For campers on a budget, shopping for camping gear is often a nerve-wracking experience. Quality camping equipment isn’t cheap to obtain, especially if you’re forced to purchase items like tents and backpacking equipment at their full retail prices.
It’s pretty commonplace for a camper to drop thousands of dollars on a camping setup, especially when you factor in other costs such as hunting licenses and food. But, it doesn’t have to be that way if you know when and where to look for camping goods.
We’ve got the inside scoop on shopping for camping equipment, using sales trends and general retailer information to create a handy how-to guide for your next outdoor equipment spending spree.
Let’s get started by look at the five best times of year to make big camping gear purchases.
The 5 Best Times Of Year To Purchase Camping Gear
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday
The four-day weekend after Thanksgiving is a great time for budget-conscious campers to search for discounted camping equipment. You can either head over to a brick-and-mortar retailer like REI or Cabela’s to check out their Black Friday sales or log on to your favorite online marketplace (or camping site) to search for Cyber Monday deals as they’re made available.
While there are better times of year for widespread discounts on all sorts of camping essentials, the weekend after Thanksgiving isn’t a bad time to start.
- Amazon Prime Day
Amazon shoppers like you and me are starting to treat Amazon Prime Day like a mid-year Black Friday. And, that’s for good reason! Usually starting on July 15th, Amazon Prime Day usually spans a few days and offers slashed prices on everything from canteens to camping coffee percolators.
Need a new kayak for your next river excursion? Looking for some new hiking boots before you hit the trails? Amazon Prime Day is a good time to find all sorts of camping goodies at reduced price points.
- End Of Summer/ Winter Camping Seasons
Late August and early September mark the end of summer camping season in North America. During this time, summer camping goods like hammocks and lighter sleeping bags are often placed on sale for well under their normal retail markups.
In late March and early April, the winter camping season begins to wind down — leading to huge discounts on winter gear such as insulated hiking boots and snow caps. If you have the forethought to purchase gear at the end of one season in anticipation of the next, you can save a lot of money!
- Late December/Early January
For big-box camping retailers and smaller shops alike, the period after Christmas is often a lean one. Because of this, companies often put together major sales on camping equipment to entice shoppers to come out of their late-year slumber and spend some money.
If you’ve got a bit of holiday money in your coffers and want to take advantage of a buyers’ marketplace, reserve some of your biggest camping goods purchases for the turn of the year. You can load up on supplies for much less than you’d pay at other times!
While it might seem counter-intuitive to shop for camping equipment at the start of the traditional camping season, it’s the smartest time for camping enthusiasts to look for steep discounts on essential outdoor gear.
“With Father’s Day falling in June, shoppers historically see more consistent and stronger deals on outdoor gear versus any other month of the year,” RetailMeNot research expert Sara Skirboll recently told CNBC’s Make It. “Retailers who sell camping gear offer savings as deep as 50 percent off.”
With a guaranteed audience out and about and looking for camping equipment deals, online and brick-and-mortar stores slash prices on camping goods to boost mid-year sales numbers. Be sure to pay attention to emails and coupon inserts around this time and plan your shopping trips accordingly.
How Much Can I Save On Camping Gear?
It just depends on when and where you look! Online camping retailers like Camp Saver and Backcountry offer periodic sales with discounts that range from 15% to 80% on clearance items. Other online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers offer similar sales throughout the calendar year.
You can always pick and choose certain sales, keeping your eyes on correspondence from your favorite camping supply companies throughout the year. Or, you can look for the best deals at the right times of the year and save anywhere from 15% to 50% (or more) on your entire camping supply setup!
A Few Tips On Securing Discounted Camping Equipment
If you’re looking for an added edge at the cash register of your local camping equipment store, here are a few insider’s tips for getting the best bang for outdoor gear buck:
- Don’t jump headfirst into a camping equipment deal until you survey that company’s competitors. Equipment manufacturers often strike widespread deals with multiple companies to offer discounted items at a certain time of year. Instead of jumping on the first camping goods sale you see, do your homework and look for limited-time sales specific to a certain retailer.
- Be flexible and think long-term. You may be on the lookout for hiking boots when hiking poles hit the sale racks. But, you may need both for your next camping season’s exploits! If you know you’re going to get use out of a sharply-discounted item, consider buying it and figuring out the particulars later.
- Sign up for sales updates from your favorite camping equipment retailers. Not only will you be notified of new sales, but you’ll often receive coupons and incentives that can dramatically reduce your shopping bill.
Smart shoppers spend less. If you approach your camping gear wish list with a critical eye and hunt for bargains at the right time of year, you can save thousands of dollars and still venture out to your heart’s content!