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17 Ways to get a Bargain on the Best Family Camping Gear

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Everyone is looking for the greatest way to buy discounted gear, so we’ve created a collection of the Critter’s favorite ways to get a great deal on camping and outdoor gear. Getting camping supplies cheap is an amazing feeling.

Getting good camping gear isn’t typically cheap, but getting inexpensive, low-quality gear doesn’t always make for happy campers.

Camping is typically fun because it’s a way to rough it, and spending a lot of money to sleep in the woods just feels like it’s missing the point.

Since we were new campers many years ago, we’ve found many ways to score bargains on quality camping gear and we’d love to share our secrets with you! No one wants to pay full price for new gear when it’s possible to get affordable camping gear so many different ways.

We also found a few new ways to save money and buy discounted outdoor gear that we’re excited to try before the next camping season!

How to Get a Great Deal on Camping Gear

1. Browse Brand Discount Pages

Check your favorite gear brands for coupons and deals!

2. Check Out End of the Season Deals

Checking at the end of the season is the best way to get amazing deals on camping gear. People are done for the season and might not have room to store their gear so they’ll want to unload it quickly.

Stores also have end of season deals that you should keep an eye on.

3. Look for Early Season Deals

The early season is also a good time to look, as people are pulling out their gear for the season and they’re realizing their 4 person tent won’t work for their new family of 5.

4. Garage Sales and Estate Sales

People sell the coolest stuff for the cheapest price at garage sales! Keep an eye out for large multi-family garage sales and estate sales.

Discount Camping Gear Websites

If you’re confident you know what you want, getting great deals on outdoor gear online is an amazing option. Check your packing list and watch for sales on the gear you’re missing. Here are our favorite cheap camping gear sites:

If you’re looking to get deals on NEW Camping Gear, check out these discount camping gear websites:

5. Backcountry  

Backcountry is a great site for discount camping gear.

This is where we found great deals on Stoic gear and purchased a good deal of merino wool apparel that is mighty comfortable.

Backcountry carries their own brand and a ton of others you’re likely familiar with (Smartwool, Burley, Camelbak, Marmot) so take a look and find something you’ll enjoy for a long time. It’s one of the better cheap camping gear websites that we love.

There are always great deals to be found at for the whole family. Be sure to check their Kid’s Sale page for the BEST DEALS on kid’s camping clothing and gear.

6. Steep and Cheap

Steep and Cheap is Backcountry’s clearance site. Be careful, this one is so good it’s addicting!

Steep and cheap bargains and clearance

Steep and Cheap is our favorite way to get great deals on camping gear. They have end of the season sales and deep discounts on last year’s models running all the time. Typically a new item is up every 15 minutes with a flash sale and many categories to choose from as well.

They carry all of our favorite outdoor brands like Stoic, Alps, Marmot and North Face. Steep and Cheap is run by Backcountry, but they’re still separate enough it’s worth mentioning.

For a while Daddy and Momma Critter had the app on their phones and were constantly checking out the current deal, and just couldn’t stop wondering “Do I need that? I might need that!” We purchased everything from stuff sacks to ski jackets (60% off!) from Steep and Cheap and were happy for the experience.

We even returned several items that weren’t quite the right size. (Pro tip: Buy the 2 sizes that you think will work and return the one that doesn’t fit. That way you get the limited time deal AND the right size.)

It’s been a while since we’ve ordered, but steep and cheap had a great return policy back when we were ordering once a month. Steepandcheap returns are easy!

7. Mountain Steals

Mountain Steals is similar to BackCountry, they have a wide variety of gear that’s always on sale. It’s part of the MooseJaw company.

Mountain Steals

They have brands like Therma-Rest, Marmot, NorthFace and more. You’ll love getting all the amazing discounts they have.

8. Cabela’s Bargain Cave

Cabela’s is an amazing place to buy all kinds of outdoor gear and they used to have an area of the store called the bargain cave.

The bargain cave was one of our favorite spots to get cheap outdoor gear for the whole family.

Sadly, last time we were at our nearby Cabela’s, we confirmed that Cabela’s bargain cave is gone, but all the deals are online!

Be sure to check out the bargain cave section of Cabela’s website. We’ve gotten a ton of discount outdoor gear there and the discounts can be 10%-60% off! It’s amazing! We’ve purchased a few sweatshirts, jackets and even boots!

USED Camping Gear Websites

There is nothing wrong with getting gear that’s been already broken in.

9. Gear Trade

GearTrade is an amazing website that lets you trade in your gently used gear and buy other people’s used gear for a great price!

They consistantly have great deals on all kinds of camping and hiking gear, so check back often!

If you want to sell your used gear, they send you a shipping label (and a box if you’d like) and you send them back your gear! Gear Trade prices it, lets you approve the price, then you get to sit back and make money!

Once your old gear sells, you can cash it in on deep discounts on other gently used gear! This is an amazing website!

10. CampSaver

Camp Saver has over 25,000 products on their discount site from brands you know and trust. They offer free shipping on orders over $49 and they offer free returns!

I’m really excited to have another discount camping gear website, I love getting good deals on awesome gear. Camp Saver is amazing.

11. Patagonia Worn Wear

Patagonia has awesome clothes and gear and they have an amazing trade-in program called Worn Wear. When you’re done using your gear, you can trade in lightly used gear for Patagonia store credit.

With a small child to get gear for, this is one the Critterz have started to look at more closely. Jackets and hiking boots are a few items we want to make sure are quality gear even if we only have it for a short time.

It’s an amazing option to be able to use a pair of boots for one season and then trade them in for credit on the next pair!

Patagonia makes quality gear and it’s much easier to buy higher priced camping gear for your kids when you know you can trade it in.

Remember, if Tiny Critter isn’t happy, the whole trip could be a bust. Keep ’em warm and dry!

12. Good Will

The Good Will Website is a website the Critterz have only recently discovered. We have, however, stopped into some of the brick and mortar shops over the years and found some decent deals on all kinds of gear.

After a quick search for “camping” on the website we were impressed to see some pretty good camping and outdoor gear for cheap prices. You may not get exactly what you want, or you may have to look for a bit, but it’s definitely a place to explore.

Combo Options:

These options for discounted gear are online and in person. You can find deals online but have to go pick up the items in person.

13. Facebook Marketplace

There are a lot of parents that sell stuff on Facebook Marketplace, especially slightly used outdoor gear that kids have grown out of. The most memorable purchase we had was an Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier.

These run about $300 new and we really wanted one for our Tiny Critter but just couldn’t justify the price. Daddy Critter found the Poco Plus up on Facebook Marketplace for only $75. Sure, it wasn’t new or the latest model, but Osprey makes fine packs and this was no exception.

We used that pack until he was just at the max weight and, even better, we’ll likely recoup some of that cash by selling to the next set of Critterz that have a Tiny one to tote around.

Once you search for something the app will notify you if similar items come up for sale.

14. Buy Nothing Groups

Buy Nothing Groups are literally the cheapest place to buy camping gear. If you click on the link it will take you to a site to find a “Buy Nothing” Facebook group in your area.

Momma Critter is a member of our local group and literally saw a Coleman 3 person tent up for free in our area last week.

Some people just want to declutter their stuff without messing around with dragging it to a donation center.

In our area this seems to a good place to go for gently used kid’s clothes and shoes with the occasional piece of free camping or hiking gear thrown in if you’re lucky.

It’s a really cool way to connect with your community and keep things out of the landfill. Check it out for your area or start your own if you don’t have one!

Store Options:

Online shopping is the most convenient, but don’t rule out these in-person options.

15. Outlet Malls – (our closest is Albertville Outlet Mall)

The Critterz are fortunate enough to live near Minneapolis which means the Albertville outlet mall is within an easy drive. We’ve stopped by a few times and got some great gear for a good price.

Our favorites outdoor gear outlets tend to be Columbia, North Face, and Under Armor. If you enjoy getting brand name discounted outdoor gear at a great price, and there is an outlet mall near you, it’s worth a look.

16. REI

The Critterz and many of our friends hold out on buying big-ticket camping items until we get our REI dividend (received through REI membership) and the multiple sales REI has through the year. 

REI also has an amazing outlet with deep discounts called the REI Outlet.

In addition, you can get gear cheap that are REI returns via REI Garage Sale (prior name was REI outlet).

We’ve used this for years now and keep a wishlist of gear we’d like to pick up. If we’re not eyeing up a larger purchase like a jet boil or tent at dividend time, one of us usually uses the 20% off coupon on a new pair of running shoes or hiking boots.

There’s always one piece of gear to be upgraded or replaced. Double check your packing list to see what you could upgrade and hold out for the sales!

17. REI Rentals

Speaking of REI, if you’re not ready to shell out the money for a tent if you’re not sure it’ll hold your whole family, try out REI Rentals! You can rent all kinds of camping gear and save money!

Also the staff at REI have always been more than willing to show us how things work and how to get the most out of all of our outdoor gear.

We’ve asked their experts about all kinds of things from jet boil stoves, and sleeping bags to hiking boots and backpacks.

We almost rented gear from REI for our trip to Havasupai Arizona, but we ended up figuring out a way to get it all onto the plane.

This is a great option if you want to camp for 1 or 2 nights during a vacation but you don’t want to drag all of your outdoor equipment across the country.

Bonus Tip:

If you’re looking for specific gear or brand names because you love it so much (which, the Critterz do in some cases), get on the email lists for sales information: Columbia, Yeti, Marmot, Duluth Trading, Cabela’s, etc.

These sales can save significant percentages of the purchase price. For example, we got 25% off a recent Cabela’s sale for duffle bags that we love to use. Momma Critter loves the pants from Duluth Trading (They have actual pockets!) and the coupons are amazing.

That said, don’t rush into a purchase if you don’t have to, create a wish list for all the gear you need and pounce when you see a deal!

Be sure to test all of your new gear with a night in the backyard to make sure it all works before you head out!

Sell Your Used Gear

Now that you know how to buy camping gear for cheap, check out ways you can make room for that gear by selling your old gear!

Happy Camping!

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