Welcome to My Money, My RV, where we look at the true costs of RVing through the eyes of real RVers—from their purchasing journey to a day-by-day camping trip budget.
In the fall of 2020, we set out on a pandemic-friendly camping trip to one of Canada’s coveted national parks.
The Overall Cost of Our RV
We travel in a 2014 Host Mammoth truck camper that we bought used and in full for $31,000 CAD (approximately $24,500 USD). We bought the camper on Kijiji, an online marketplace. Previously I’ve owned a pop-up camper and my partner has owned other RVs. So far we haven’t renovated it—this is a newer purchase, so we’re waiting to break it in and see what projects we want to do.
We’ve spent approximately $5,000 CAD ($3,930 USD) on making long-term upgrades and working toward getting set up for boondocking and off-grid camping, so it’s been more costly in the first few years. On average we spend about $3,000 CAD ($2,358 USD) annually on maintenance as it’s an older camper and needs some TLC.
Before heading out on a trip, we evaluate if we will be eating out or cooking at the campground, how many days we’ll be camping for, and if we’ll be renting gear or bringing along our own.
RV Travel Log: Bruce Peninsula National Park
- Destination: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario, Canada
- Number of travelers: 2
- Trip length: 3 nights, 4 days
- Overall budget: $600 CAD/$472 USD (and we stuck to it!)
- Total spent on gas: $160 CAD/$126 USD (for diesel and propane)
- Total spent on food per day: We spent about $125 CAD/$98 USD total on groceries, which included all our meals and drinks during the trip.
- Nightly campsite fee: $32 CAD/$25 USD
- Total spent on recreational activities: We brought our own stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) gear, and hiking in this iconic spot was included in our camping fees.
- Most expensive cost of the trip: $160 CAD/$126 USD on fuel.
October 24, 2020
- Groceries: $125 CAD/$98 USD
Daily Total: $125 CAD/$98 USD
Early in the morning, we saw a campsite available and booked it immediately—there must have been a cancellation. All of the sites were booked the day before, especially with operating at half capacity due to the pandemic. Once the non-electrical site was confirmed, we packed up, bought propane, and then drove 275 kilometers (about 170 miles) north to Bruce Peninsula National Park.
We picked up groceries on the way and arrived just after dark. Unfortunately, the site we arrived at was not suitable for our camper—it wasn’t level, even though it was listed as flat. Thankfully, we were able to switch sites just before the camp office closed.
I took Rex and Zoe, our German shepherds, for their usual late-night walks, but this was special because it was their first truck camper sleepover experience.
October 25, 2020
We woke up early to a spectacular view of Cyprus Lake as we could see it right from our campsite. We hiked to The Grotto, an iconic national landmark with towering cliffs and rocky shorelines with a view of a natural sea cave on the stunningly blue Georgian Bay. We enjoyed time around a campfire while listening to the dogs snore after a long day of adventuring.
October 26, 2020
I fulfilled my dream of stand-up paddleboarding at The Grotto. I started my hike early in the morning with all of my gear—our campsite was already 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) into the hike, so that helped—and I got to enjoy the beautiful spot before the crowds got there. Before leaving The Grotto, a photographer took some of the most magical photos of me paddling, which made this trip extra special.
For the rest of the day, I worked inside the camper while enjoying the sound of rain falling around us. To be able to adventure comfortably and work from our adventure basecamp is one of the reasons why we purchased a truck camper. That night, we celebrated our successful work-from-camp adventure with the last of the drinks we brought.
October 27, 2020
Another day of bad weather, but we packed rain gear so we stayed dry. We enjoyed the vibrant fall colors before packing things up and headed back to the city.
Final Total: $380.50 CAD/$300 USD