I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to pay full price for anything.
Especially when it comes to high-quality tents and other camping gear that can be pretty expensive.
So, we combined decades of buying experience with direct feedback from a few major retailers to find the best time to buy a tent and other camping gear.
Let’s jump right in!
What Is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Tent?
The best time to buy a tent is typically near the end of the camping season, around late August or September. This is when demand for camping tents goes down as summer ends and the season changes.
With that said, there are plenty of other opportunities to score huge discounts on summer tents.
Believe it or not, the month of June (right in the middle of camping season) is one of the best months of the year to buy a discounted tent for two reasons – you have Father’s Day sales near the beginning of the month and the Fourth of July sales at the end of the month. Both of those holidays lead to an increase in tent and camping gear sales, with discounts reaching as high as 70% off at some of the bigger retail stores.
If you missed a big sale in June, all is not lost, as you can also find some great deals in August when Labor Day sales begin. Combine those sales with the end-of-season clearance sales on summer gear and you can find some real steals.
While June and end-of-season clearance sales are the best times for buying a tent, there are a few other opportunities to find huge discounts on camping tents throughout the year.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday: What started as annual sale events after Thanksgiving in the US, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become huge globally. These two sales, Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) are excellent days to look for massively reduced prices on tents and other camping gear.
- Amazon Prime Day: Amazon Prime Day is the event of another annual sale exclusively for Amazon Prime members that provides great discounts on millions of items (literally), including tents and other camping equipment. The dates change each year, but it typically falls in mid-summer.
- Year-end Clearance Sales: Stores generally have year-end sales in December to complement the winter holiday season. The week after Christmas is also a great time to scoop up some big savings on tents.
Tip: Winter gear will typically go on sale as the season starts to come to an end in March, just before spring. This is a great time to pick up a winter or 4 season tent and cold-weather gear. For a great deal on 4-season tents all year-round, check out our guide to the best budget 4-season tents available right now!
What Time of Year Does Camping Gear Go on Sale?
The best time to buy a backpack, sleeping bag, camping chair, and other camping gear is again, near the end of the camping season, around late August or September.
The same rules apply to other camping gear as they do for tents. When demand goes down for camping gear near the end of your typical camping season, stores try to clear out their inventory with huge discounts to make room for other seasonal items.
What Is the Best Place to Buy Camping Gear?
While the best place to buy tents and camping gear is subjective, here are a few of the places we often shop at and find the best deals.
REI is a huge outdoor equipment retailer specializing in selling outdoorsy stuff from well-known names like Alps Mountaineering, Big Agnes, MSR, and more.
In addition to having sales periodically, you can save money on camping gear with their “Used Gear” section, which includes gently used gear inspected by REI experts.
Bass Pro Shop is well-known for its fishing equipment, but it also has a wide range of camping, hiking, and backpacking accessories.
Like REI and Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods offers a huge selection of outdoor and camping-related items.
Dick’s also has a few specialized brands that are only available at its store, are highly praised by consumers, and are slightly more affordable than bigger brands.
This retail giant sells tents and camping gear from just about every major brand! Plus, you can easily read reviews and see ratings for any piece of outdoor gear you might have your eye on.
Even if I find an item walking through a local retail store, I’ll pop open my Amazon app on my phone to check for a lower price and to read reviews of the item before buying.
And don’t forget about their annual Prime Day sale!
Walmart, known for its everyday low prices, offers affordable tents and camping gear, even having its own brand of gear called Ozark Trail.
Walmart sells several top manufacturers, including Coleman, Core, and more in addition to its own outdoor products.
Important: The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all the best places to find discounted tents and camping gear, but rather a few stores we frequent and have had success finding great deals. You can also check Cabela’s, Camping World, Backcountry, Steep & Cheap, and more.
How to Find the Best Tent & Camping Gear Prices
We’ve covered the best times to shop for a tent and other camping gear, so what else can you do to find great deals?
Finding deals is an art in itself, which you can increase your chances of success with these tips.
- Begin by looking through sites like RetailMeNot and Brad’s Deals, which aggregate coupons and sales from a number of merchants in one location.
- Always compare prices from multiple online shops and local ones. It’s tempting to impulse buy, but shopping around to find a better deal can save you a lot of money with just a little bit of work.
- Browser extensions like The Camelizer and Honey will help you get the best deals on camping gear. These two apps work to save you money in different ways. The Camelizer is a price tracker for Amazon, which can send you an alert when an item you are watching hits your desired price point. And Honey will help you find coupons automatically for that tent or piece of gear you have your eye on.
- Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc. are also great places to find new and used camping gear for cheap.
Check out our guide on what to look for when buying a tent for the 10 most important features to consider.