I think some people have this misconception of camping as an inexpensive hobby. You’re just going out into the woods and pitching a tent, how much can that cost? Well, the truth is even if you are backpacking it can add up to as much as staying in a hotel for the duration of your trip. That ultra-light gear usually comes with a hefty price tag because experienced backpackers know it’s worth the extra dollars to shave even a few pounds off the weight of their pack. If you’re car camping or glamping in an RV you can bring a lot more gear, which adds up to a lot more as well.
So, what’s the solution here? I’m absolutely not suggesting that you give up your camping dreams. In fact I would encourage more people to take the time to spend a few days away from it all and unplug in nature. You just need to be smart with your shopping, use coupon codes if you can find them, and be clever about where you make your purchases. There are a few online stores where you can purchase discounted camping gear, my personal favourite is Ebay. There are a few things to keep in mind and watch out for that I’d like to cover in this article.
Don’t count out used gear
I think we have another misconception here that ‘used’ = ‘bad’ or ‘low quality’. Quite the contrary, good quality equipment is built to last, we all have that uncle who is still using the same canvas tent that he bought in 1973, right? And a lot of people jump headfirst into camping and buying all the gear only to discover that well…camping is not really for them. I don’t understand those people, but apparently they are out there. So you might have some really nice gear that has only been used once or twice. The used equipment typically also comes with big discounts over a brand new item. It varies from site to site and from item to item, but I’ve seen discounts of up to 90% off what you would see in a retail store.
Since we are all campers here who enjoy spending time in unspoiled nature, let’s consider the sustainability factor as well. Do you really want to see gently used (or sometimes even just bought and returned) camping gear ending up in the landfill when it’s still perfectly workable? We know we have finite resources here on this planet, and we want our grandkids to be able to enjoy it the way we did. We need to be the best stewards that we can in that case, and that includes avoiding overconsumption and buying something new just for the sake of it being new.
That being said, you can also find new equipment listed on Ebay as well. A lot of retailers maintain an ‘Ebay store’, particularly during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic when it’s just safer to do business online. You probably won’t get much of a discount, if any, but it is there. Ebay actually does run site-wide discount codes every now and again, and specific sellers will have their own from time to time as well, so there may be opportunities for saving there.
Know how to spot suspicious listings
Shopping on Ebay is in general quite safe, and they are definitely friendly towards the consumer in instances of fraud so if you do run into trouble you should be able to get your money back. But who wants to deal with that headache? There are a few simple things you can look for to minimize your risk and spot potential scams before it’s too late.
First off is the seller’s feedback. After somebody makes a purchase with a seller and the item is delivered (or not), the customer has the opportunity to leave a review of the seller and rate their service out of 5. If the seller has a very strong rating with lots of positive reviews, you are likely good to go. If they have a middling rating I recommend reading through the reviews. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are not ordering a full set of something, or the colour was different than the pictures, or they just seem straight up unreasonable. There is just no pleasing some people. Use your judgement in this case, and if it seems like the seller is generally trustworthy and people just weren’t reading the product listing properly or something like that then you are probably okay to make a purchase. If their rating is low and they have a lot of negative reviews, stay away no matter how good the price seems.
The second thing to check for is where is the item shipping from? Now I’m not saying that all of the sellers out of China are suspect and not to be trusted, but there are higher incidences of fraud with sellers from non-North American countries as there isn’t really much Ebay can do about them aside from chargeback and close their account. As I mentioned before, you will likely get your money back if you are a victim of fraud on Ebay, but it is a process and it takes time. It could be 30 days or more before you receive a refund. Now if the seller is from a foreign country and has a stellar rating with lots of reviews? It’s probably a safe bet and you can go ahead and order. keds promo code.
As with most things in life, you just need to use your head a little. If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Have fun on your trip!
I truly believe that camping is one of life’s joys so I hope you have a great time on your trip! Make smart purchasing decisions to get your gear for less, and you’ll be able to go often.