Ah, the dollar store.
Some love it, and some hate it.
And while I would love to say that I only buy durable, quality items, the truth is that in same cases I love the dollar store, and for other items, I absolutely abhorr it.
When it comes to camping, through, picking up cheap disposable camping gear at the dollar store has become one of my absolute favorite things to do. Stressing less about what gets broken, forgotten, lost, or crazy dirty isn’t the point of a camping trip – making memories is.
Here is my list of the best camping supplies to buy at dollar tree (there’s a free printable further down) so that you can focus on making memories during you next camping trip rather than keeping track of every little thing you brought with you.
Flexible Cutting Boards
The dollar store has a wide variety of flexible cutting boards that are usually 2/$1. I don’t love them because they’re super durable, I love them because once I’m done cutting on them, I don’t clean them. Instead, I throw them away and thank God for cheap cutting boards.
Tablecloths are must when camping to keep your food and utensils off of the grimey picnic bench. However, just like almost everything on a campsite, that tablecloth will get dirty, and possibly burned and torn. With a dollar store tablecloth you just throw it away when you’re done and have less to clean up
There are two kinds of rope that you should buy at the dollar store in preparation for a camping trip: Polypropylene, and twine.
Polypropylene is bright yellow, lightweight, and floats. If you’re planning to have jet skis, a boat, or canoes in the water, this rope is strong enough to tie them to the shore, and floats on top of the water.
The twine, or thinner rope is great for things like a drying line for swimsuits and towels, or to hand a tarp for a quick shade. Also, if you find one that isn’t made of synthetic materials, it can be used a fire starter.
Duct tape is really good for everything, and at the dollar store they have it in several colors so you can fix and color code your campsite to your heart’s content.
Zip Lock Bags
Zip locks bags found at the dollar store are cheaper for a reason. They’re thinner, but they’re great for camping snacks like trail mix or chips, or for storing paper so they don’t get wet.
If there’s anything you need about 100 of while camping with kids, water bottles are going to be at the top of the list. We can start a trip out with 10 and only go home with one.
So, instead of buying water bottles at Target for $12 a pop, I buy them for $1 each from the dollar store and don’t sweat it when they get lost.
Again, we buy about a million of these because they either get lost, broken, or used to scoop up sand, rocks, or whatever else the kids found on the campground. Eeeeewwww.
Pack a bunch of the dollar store snack containers and you definitely won’t miss out on sweating the small stuff.
The dollar store has tons of small containers for soaps and shampoos in travel sizes. These same containers also work great for foods you only need a little bit of, like herbs, spices, and oils.
Toys – bubbles, beach toys, pool/lake toys
- Butterfly Nets
- Beach toy sets
- Pool Noodles
- Water Guns
- Bug Collecting Supplies
Unfortunately, you can’t get away from doing dishes entirely while camping, but you can make it a bit easier on yourself by buying towels and wash cloths from the dollar store. They also have microfiber cloths, rubber gloves and scrubbing pads. Just throw them all away when you’re packing up to leave.
Who needs expensive rain gear when you can pick up rain ponchos a the dollar store. Not me.
First Aid Supplies
We didn’t buy our first aid kit from the dollar store, but we certainly restock it there. Supplies like band-aids, peroxide, and calamine lotion are all great finds that will save you a pretty penny.
You can never have too many flashlights, lanterns, and glow-sticks filling all of those little hands – and for trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The dollar store has a bunch of different options that can hang from loop in your tent, with LED or regular bulbs, and if you bring your own batteries, you can try them in the store before you buy them.
I love the dollar store for camping gear, not because it’s great quality, but because it’s cheap and disposable. No more worries if stuff gets lost, broken, or dirty beyond what I feel like cleaning. Always take a quick trip to the dollar store before you go camping to make the trip just a little bit easier.
Before you go, grab this free printable for your dollar store camping supplies shopping trip!
What are your favorite camping buys as the dollar store?
‘Til Next Time,