Off-price camping gear ideas

Wilbah

Adventurer
While I am in the camp that pay once cry once quality items make sense long term I am also a firm believer that I don't ALWAYS need to buy the fanciest most expensive items available. Maybe it's something I will only need a couple of times, or maybe the risk-reward trade-off is minimal such that risk of failure doesn't place me in harms way and I can work around it or make it work. Or maybe simply budgets being what they are its better to go cheap and get out there having fun than saying "I can't afford XYZ" and missing out on getting outside (this is especially true with families/kids etc.).

So here are two ideas for people who are of the same mindset:

1. WalMart seems to have put all their camping gear on sale now:

deals sports and outdoors camping - Walmart.com

No, Ozark Trail doesn't compete with high priced higher quality versions, but a 10 person tent for $99 might be perfect for that family reunion camping trip that only happens once a year or less.

The second place is a retailer I "knew" about but forgot, Sierra. It's owned by TJX (TJ Maxx, Marshalls) and is geared to outdoor gear. Some great prices here for items. If you are familiar with Marshall's it will be similar- they won't have EVERYTHING from soup to nuts, but the items they have should be pretty good bargains.

Camping Gear, Equipment and Supplies | Sierra

As an example, the Avalanche rotomolded coolers (owned by Dometic but now seem to be discontinued) seem a bargain when compared to prices of Yeti& others (70 Liter $249).

I have no ties to either just figured some might be interested in some savings. YMMV.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Yes. The smart play is to spend enough to ensure the thing meets your needs (and isn't being replaced so frequently it ends up costing more), but also not to over-spend.

I will put my Walmart $44 folding card table up against any table from the "big overlanding" companies in a battle of Price/Performance ratio. Certainly it isn't as toughly constructed as the all metal tables, but it's also lighter (less than 1/2), packs smaller, and costs less than one-tenth what some of the other tables cost. When/if it fails, I'll reevaluate the cost/benefit, but so far I'm having trouble imagining a way it will fail so catastrophically as to change my minimal-acceptance-criteria.

I'm still using the same $50 Coleman sleeping bag I bought at Big5 like 15+ years ago. It's comfortable and warm enough for the kind of camping I do regularly. I do own an ultralight 20° mummy bag for backpacking, but using the Coleman nine-trips-out-of-ten both extends the useful life of the mummy bag and is more comfortable when the performance of the mummy bag isn't needed.

Buy quality, sure, but spend the bare minimum to get you on the road and put the rest of the cash into (increasingly expensive) fuel.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
Everyone can agree I think, that when you find quality at reasonable prices, it is a win-win. Some of the gems that I have found are:

Primus camp stove - about $25.

Ridgid Pro Contractor tool boxes.

BK&T knives by Kabar.

HF 2000/4000 watt pure sine wave inverter.

Bass Pro/Cabelas 3 burner high output propane stove, 2, 25k btu burners and a 8k btu center burner, & carrying case.

GSI Santoku kitchen set. It took me about 10 minutes to have a hair popping edge on all 3 knives. (Yes, including the serrated bread knife)

All the gear I listed above works excellent and punch way above their price point. I am happy when I find a hidden gem.
 

AbleGuy

Wayfaring Stranger
When I was young I was poor.
Then once out of college, I was frugal.
Now I’m retired and I’m just cheap.

Over the years, most of our gear has been purchased from thrift stores, craigslist posts and garage sales. My wife and I both still frequently find incredible deals on good condition higher end, brand name clothes (Patagonia, E. Bauer, Columbia, Carhart, etc) in second hand stores in the more upscale outdoorsy towns we travel through. College town stores are also good since the kids seem to thoughtlessly get rid of their nice gear before it’s worn out or trashed.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
The odd time a new thing on sale is a great buy.

But a garage sale / auction if you know what the price is new, beats all other options.
I missed a fridge for $25 but my buddy bought it and its been on his porch cooling beer for 10 years.
My best deal was a Kooltron Cooler for $10 five years ago. It really works... this was after 5 days in plus 30C temperatures, only plugged in while driving.

Best retail buys come in September when hardware stores are clearing out the summer stock. Often a $20 item is on sale for $1... batteries included.

IMG_1425.jpg
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
College town stores are also good since the kids seem to thoughtlessly get rid of their nice gear before it’s worn out or trashed.
LOL......Wait till the end of classes at CU, Boulder, Colorado and the kids are in a hurry to head home and the thrift stores, C-list and FB MP are swamped......every kind of gear, jeeps, clothing, tents, packs, etc..... that their mom bought them while attended college gets dumped. A friend was given his BMW X5 by the college kid next door because the battery was dead and it had a flat tire and he didn't want to fix it to drive home since his parents already bought him a new car for graduation. Its crazy how much money these college kids have.
 

plh

Explorer
I missed out on a Norcold chest refrigerator that was up for auction locally earlier this week. Placed a bid last week, got out bid and totally forgot to check back into the auction. It ended up selling for $33 :-(
 

tlin

Adventurer
I missed out on a Norcold chest refrigerator that was up for auction locally earlier this week. Placed a bid last week, got out bid and totally forgot to check back into the auction. It ended up selling for $33 :-(
What auction site were you checking?
 
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