• Thu. Jun 23rd, 2022

Valley families discover affordable ways to camp

ByDebra J. Aguilar

May 18, 2022

PHOENIX — Heather Carter says, “The most important thing about camping is that you don’t realize it really lets you all relax.”

For Carter and her family of four, they look forward to spending quality time together outdoors. Falling in love with tent camping, they invested in a caravan.

“It’s just that it’s easy. It’s insane and it’s relaxing,” Carter says.

ABC15’s Christine Stanwood asks, “Is it expensive? Carter replies with a smile, “It’s not expensive. I would honestly say we could probably camp easily for $100.”

Carter says the most expensive part is just having the trailer. “Besides paying for our trailer, and yes, you have to pay for fuel and propane. Other than that, I’m doing it on a budget. It’s really easy.”

As a self-proclaimed bargain shopper, Carter has a slew of affordable camping tips. Here’s how she does it:

Tip #1: “I literally shop in my pantry,” says Carter. “I stock up when things are on sale. If the ketchup is on sale. Well, I don’t have to forget the ketchup in the trailer. I leave one in the outside fridge,” specifically for the trailer. Same with S’mores. There are always Hershey bars outside. We always have graham crackers in the house for snacks anyway. “

Tip #2: “We block or dry camp. Some people call it two different things, which is basically not in an RV park. So in the middle of nowhere,” says Carter. RV parks often have fees.

Tip #3: Carter searches for places offering free dumping of the trash from the trailer.

His family is now planning their next camping trip this summer in Payson, Arizona, and will travel to New Mexico and Colorado.

She says the trip is much more affordable than going to an amusement park and resort.

“I actually wanted to go to Disney World, and I can’t, for our family of four, I can’t figure out how to do it for less than $6,000,” Carter says. “We’ll probably easily enjoy a week together because I mean, $1,000, I guess, at most.”

Carter says the best part of camping is seeing her husband, who works 18 hours a day as a nurse, being with his family.

“To see him sit back and relax or just see him play with the kids is worth every penny.”

And if you’re interested in affordable camping, Arizona State Parks offers a program called “Family Campout and Stewardship Program” at a variety of state parks. It’s $90 for a family of four.

Arizona State Parks says, “The program offers families new to camping the opportunity to host a camping weekend at an Arizona state park without having to provide their own camping gear (this will be provided in the program framework). Each family will attend a variety of “clinics” to learn more about how to safely recreate in public parks. »

Arizona State Parks says, “Clinics will be for children and/or adults so that each family member can learn and grow individually and together from the experience.

Examples of clinics vary by park location and include:

  • “How to set up camp safely”
  • “How to use a barbecue” for adults
  • “How to Geocache”
  • “Things to Explore in the Wilderness” for Youth

Most clinics will encourage full family participation and will include:

  • “Safe Hiking 101”
  • “MTB for beginners”
  • “Astronomy 101”
  • “Paddle 101”
  • “Archery 101”
  • “Lighting and extinguishing a campfire”

Arizona State Parks says, “The cost to attend for the weekend will be $90 per family of 4, which includes park admission and camping gear. (Includes tents, sleeping mats, chairs, camp stoves, flashlights and backpacks.) Families will be responsible for providing their own food, bedding, sleeping bag or quilt , etc. Children must be six years or older.

Arizona State Parks says, “If you would like your family to participate in this incredible opportunity at one of the select state parks, please email Louis Juers at ljuers@azstateparks.gov or by calling 480-261 -9154.