Ask the Gear Guy

Inexpensive outdoor equipment

cheapgear-200x148Last weekend my dad took me to the local outdoors store, but we both couldn’t believe how expensive camping stuff is. Please help! Where can I get good outdoor equipment without paying huge prices?
- Sticker-Shocked Steve, San Diego, Calif.

Dear Sticker, we sympathize. Outdoor gear can indeed be really expensive. Luckily you have options.

On the Web, there are a handful of stores that sell quality brand-name camping gear and outdoor clothing at reduced prices. Basically these sites buy discontinued gear and overstocks from manufacturers then sell it direct to you at super-cheap prices. The color and size choices are often limited an you don’t get the face-to-face advice you do from your local outdoors store, but if you look around you should be able to find what you need.

Here are a few of the most well-established online stores:

Also, instead of always sticking with brand-name stuff, consider buying the “house brand” from these companies.

Much of the gear from the big brand names is made with the exact same fabrics and materials in the very same factories. Often the main difference is simply the trendy label that’s slapped on the thing.

And, as always, a great source for BSA-approved gear and clothing is the BSA’s own supply catalog, found at

Finally, check out eBay. There’s plenty of gently used outdoor gear up for auction there.

Happy bargain hunting.

Comments about “Inexpensive outdoor equipment”

  1. Superscout says:

    Army Surplus is quality.

  2. Jimmy007 says:

    what is the best kind of camping supplies that arnt cheap but not expencive?

    • Sly Fox says:

      YOU need to figure that out yourself; scan the web for ideas, but ultimately you need to make the decision not anyone here.

  3. Sly fox says:

    There are lots of books on this topic; I like “Make it and Take it” myself. We do it all the time. The old BSA “Field Handbook” is loaded with ideas too.

  4. BlueJay says:

    Another place to buy camping gear are Army Navy surplus stores
    you might not get really new and highteck gear but you can find
    some good prices on ALICE packs flashlights ECT.

  5. scoutguy says:

    i agree

  6. Outdoors Camping Gear says:

    There are some good internet retail websites that have competitive prices. Also check out your local Craigs List.

  7. cold Coleman says:

    Thanks Gear Guy. My slepping bag works Just fin now.

  8. andy in a hammock says:

    search the web before you buy anything. I got a great deal on my eagles nest hammock (featured in BL) and i love it. Thanx gear guy!

  9. Draco says:

    This is great advice! Thanks, gear guy!

  10. boyandgirlscouts says:

    Erm, gospel. I’m sure you meant to say that the boys you know in your troop play painball a lot since the Guide to Safe Scouting prohibits paintball or any other kind of game where guys shoot at each other (even laser tag). If by some chance your troop have been going on outings together to play paintball you might mention the GSS rule about it so that you guys don’t get in trouble with your district/council.

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

      Whatever dude, my troop plays paintball. our council has never gotten upset about it. Besides, Im sure he knows what he is doing

    • new england skier says:

      Since when has laser tag ever hurt anyone. Rock and ice climbing are way more dangerous.

  11. gospel golfer 72 says:

    My troop plays paintball alot and I need a great or just good deal on a new Tippmann 98 custom pro. What is the lowest price I could get them at? Also what sites can i get them on.

  12. ducky 10444 says:

    i don’t know what i would do without you gear guy!!!!

  13. Old Scout Leader says:

    Don’t forget to check out your local Army Surplus Store, Gun Shows and Swap Meets for camping gear. My old saying is if it’s good enough for the U.S Military then it’s good enough for the Boy Scouts.

  14. tis says:

    the gear guy is ao kool! Kep it up dude!

  15. scoutmen96 says:

    thanks for the tip i will look at the websits for r boyscout camp thanks

  16. Old Guy says:

    Don’t forget to improvise or make your own gear.

    There is nothing wrong with a bedroll instead of a sleeping bag. Tarps can be great to sleep under if the bugs aren’t bad.

    You can find some used gear at thrift shops. I have found mess kits at Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores. I have also used cake pans as my plate/frying pan (use pliers for a handle) on trips.

    Learn to sew and make your own pack. If anyone says anything about “sewing is for girls” just tell them that a sewing machine is just another Power Tool. ;)

    Talk to some of us old guys and we’ll be happy to tell you how we used to do things. Believe it or not, some of the things we used to do still work.

  17. madja2000 says:

    Hi- the gear guy rules! The outdoor equipment is cheap and cool.

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