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Old 01-22-10, 05:09 PM   #1
TXbikerider
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Camping Gear at Discount Prices

I'm trying to find a good place online or in the Houston area to buy top quality camping gear (tent, bags, pads, stove) at discount prices. Any ideas?

I've browsed the forum and seen other discussions on places to buy gear, but when I checked, it didn't seem that any of them sold gear at deep discounts. i.e., places like REI, Nashbar, Perfomance, bikebagshop, jensonusa, wiggle, thetouringstore. I've also checked Houston area retailers like REI and Whole Earth Provision Company and they don't have discounts except on clearance items which don't match what I'm looking for. Cheaper stores like Academy Sports only offer lower end camping gear and primarily aimed at car campers. I've also tried googling "discount backpacking gear"

I realize that sometimes buying at retail prices is worth it when you get a lot of help from knowledgeable staff, or when you think you might want to return the gear if not happy with it. But if you're doing your research online and know what you want, and if you are buying a complete camping kit for 2 people and buying lightweight high quality gear--thus spending over $1000--finding a place that offers significant discounts is worth it! I assume REI will soon have their annual "20% off one item" sale for members, and I might use that for the tent, but I'd like at least that much off everything!

Appreciate any suggestions you may have...
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Old 01-22-10, 05:17 PM   #2
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These guys often have decent prices. I've ordered from them in the past without hassle.http://www.campmor.com/

Good idea on the tent... Getting something like that from Rei can be a blessing if it has a problem.
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Old 01-22-10, 05:35 PM   #3
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Do you have an army surplus store in your area? That's where I got my sleeping bags and a number of my other bits and pieces.

How about dollar stores? It might be the wrong season just now, but when I was putting together my camping gear, the dollar store near me brought in a bunch of camping stuff and sold it all off for $1 an item. These were the little things like waterproof pouches, salt and pepper shakers, etc. ... the stuff you'd get in a Canadian Tire or Walmart, only priced much lower.

I got my panniers from my LBS, and they were less expensive than anything I found at Nashbar or MEC, so sometimes the LBS has great deals.

You might also check MEC. You'd have to pay for shipping, but sometimes they have pretty good sales.

Basically, I did a lot of shopping around and picking up bits and pieces here and there.


Oh, if you're headed to Europe, you might want to wait and buy your stuff at Decathlon. We did that with a tent ... we came to Europe with everything but a tent and only very limited clothing, and bought the tent and some clothing at Decathlon when we arrived.
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Old 01-22-10, 06:35 PM   #4
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sierra trading post can be great too. I look here and campmor when searching for stuff.
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Old 01-22-10, 06:38 PM   #5
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Yes, Sierra Trading Post is another place I've gotten stuff. And they're fast ... you're just hanging up the phone and the door bell rings with the courier outside with your package!! Well, OK, not quite that fast, but anywhere from about 3-5 days to get something from their location to Canada is pretty good.
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Old 01-22-10, 06:40 PM   #6
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i've used http://www.campsaver.com/
picked up a big anges seedhouse SL2 at a decent price from them.
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Old 01-22-10, 07:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the quick responses! I'll check these guys out. I've heard of both Campmor and Sierra Trading Post but hadn't looked there.
BTW, Eric, the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3 is one of the ones I'm seriously considering. I like the weight and the ventilation (I live in Texas). Any sense yet of how durable it is?
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Old 01-22-10, 07:11 PM   #8
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sierra trading post and campmor are both really good but if you find what you want model/size/color/ect. then you need to buy it quickly because they sell out of stuff fast. REI is decent but very stingy. check out www.moosejaw.com they run some good sales
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Old 01-22-10, 07:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TXbikerider View Post
Thanks for the quick responses! I'll check these guys out. I've heard of both Campmor and Sierra Trading Post but hadn't looked there.
BTW, Eric, the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3 is one of the ones I'm seriously considering. I like the weight and the ventilation (I live in Texas). Any sense yet of how durable it is?
I've only had it for 3(?) months and camped with it twice, so my experience with it is limited. Saying that, I don't have any complaints so far. Super easy set up, not too heavy and a versatile. tent. In a month or so I plan on taking some weekend bike/camp trips to get more experience with it (and other equipment)
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Old 01-22-10, 08:35 PM   #10
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Campmor, Sierra Trading Post, REI closeouts and Cabelas Bargain Cave, then anywhere else I find it on sale. I got my Ortlieb Classic Rollers at about 60% off retail from REI because they were last years model Like I care about that!

I keep a master list of items that I think I want, if I happen to see them pop up for sale I decide if I really want them bad enough to spend the money right then, if so I get them. Some things on the list may never get purchased and my needs and wants change over time.

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Old 01-23-10, 02:32 PM   #11
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Campmor specials are very good.
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Old 01-23-10, 11:13 PM   #12
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http://www.backcountryoutlet.com/
http://www.rei.com/outlet
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Old 01-23-10, 11:37 PM   #13
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the 'one deal at a time' websites can have really great deals. Make sure you don't get addicted!
http://www.steepandcheap.com/
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Old 01-24-10, 12:46 AM   #14
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And there's ebay.
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Old 01-24-10, 10:24 AM   #15
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And there's ebay.
+1

There's plenty of used camping equipment that people have used a few times and then put into storage. They bring it out a few years later and put it on eBay (or Craigslist).
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Old 01-24-10, 10:31 AM   #16
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Here is a couple that outfitted for their trip very inexpensively. They did an impressive job.

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Old 01-24-10, 11:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXbikerider View Post
I'm trying to find a good place online or in the Houston area to buy top quality camping gear (tent, bags, pads, stove) at discount prices. Any ideas?

I've browsed the forum and seen other discussions on places to buy gear, but when I checked, it didn't seem that any of them sold gear at deep discounts. i.e., places like REI, Nashbar, Perfomance, bikebagshop, jensonusa, wiggle, thetouringstore. I've also checked Houston area retailers like REI and Whole Earth Provision Company and they don't have discounts except on clearance items which don't match what I'm looking for. Cheaper stores like Academy Sports only offer lower end camping gear and primarily aimed at car campers. I've also tried googling "discount backpacking gear"

I realize that sometimes buying at retail prices is worth it when you get a lot of help from knowledgeable staff, or when you think you might want to return the gear if not happy with it. But if you're doing your research online and know what you want, and if you are buying a complete camping kit for 2 people and buying lightweight high quality gear--thus spending over $1000--finding a place that offers significant discounts is worth it! I assume REI will soon have their annual "20% off one item" sale for members, and I might use that for the tent, but I'd like at least that much off everything!

Appreciate any suggestions you may have...
I don't think that Houston is much different from anywhere else, in that sometimes you need a mix of places to get the best deals.

Start with army surplus, the armed forces needs good quality equipment that needs to fit in a solders backpack, so it can't be bulky or very heavy. If a sleeping bag can do 2 tours of Iraq and a tour of Afghanistan, without falling apart it can probably handle a bike tour. Fleabay (my name for ebay) is another place you may find cheaper gear. Classified adverts, newspapers, Craigslist are other places. Internet retailers, although you need to be careful here and with Fleabay, you have to include the cost of shipping and handling in the price. An item that as $25 at a local store, but $19.95 online looks like a good deal, until you realise that S&H adds $10.

Sometimes local stores can be good deals, especially if there is an "off season" for camping, I am quite a bit further North then you are, and the camping season basically ends after our Thanksgiving, (second Monday in October), this means from mid-September until the end of October, the stores are trying to clear out what they can, so 20% isn't an uncommon discount, after Christmas those discounts can be 50% or more.

Some stuff can be home made, like the soda-can stove.

Stuff that can serve multiple purposes, for example a pot with a lid that can be used as a frying pan, saves the cost, weight and bulk of a frying pan and a kettle.

Stuff where you have something that will work already, a good example is a fork and spoon from the kitchen drawer rather then a special spork at the camping store. This applies quite often with clothing as well.

Stuff you can live without, eliminate it, saves the entire cost.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:39 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TXbikerider View Post
I'm trying to find a good place online or in the Houston area to buy top quality camping gear (tent, bags, pads, stove) at discount prices. Any ideas?

I've browsed the forum and seen other discussions on places to buy gear, but when I checked, it didn't seem that any of them sold gear at deep discounts. i.e., places like REI, Nashbar, Perfomance, bikebagshop, jensonusa, wiggle, thetouringstore. I've also checked Houston area retailers like REI and Whole Earth Provision Company and they don't have discounts except on clearance items which don't match what I'm looking for. Cheaper stores like Academy Sports only offer lower end camping gear and primarily aimed at car campers. I've also tried googling "discount backpacking gear"

I realize that sometimes buying at retail prices is worth it when you get a lot of help from knowledgeable staff, or when you think you might want to return the gear if not happy with it. But if you're doing your research online and know what you want, and if you are buying a complete camping kit for 2 people and buying lightweight high quality gear--thus spending over $1000--finding a place that offers significant discounts is worth it! I assume REI will soon have their annual "20% off one item" sale for members, and I might use that for the tent, but I'd like at least that much off everything!

Appreciate any suggestions you may have...
I don't think that Houston is much different from anywhere else, in that sometimes you need a mix of places to get the best deals.

Start with army surplus, the armed forces needs good quality equipment that needs to fit in a solders backpack, so it can't be bulky or very heavy. If a sleeping bag can do 2 tours of Iraq and a tour of Afghanistan, without falling apart it can probably handle a bike tour. Fleabay (my name for ebay) is another place you may find cheaper gear. Classified adverts, newspapers, Craigslist are other places. Internet retailers, although you need to be careful here and with Fleabay, you have to include the cost of shipping and handling in the price. An item that as $25 at a local store, but $19.95 online looks like a good deal, until you realise that S&H adds $10.

Sometimes local stores can be good deals, especially if there is an "off season" for camping, I am quite a bit further North then you are, and the camping season basically ends after our Thanksgiving, (second Monday in October), this means from mid-September until the end of October, the stores are trying to clear out what they can, so 20% isn't an uncommon discount, after Christmas those discounts can be 50% or more.

Some stuff can be home made, like the soda-can stove.

Stuff that can serve multiple purposes, for example a pot with a lid that can be used as a frying pan, saves the cost, weight and bulk of a frying pan and a kettle.

Stuff where you have something that will work already, a good example is a fork and spoon from the kitchen drawer rather then a special spork at the camping store. This applies quite often with clothing as well.

Stuff you can live without, eliminate it, saves the entire cost.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:50 AM   #19
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Watch gearattack.com It covers steep and cheap as well as some bicycle deal sites. Shipping is usually very cheap and you don't pay tax.
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Old 01-25-10, 06:14 AM   #20
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There's a place here in Vermont, Outdoor Gear Exchange - www.gearx.com. Not as big as some of those other guys, but they have great deals. Since its local, I shop their store, but sometimes it could be worth a call to them to see if they have what you are looking for or if they'd match a price from another place.
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Old 01-25-10, 07:18 AM   #21
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the 'one deal at a time' websites can have really great deals. Make sure you don't get addicted!
http://www.steepandcheap.com/
Yeah, they have some pretty good deals, but watch the shipping costs. Sometimes they are bad enough to cancel out any savings especially on lower priced items.
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Old 01-25-10, 07:55 PM   #22
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I agree with Campmor, Sierra Trading Post, and REI. REI stores (brick and mortar) have quarterly warehouse sales where they sell returned gear that has been removed from packaging. Some of it is pretty beat up, but I purchase a nice tent (older, but well-cared for REI half dome) for $20, trail hikers for $5, and winter biking gloves for $15. You have to be member to shop these sales, but it only costs $20 for a lifetime membership. Check your store for when the sale is, and get there very early (when I went, there were 250 people waiting to get in, and they let people into the store in waves of about 30-40).
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Old 01-25-10, 10:27 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by eric von zipper View Post
i've used http://www.campsaver.com/
picked up a big anges seedhouse SL2 at a decent price from them.
+1, especially when they run one of their 20% off sales.
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Old 01-25-10, 10:50 PM   #24
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Join REI and get a dividend of around 10% on all your full price purchases at the end of the year. Get the REI Visa card and get another 5% in store credit on all REI purchases each year. The REI card also gets you a store credit equal to 1% of all your purchases each year. Not quite the 20% that you wanted, but close. At a certain point the time and gas money that you spend chasing discounts starts to eat into the savings you think you're getting.
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