Basecamp (Journey to Oregon)

I’m including this post in the “Frugal Living” section because I have moved to Oregon and am attempting to live here without renting an apartment or a house. This is my first attempt at living rent-free and lease-free and I’m very excited for it. The steps I took are unique to my situation, but can be applied to others who are moving or even looking to simplify/save some money in your current hometown.

The reason that I’m resisting renting is because my work schedule requires frequent overnight travel and camping, so I wouldn’t be “home” most days out of a month anyway. Most of the summer I will be working an 8/6 schedule, meaning a rotation of working ten-hour days for eight days straight and then six days off. I plan to travel, backpack, and hike during my six days off. “Rent” is being reallocated for overnight accommodations during travel, such as camping fees, Airbnb, and will still hopefully amount to less than the cost of standard rent and utilities.


It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t preface this with some advantages that are allowing me to attempt this lifestyle. First of all, my boyfriend is also doing this with me because we were able to land the same job. I feel safe car-camping at most established campgrounds, but without his consistent company, I’m not sure that I’d feel as safe and secure for a whole summer.

Secondly, we already had 90% of the gear and equipment that we needed to live out of a tent because outdoor exploration and camping were already hobbies of ours. We accumulated these items over several years and have combined them to work effectively as a team. We will continue to evaluate items and systems that we could improve and let go of those that don’t turn out to be useful. I will be discussing my favorite gear and our day-to-day operations in more detail in future posts.

Lastly, we are both very frugal by nature and have some savings set aside in case of an emergency. Neither of us have ever set foot in the corporate world and this lifestyle isn’t funded by a former high-salary job. We both come from middle class families and work in environmental conservation. We are splitting costs.


With every move, there is a process one must undertake to establish themselves as a local yokel in a new place. Yes, becoming a true local occurs over decades, not days, but there are still steps everyone must take to settle in.

Lakeview Storage unit
Storage Unit

Because our cars were packed to the brim, our first step upon arrival was to rent a storage unit. The company we used operates almost completely online and with a code entry on the warehouse door, so we were able to register everything online and by phone. We had to take one of the only ones available, so $70/mo for a unit is more than we had anticipated, but still less than rent. We are on a waiting list for a smaller, $20/mo unit. We store our non-perishable food here and visit our unit frequently to swap out gear, clothes, and food depending on our needs for the week and upcoming trips.

After lightening our load, we went to set up camp. Before departing for Oregon, I had found an RV park online that has space for tent camping. It also has nice bathrooms, showers, laundry, and wifi.

We met with the owner and paid for a couple nights of camping. At $20/night, $110/week, and $214/month, the monthly deal was clearly the best. However, we held off on claiming a spot for the month because our work schedule is still pending and will determine the best living situation for us.

Base Camp RV Park Oregon
Our new backyard

A few hundred yards beyond this photo is our new neighbor, a geyser! Every couple of hours, a steaming hot jet stream shoots up from the ground in the distance.

In addition to my regular tent and gear, I had won a camping package from my last job. My intention was to try to sell it right away, but after accepting the job in Oregon, I thought it might come in handy.

It came with a ridiculous 11-person cabin tent that I never thought I would use in my life, but here I am living in it. It’s tall enough to stand up in and spacious enough to host a small hot-yoga class and a dog birthday party.

It took about 30 minutes for the two of us to put it up the first time, but it should go faster next time.

11 person tent base camp (2)
The size rivals some of the RV’s in the park


11 person tent inside (2)
Left: sunroom, Right: master bedroom

My camping grand prize package also came with a fold-out grilling table and a two-burner Coleman stove. We set up the table in the main room to use as a desk. Some of these posts have been sent while huddling in my camp chair in the tent.

Josh in tent
Don’t forget to call your mother!

Moving would never be complete without making sure to call your family to let them know you’re alive.

Without a proper home address to use, we next sought out a P.O. Box. The cost was $35 for 3 months, which comes to about $12/mo.

Lakeview Post Office (1)
P.O. Boxes













We then walked next door to the library, home to the all-powerful, free wifi. We hung out for a while in the section of local books. I ogled my favorite section, which was the shelf of local field guides. Without proof of residence, a 3-month library card would be $15. It’s free if I can show proof of residence. As of now I don’t need to check anything out and the wifi is accessible for everyone, so I’m holding off on getting a card or pushing for an Oregon driver’s license.

Lakeview Library
Some Local Insights

Lastly, we checked out the only grocery store in town and signed up for their free club card that actually gives you great discounts at check-out. We also found that we can look forward to the cheaper costs of certain produce since it’s grown in the northwest!

Lakeview strawberries grocery store
Northwest Perks

Costs in Review:

$40 Indoor Storage Unit (registration + pro-rate)

$40 2 Nights Campground

$35 P.O. Box (covers 3 months)

Total Set-up Costs (not including travel there): $115

Stay tuned to see how we do in April!

3 thoughts on “Basecamp (Journey to Oregon)”

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