In most places, now is not the most popular time to go camping as a family. There are some exceptions, of course: If you live in the hotter states in the country, then now may be the best time to go camping! Either way, January is a good time to buy camping gear. The lower demand for outdoor sporting supplies lends itself well to a drop in prices, and you can certainly benefit if you were planning on replenishing your stock of camping goods for the spring or summer. While you probably won’t find great deals on camping supplies that are specifically for use in the winter, prices may be low on tents and other camping gear that you’ll need. Here are some things to consider buying now:
- Tents. Unless you plan on camping in very cold temperatures, you’re most likely to need a three-season tent, which will keep you fairly comfortable through the spring, summer and fall. Campground tents will usually suit your purpose if you’re going to be camping during fair or maybe rainy weather. A wilderness tent will be necessary if you want to camp during windy or more severe weather. Dome tents set up quickly and easily. It’s a good idea to buy a tent that can hold more than the number of people in your family, if possible. If you are a family of four, for example, buying a six-person tent will give you a bit of breathing room and more space to keep some of your equipment. If your family has grown since the last time you have gone camping, then now’s a great time to upgrade!
- Sleeping Bags. When you look at sleeping bags, you’ll notice that they are rated for the minimum temperatures that they can withstand. Remember that if you buy one that is rated for low temperatures, it might be too toasty in the summer. Think about when you will be going camping, and go from there. For general camping, we’ve had good luck with synthetic sleeping bags, as they dry quickly if things get damp for whatever reason. On the other hand, some people swear by goose down sleeping bags because they are so light and easy to transport. Do some research to see which would be better for you, and then look for sales!
- Accessories. When you go camping, you will need different supplies than you would if you were, say, staying in a hotel. Remember that everything that you do will be outdoors, and much of it in the dark. Some of these things are not absolutely necessary, but they make life easier. Remember, too, that if you are camping with friends, you can share some of the items. These include camp stoves, flashlights or lanterns, waterproof matches, charcoal and a first aid kit. All of these items can be purchased now, or whenever you see them on sale, and saved for campouts later in the year.
Do some price-shopping by checking camping/outdoor sporting stores, big box stores like Walmart, as well as online camping stores, like REI. The good news about starting your camping supply shopping now is that you have several months to get everything together before you actually go!
Does your family enjoy camping? What are some must-have items, aside from those listed here?