Camping can be a very expensive passion (even more so if you rip through kit like me) and the costs soon sky rocket up if you have to replace one of the bigger items. There are ways to minimize that outlay, provided your prepared to think into the future and forward plan a little (not for everybody?, I know).
One of the main driving forces behind paying more for something is supply and demand.
Theme parks will charge an arm and a leg for food/drink (where else you gonna go?), family holidays are hideously expensive when the kids are off school and seasonal camping kit will always cost more or less at certain times of the year.
A Prime Example
An example of this is the good quality super warm 4 season mummy bags that were massively reduced in a shop I stumbled across last week. For most of us this type of bag is serious overkill at this time of year (unless your planning to lose weight while sleeping) and luckily camping shops would rather shift them quickly than stockpile them for another 12 months.
I’d have snapped it up, but already have 2 that should last me a good few years yet, both of which were bought during the early summer months and very cheaply.
This doesn’t work for everything, only those items that are of less demand once the weather changes. Smaller value stuff like sleeping bags, summer tents, boots and even water proof clothing (surprising when the UK summer can be a little on the monsoon side) can be snapped up nice and cheap if bought at the right time of year.
If you live by one of the better camping suppliers then keeping a check becomes that much easier. Unfortunately for me this isn’t an option as the last shop selling anything close to what I’d part money for has left the backwater town I’m currently living in.
My main annual saving and the one item that doesn’t really need much forward planning is boots. Ripping through at least 5+ pairs a year now is getting expensive and I’m always prepared with space in my pack and enough money in my wallet to snatch any deal I see.
Even a 20 pound saving each time is going to keep an extra 100 pound in my pocket and that’s an huge amount of traveling money 🙂
Still Chance for Savings Online?
This isn’t only restricted to the ‘physical’ stores as those selling online will try to offer up bargains in an attempt to cash in.
Doesn’t always have the same effect though as real world stores tend to be more desperate to free up shelf/store room space than those selling over the Internet and its more clear what prices have changed if you regularly haunt a local shop (or two).
The Fine Line Between Need and Hoarding
The trick is too not get persuaded to stockpile way more than you’ll need. As with any hobby/pastime, the stuff that makes it all happen can be just as gripping as the act its self.
Trying to be objective about what you’ll need/would like to be using next year will prevent all those cheap buys taking over a massive proportion of your home!
This all may seem like common sense, but once you get in the habit of forward planning a year (or three) with what you’ll need, the money saved can be put to better use.
Although I have to admit to those very rare epic fails where the see something shiny method takes over and I go price blind (what is nearly always regretted afterwards!), this is how I like to buy camping kit and there’s always decent savings to be found.