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Summer is just around the corner! School will be out and you may be making plans for summer vacations. Being married to an Eagle Scout, we do our fair share of camping… even in our backyard. The best part: once you have the gear you need, you can take many extremely frugal vacations.
If your family loves to go camping, but you are looking for ways to stick to a budget, check out my 5 tips for saving on camping gear!
Buy Gently Used Gear
Buying gently used gear is one of the easiest ways to save! Using a product that’s only a few years old but still in good condition can save you hundreds of dollars. You can find used gear at garage sales, thrift stores, Ebay or even from friends and family.
Look for Discounts On Gear Websites
There are a number of great gear websites that offer deals on camping gear. You may find that the gear for sale are last year’s model or overstocked items from a company. Even though the products may be last year’s model, they will work just as well and cost much less. You will also find that in addition to already low prices, sites will offer sales throughout the year and discounts when you sign up to receive their email.
Some of the popular camping gear websites include sierratradingpost.com, backcountrygear.com and campmor.com. I have received emails from Sierra Trading Post where you can get an additional 50% off select items! If you do decide to shop on discount gear sites, it wouldn’t hurt to sign up for emails to see the extra deals they offer!
Extra tip: Amazon is another great place to find discounts online and it’s a great place to price check other websites.
Save With An REI Membership
As an REI member, you will receive a refund check for the purchases you have made throughout the year. Each eligible item you buy earns you 10% back at the end of the year. Plus, REI has a 100% satisfaction guarantee that lets you return any item that you are unhappy within one year of purchasing the item. Similar to the discount gear online sites mentioned above, REI has an outlet store online where you can find extra deals, like their deal of the day and deal of the week.
Another perk of being an REI member is early access to Garage Sales. Now this isn’t your typically Saturday garage sale. REI stores host Garage Sales every year on products that have been returned and are slightly used. The prices you will see are crazy! Outdoor enthusiasts will line up at the doors at 4 am just to get to get in on the good deals. If this sounds fun to you, sign up for an REI membership and look for the next Garage Sale on June 13th.
Wait For Seasonal Sales
If you aren’t in a hurry to buy gear right away, wait for a seasonal sale. One of the best times to buy is during Black Friday. Now, you don’t have to stand in line at 2am to get the tent you need, unless you really really want to. Most stores and online retailers offer Black Friday deals online. These deals will likely go fast, but if you have your eye on some gear, this can be a great time to buy!
Make Your Own Gear
If you love DIY projects, then you may interested in making some of your own camping gear. There are hundreds of tutorials online for how to make a portable stove, sewing your own sleeping bag and the list goes on! By making your own gear you can save money, have fun and even save on gear weight.
Looking for more ways to save on camping? Check out my 5 Tips to Save On Campsites!