10 Ways to Save
1. RIGHT TIME
Timing is everything. Now is the perfect time to replace any gear that began looking threadbare this summer. When the summer camping season is winding down and the days of autumn are upon us, you can save big money buying items on closeout sales. Most retailers are already moving winter stock onto shelves and placing any summer camping equipment on sale.
2. SCAN THE CATALOGS
Buying gear from outdoor equipment catalogs has many advantages. Armchair shopping through catalogs from the likes of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, CampMor, Camping World, Don Gleason’s, LL Bean and REI can save you money. Catalogs often offer specials and coupons. You can do it from the comfort of your home, and products are delivered to your home. Some companies offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount. However, catalog shopping doesn’t offer the “visceral” experience that “brick and mortar” retail stores can provide. Certain products, such as boots, must be tried on first in order to make the “right” decision.
3. ’NET SURFING SAVES
You can also save money buying outdoor equipment on the Web at sites such as Moosineer.com. Many manufacturers sell directly to the consumer through their own websites. And a host of retail outlets, including the previously mentioned catalog sources, also sell a broad selection of brands and types of outdoor equipment through retail websites. The same advantages and disadvantages that apply to catalog shopping also pertain to buying outdoor gear on the Internet.
4. SHOP DISCOUNT
You can save a pile of cash shopping at the big discount houses. We are not suggesting you buy specialty equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and backpacks in discount chain stores, but look beyond the outdoor equipment specialty stores for no-brainer items such as coolers and camp lanterns.
5. READ THE PAPERS
Check your local newspapers for special sales at local specialty outdoor equipment retailers. Many of these smaller stores will advertise in their hometown newspapers (the ads are usually located in the sports section), and special weekend sales and coupons are common.
6. CHECK OUT OUTLETS
Some companies, such as Eddie Bauer, have factory outlet stores that offer big savings. Many of the items found in the factory outlet stores are overstocks and discontinued items that need to be moved to make room for newer products coming into their regular retail outlets.
7. ASK ABOUT DEMO UNITS
Don’t be shy about asking the store manager about buying floor models. Especially this late in the year, displays are changing. Larger pieces of equipment, such as tents, that were set up or used as demonstrator models, can often be had at a bargain.
8. BUY DISCONTINUED ITEMS
Although most wouldn’t admit it, the outdoor equipment industry is just as “trendy” as any other. Like last year’s cool car, there are last year’s cool fabrics and colors in outdoor apparel, too. Ask about discontinued items that might be on sale. I don’t really care if my jacket is not the newest style and fabric. If it does the job, and saved me $50, that’s a good thing.
9. GO TO GRAND OPENINGS
Shop the grand opening sales. A new store will often have big discounts on popular items to attract shoppers. And don’t forget the store on the other side of town that might also be having a sale to compete with the newcomer. Take advantage of some good, old-fashioned competitiveness.
10. SHOP AROUND
Camping gear should never be an impulse purchase. Spend some time comparison shopping and you’ll spend less money. But don’t over-shop either! Browse a few places that you know have the things you’re looking for, but weigh the time and cost of shopping against the realistic savings. You could spend hours driving around to save $5.
Story courtesy of Camping Life Magazine.