When Should I Buy Camping Gear?

Whether you are stocking up on a few pieces of new equipment, or you are looking to start from the ground up, choosing the right time to purchase your camping gear can make all of the difference in the quality of gear that you will be able to afford. Is there really a best time to buy?

Camping gear, like many other retail items, goes on sale seasonally. Summer items like tents, shorts, and cooler sleeping bags will go on sale typically starting in September. Winter items like down sleeping bags, blankets, and cooking equipment can often be found on sale closer to March.

Of course, you will also want to keep your eyes open for sales around the holidays (like before and shortly after Christmas), and in January when the new year’s edition of the latest camping gear will come out and retailers will attempt to rid their floor of last year’s models. With these tips in mind, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the sales. Let’s look a bit further into this.

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©Photo by Chris Holder on Unsplash

Which Season to Buy Camping Gear In?

Depending on what season it is when you are doing your research, you might find yourself in a position of wanting to hammer down and find the best deals possible. Perhaps, this means finding the best deals in the season that you are in, or perhaps this means waiting until the timing is right to buy your camping gear when it can be found at a sale price. 

Purchasing camping gear in the spring and fall can often help you to land off-season deals on winter and summer gear, respectively. Also, keep your eye open for sales near holidays and as the new year rolls in considering retailers will be adding new stock to their floor.

Regardless of which position you are in in your camping gear hunt, nobody wants to pay a fortune for their camping gear. Yet, it is so important to invest in high-quality gear. Not only will this mean you will have fewer costs for replacements and repairs down the road, but this is also important for your safety and comfortability in nature when you head out on your next adventure. 

With all of this in mind, we have made a brief review of what you can expect to find as you begin shopping for your camping gear based on the season that you are shopping in. Of course, this will vary based on location (regionally and per retail or alternative store), but the general concepts will apply regardless of your location.

Buying Camping Gear in the Spring

If you are looking for camping gear in the spring, this will be the optimal time to find off-season winter gear considering the winter season has just come to a close. This might mean that you can find deals on winter clothing that will soon be moved off of retail store floors, or you may even score a good deal on other winter camping gear like sleeping bags that can withstand extremely cold temperatures.

Keep in mind in the spring, though, that many retailers are just beginning to load their floors with gear that is getting ready for the summer camping season. Since camping season is at its peak in most locations during the summer, the later you get into spring, the less equipment you will find on the floor and definitely the fewer sales will be around.

However, with that in mind, you can typically find some good deals on off-season winter items, and you might even be able to find other items of camping gear that could be found at select retailers’ dent/worn sales. For example, if an item has a small scratch on it but is still fully functional, you might find this at a spring sale for a great discount.

If you are doing your camping gear search in the spring, try not to go too late past April, as March is most typically the best month to buy off-season winter gear. After this (although this does not give you long in the spring), you will begin to see fewer deals because it will be getting closer to summer.

Buying Camping Gear in the Summer

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© Photo by Kevin Ianeselli on Unsplash

Buying camping gear in the summer is going to be one of the toughest times to find any deals because it is the peak of the camping season. With most children out of school, families are able to take camping trips during the summer with much more frequency than any other time of the year. Plus, in most locations, the weather is favorable at night so you will not have to worry about freezing temperatures in the same way.

Still, if you are searching for camping gear during the summer, you can keep a few tricks in mind. First, if you want to find a good deal on high-quality equipment, you can look for the previous year’s model of the item that you are searching for. This may mean looking at camping gear rental stores or seeing if there are any clearance items at a standard camping gear retail store.

Second, you can see if there are any options available from local friends, neighbors, or outdoorsy circles of people. You can even consider hopping onto Facebook Marketplace and seeing if you can find any deals there. Many people, especially those who have waited until the last minute, will probably be looking for the same type of equipment, but this could mean that a seller wants to take advantage and offer the item for sale, anyway.

Buying Camping Gear in the Fall

Buying camping gear in the fall is one of the most optimal times to purchase your gear- especially if you go at the beginning of the fall (like in September) after the summer season has just come to a close and before the winter camping gear items begin getting displayed on the retail floors.

Purchasing camping gear in the fall, especially if you are aiming for off-season summer gear, could mean that you will be stocking up on summer gear that will be well-used in the next year (but that might not work as well in the winter). This could mean that you are able to find a summer tent for sale, but that a 4-season tent is less likely to be on sale during an “off-season” retail store sale (since this item technically does not have an off-season). 

Still, choosing to buy camping gear in the fall can be a great choice if you are looking for off-season summer gear, or if you are looking for winter gear that is not of the latest model or edition. You may find that some retailers place high sales on the previous year’s model during this time since the new year’s items will be rolling out in a few months.

Buying Camping Gear in the Winter

winter camping
© Hipcamp

Buying camping gear in the winter is a great idea if you are looking for off-season items, but it is not going to lend you to too many winter camping gear item sales. However, there is a caveat that anyone who is searching for camping gear should be aware of: camping gear can go on majorly discounted sales during the holidays, and in the very beginning of January when retail stores are preparing their floors for the latest editions. 

Consequently, you may find that you can have excellent luck purchasing camping gear for any season during the winter months if you time it extremely well. Of course, this timing truly requires patience, research, and precision in order to be effective. You will likely not be able to walk into any camping gear retail store and expect to find a deal just because the summer season has closed off.

Still, you might be able to find deals on off-season gear, or if you time it right with discount codes during the holidays, you could be looking at some really nice deals. Either way, during the winter, you will likely be able to find the camping gear you are looking for, you might just have to pay a bit more than usual during the winter months (when there is no sale happening) because it is not the peak summer season, and because it is the peak season to buy well-insulated camping gear.

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