I am a big fan of camping. For me, it is the most primitive and natural way of living. In 2016, I camped for 2 straight months in Patagonia, in the south of Argentina and Chile. And, to get to camp for free is a great plus while traveling

How to camp for free: The Essentials

The Gear

The essentials for camping are – a tent and a sleeping bag. Although, a torch and a yoga mat do help.

Rent a Tent vs Buy a Tent

There are national parks and campgrounds that rent tents. But, I believe it is better to own your own tent. It is better investment and it will payoff. And, it is actually essential if you want to camp for free. If you are concerned about tent costs then invest in a cheap (< $50) or medium ($50-$150) tent. I camped for 2 straight months in Patagonia with a $15 Walmart tent that I bought in the summer of 2012. So, no need to blow your budget unless you will be camping in extreme weather

$15 Walmart Tent

$15 Walmart Tent

Types of Camping

1. National Park Camping

This is by far the most common kind of camping. You camp in designated campgrounds in national parks. The facilities depend on the park. The cost of camping varies. Some parks allow you to camp for free while others charge a fee. Some even provide hot-showers, WiFi (really, why?), BBQ grills and other luxuries

2. Wild Camping or Backcountry Camping

This is freedom at its best. This means you can camp just about anywhere. Imagine camping at a glacial lake at the height of 5000 meters in the Peruvian Andes all by yourself and free of cost.
Although, the law differs from place to place. Make sure to check that Wild Camping is legal where you planning on pitching the tent. Also, ensure your safety from wild animals and even wilder robbers

3. Beach Camping

Yes, camping isn’t just for mountains and grasslands. You can unzip the tent to a sun dipping in the ocean. This is one of my favorites. I camped on the beach in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay for 4 nights. I witnessed the tango between the moon light and the Atlantic and I sipped coffee as the waves delivered the sunshine to my feet

4. Wooden Lodges

Some national parks have wooden lodges with varying degrees of comfort and amenities. They are usually available at an economical price with some even being free. The experience here is truly magnificent. I highly recommend it

5. Glamping

Commercialize camping to satiate the tourists without sacrificing luxury.

How to find campsites?

Unlike hotels and hostels, camping isn’t widespread. Hence, it takes some effort to find campsites. There is no one website that covers the campsites of the entire world. But, that is the beauty of it. You discover campsites on your own. Never be shy, ask a person with a garden or a farmer, if you can camp in their property. In small towns and villages you can even try camping in the playgrounds. Asking will get you a FREE site to camp. These choices do come with some risks but follow your senses and you should be OK.

Here are some other options to find camp-sites in
1. Pitchup – North America, South America, Europe, the UK and South Africa

2. Reserve America, Recreation Govt – The US

3. Panam Notes – selected South American campsites

4. Camping Canada – Canada

5. Quest Connect – Mexico & Central America

6. Euro Campings, Camping Info – Europe & the UK

7. Camping Europe – Western Europe & Scandinavia

8. Camp SA – Selected campsites in Africa

9. Australian CampsitesWiki Camps – Australia

10. New Zealand Camping, Rankers NZ – New Zealand


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