, fire pit, Just 2 miles from Little Dell Reservoir, a non motorized reservoir, great for canoeing, kayaking or fishing

Affeck Park:

Wasatch Mountain State Park, Midway, Heber area, Modern restrooms w/ hot showers, utility hookups, less than 1 hour from SLC, Just a few miles from Deer Creek Reservoir, a motorized reservoir, great for boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, etc., $20/night for tent camping

FREE UTAH STATE PARK DAY PASSES! Check out the parks before you spend the night! $2 off overnight Camping or FREE day pass! Some restrictions apply, see any SL County Library for details.


Great Camping Books:

The Best in Tent Camping: Utah: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos by Jeffrey Steadman (Jun 18, 2007)

Moon Utah Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping (Moon Outdoors) by Mike Matson (Apr 28, 2009)

Utah’s National Parks: Hiking Camping and Vacationing in Utahs Canyon Country by Ron Adkison (Mar 14, 2001)

Camping Utah (Regional Camping Series) by Donna Lynn Ikenberry (Nov 1, 2001)

Southwest Camping Destinations: RV and Car Camping Destinations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah (Camping Destinations series) by Mike Church and Terri Church (Nov 1, 2008)

Utah Camping Guide : The essential handbook for planning and enjoying your next outdoors trip by Gaylen W. Webb (Aug 1, 2000)

Roughing It Easy : A Unique Ideabook for Camping and Cooking by Dian Thomas (Paperback – Jun 1994)

Recipes for Roughing It Easy by Dian Thomas (Paperback – Jun 2001)

Backyard Roughing It Easy: Unique Recipes for Outdoor Cooking, Plus Great Ideas for Creative Family Fun-All Just Steps from Your Back Door by Dian Thomas (Paperback – Mar 1997)

Food for Camping – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Healthy Hot Breakfast Cereals w/ Toppings, Store in a Box!

Use Ziplock Bags, 2 cups each


6-Grain Rolled Mix


Wheat Hearts*

Any combination of the above 3 cereals

Cream of Wheat (or Farina)

Cracked Wheat*

Brown Rice

Brown Rice & Quinoa Combo

*See Recipes Below

Toppings (also stored in Ziplock bags except Maple Syrup) may include:

Brown sugar


Maple syrup
Shredded coconut
Dried nuts & Fruit
Fresh fruit


Prepare immediately after breakfast.

Use sandwich size Ziploc bags.

No meals to worry about until dinner.

Peanut Butter
Jam or Honey
Fresh Fruit
Oatmeal Cookies*

Granola Bars
Trail Mix*
Carrot & Celery Sticks

*See Recipes below

Trail Mix – Make your own!

Mix together any of the following ingredients:
Plain animal cookies
Dried Fruit
M & M’s
And anything else you like that won’t melt (like chocolate)

Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This makes a double batch. Eat and freeze the rest.

2 cups butter
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 TBSP molasses
4 eggs
4 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla (I like the Mexican Vanilla)

1 teaspoon salt (I use Gourmet sea salt)
2 teaspoons baking soda
5 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour or All-Purpose white flour
6 – 9 cups oats, six-grain rolled mix or combination.

Option: For less calories and more fiber replace 1 cup cooked, pureed Great Northern Beans instead of 1 cup butter.

Create your own great Oatmeal Cookie by adding ANY of these optional Items: 1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz. package of walnuts, dates, coconut, raisins, craisins, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, both peanut butter and chocolate chips

Combine and blend butter, sugar, molasses, eggs, hot water, and vanilla together in one bowl. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together: salt, soda, dough enhancer and flour. Combine the butter/sugar mixture with the dry ingredients. Add oats and any other optional ingredients like Chocolate Chips, etc. and mix again.

Spread the dough evenly onto two or three large cookie sheets. Preheat oven, bake at 350 degrees for approx. 15 – 20 minutes. Cut into bars when cooled.

Note: Store in Zip Lock Sandwich Bags.

Taco & Burrito Buffet

Let family members build their own dinner!

Store most ingredients in Ziplock bags, in a cooler.

Suggested ingredients/amounts for 4 adults

2 cans Black Beans, rinsed/drained

2 cans Pinto Beans, rinsed/drained

2 cans Corn

2 c. Brown Rice (or white rice)

2 c. Mild Cheddar Cheese (I like the “Mexican Blend” from Costco – a shredded blend of Monterey Jack, medium Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Asadero Cheese)

2 small cans Green Chilies

Bottle of your favorite Salsa

2 c. ground beef, roast beef, pork or chicken – cooked & shredded

Season meat with Taco Seasoning

You choose:

Hard Taco Shells

Flour Tortillas

Corn Tortillas

Or combo of all three!

Other optional ingredients:

Tomatoes, diced

Black Olives, sliced

Green Onions, sliced

Avocado, sliced


Onion, chopped

Sliced Red/Green Peppers

Sour Cream

Dark Green Leafy Lettuce, shredded

Anything else you think of!

Place items on a table, in a row, still in their bag, with a fork or serving spoon
Invite each person to build their own dinner the way they like it!

Teriyaki Stir Fry

Store most ingredients in Ziplock bags, in a cooler.

Suggested ingredients/amounts for 4 adults

1/8 c. Olive Oil
1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash, medium, thinly sliced
1 Yellow onion or green onions, thinly sliced
3 eggs, whisked together
2 c. Cooked White or Brown Rice OR Brown Rice/Quinoa Combo

Choice of 2 Sauces:

¼ – ½ c. Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (My favorite, found at a local Asian Grocery Store)

¼ – ½ c. Teriyaki Sauce

In a hot skillet, add ingredients in the order given
Everything cooks in less than 5 minutes!
Don’t overcook

Optional: Add these ingredients before adding the sauce: Cooked chicken, pork, pineapple chunks, green onions, sliced green/red peppers, etc.

Cook Rice, Quinoa one of 3 ways: 1) Pressure Cooker 2) Skillet on a stove 3) Rice Cooker

Keep it simple and use just Rice OR cook the two grains together

In a pressure Cooker:
2 c. Brown Rice
1/2 c. Quinoa
4 c. water

Bring to 8 lbs. pressure

Turn off burner and cook for 25 minutes
Let cool
Put in clear, plastic 8 – 12 oz. containers
Store in refrigerator until ready to use
Freeze ingredients if not used within 2 – 3 days

Cracked Wheat Hot Cereal

Boil 2 cups water w/ ½ teaspoon salt. Add 1-cup cracked wheat to boiling water. Turn off the burner and put the lid on. Stir occasionally and eat in about 5 minutes with milk and sugar.

Muesli – Popular European Whole Grain Cold Cereal

1 3/4 cups water
1 1/3 cups rolled oats, uncooked
3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped oranges
1/2 cup chopped dates or raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1-teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Serve for breakfast cold or hot with milk or yogurt. Makes 6 servings.

Wheat Hearts

Wheat hearts can be used in many of your favorite dishes.

You don’t need a wheat grinder, just water, wheat berries, and a slow cooker.

Any recipe that includes corn, rice, ground beef, ground sausage, barley, lentils or any other similar shape is perfect for wheat hearts, since the cooked wheat hearts have no flavor of their own. They take on the flavor of the recipe.

The following recipe is also one of my favorites.

2 c. wheat berries (whole wheat kernels, raw)

8 c. water

Cook in the slow cooker (crock pot) on low overnight and serve hot.

Wheat berries will be soft but not mushy.

Yield: 12 servings

Eat with homemade granola, raisins and fresh bananas OR enjoy it alone with milk & sugar as you would any other hot cereal. Leftover wheat berries can be added to pancake batter as well. Add wheat berries to any cold cereal.

Freeze leftovers in 4 oz. clear containers to use on future dishes

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