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Dollar Store Finds for Camping

dollarstorecampingWhen we took our new-to-us pop-up camper out on our first trip a couple of weeks ago there were a lot of things we needed to stock it with for the weekend. The whole point of purchasing the camper was to ultimately stretch our family travel budget, so I didn’t want to break the bank buying supplies. I made a list of everything we needed, and before I hit my regular spots, Meijer, Walmart and Target, I went to the Dollar Store. Here’s what I found:

1. Plastic Tableware – You’ll probably want to use disposable dishes most of the time, but depending on what you’re eating you may want something a little sturdier sometimes.  You may also want to be environmentally friendly or save money not re-buying paper products all the time.

I found plastic plates, cups and bowls at the Dollar Store. The plates and bowls came in packs of four for $1 and the bowls came in packs of three. You can also buy bags of disposable forks and spoons. They were plenty strong and cost a dollar less than the same 48 count at the big box stores. I also bought a plastic tablecloth for the picnic table at our site and a pack of extra-large clothes pin clips to clamp the tablecloth down so it wouldn’t blow away. When the weekend was over I kept the clips and just tossed the tablecloth.

2. Sand Toys – We were camping near the beach and the Dollar Store had all kinds of pails, shovels and other beach toys for sale. I stocked up, and now we have plenty for the summer. They also have water toys like pool noodles, goggles and squirt guns.

3. Glow in the dark toys – It’s rare the boys are up after dark, but I knew camping they would be. It’s an extra-special treat, so I found glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces to make it even more fun.

4. Seasonal decorations – They had Americana-themed battery operated paper lanterns, garlands and other decorations. I bought the lanterns to hang on our camper awning, and it looked really cute at night. I think I’ll go back and see if they have more for our Fourth of July trip.

5. Kitchen tools – It’s a lot easier if you have doubles of things you take camping, so you’re not constantly taking things between your camper and your house. The dollar store has all kinds of kitchen stuff: measuring cups, measuring spoons, stirring and serving spoons, knives. You name it, they probably have it for a dollar. I also found a small wash basin. Since we only have a one-sided sink in the camper, I used the basin for rinse water.

6. Cleaning supplies – I found brooms, dust pans, mops, towels to use for rags and inexpensive all-purpose cleaners. Kids will track all kinds of dirt into your camper. You’ll need the cleaning supplies.

They did have paper products at the Dollar Store, but that was one thing that wasn’t a good buy. The packs were small and weren’t a good deal compared to other stores.

Most of the things I bought were good quality, even though they were inexpensive. Some things were small like the wash basin, but that’s OK. You want small since you don’t have a lot of space in your camper. They weren’t fancy either, but we weren’t exactly glamping with two little boys in tow, so that was fine too.

Are you a Dollar Store shopper? Have anything to add to the list?

18 Responses to Dollar Store Finds for Camping

  1. Dollar stores also carry all kinds of sizes & shapes of aluminum pans. I stock in my RV several varieties, as well as something I would describe as grill liners. They’re flat aluminum, rectangular, kind of the size of a cookie sheet, and have approximately 1/2 inch sized holes all over. They’re great for using on campsite or public grills. Your food gets cooked, but isn’t touching the actual (nasty) grill.

    Your suggestions above are dandy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the mesh laundry bags for the dirty laundry. When you get home you just take the bag right to the laundry room.

  3. We bought a long handled grabber meant for getting cans and other objects off high shelves. It was really too flimsy for cans but works great for opening and closing the front windshield curtain in the motor home.

  4. I found puzzle books, playing cards, and travel size games. Must haves when you are stuck inside your camper on a rainy day!
    Large size grilling utensils and pot holders and inexpensive disposable food containers (no washing necessary! )

  5. I use the plastic plates and bowls as liners for the paper plates. It makes them more sturdy. Also plastic quart size bags are great for leftovers. Buy a laundry pop up (the ones that twist and collapse) line it with a trash bag. I use clothes pins to hold it in place.

  6. I have a hard-sided 1970’s pop up and I bought some wall decals to ad a little touch of home to my “glamper”. Also, drawer organizers are great. Oh and a shower hanging basket as a spice rack. 🙂

  7. I pick up all of my solar toys and Solar lights from the dollar store, I’ve also picked up the smaller bottles of sanitizer. What I do with the sanitizer is I put them out around the camp site so that when someone’s hands get messy they can get them cleaned off as quickly as possible.

  8. Some dollar stores have the hanging shelves or shoe holders that normally hang in a bedroom closet. Get a few of those and hang them from the roof cross bars. Instant shelving your games, flashlights, bread, chips, whatever. And when your done leave them up. When you close the popup, they’ll collapse on themselves, ready for the next trip.

  9. you need to check out paper supplies again we carry bounty basic paper towels and other brand names too I work there and get all my camping supplies there

  10. dollar store has clothesline or twine, good for hanging stuff between two trees, and get clothespins too. tie knots on that rope to keep the pins from sliding. grab a plastic table cloth cover for that picnic table.

  11. Cheap batteries and flash lights.
    Matches and disposable lighters.
    Super glue and duct tape (for light tent/backpack repairs, emergency medical instead of stitches)
    Plastic shoe boxes for storage.
    Basic first aid items (store in a shoe box)
    Socks – if you ruin them, so what?

    • Just watch the expiration dates on batteries at Dollar Stores! They tend to get the discards and many batteries won’t work – or not for long..

  12. We use the solar garden lights from the dollar store to mark the tent ropes so they don’t become a trip hazard. They are also good to light the path to the latrine.

  13. Pool noodles or glow sticks in the tent ropes for better visibility. And glow sticks in the outhouse…miracle! Throw them in the urinal, so you can see where you’re going, literally!

  14. Pop-up mesh laundry hampers, stick a large garbage bag in there and whala, you have yourself a place for empties/garbage! no more tying the garbage bag to an awning or tree.
    I also get my dog leads at the dollar store and cheap beach towels for dog and boat!

    Glow sticks and bubbles 😛

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