Summer is synonymous with a lot of things, but two of them are sports and camping. Most children’s sports take place during the spring, summer, and fall months. Most family sporting events and sports-related vacations also occur during these seasons. Now is a great time to buy sporting goods, but only if you know how to get deals. Use these seven tips for buying sporting goods and camping gear to save a bundle.
Buy Used Sports Equipment
This is especially important for children who are adopting a new sport. Your little baseball star may decide he likes soccer next year, so don’t invest in expensive bats, balls, and gloves. Instead, visit a used sporting goods store like Play It Again Sports. Of course, there is a caveat: helmets and shoes. Always buy the shoes new, to prevent injury from worn out soles. Helmets for some sports can be bought used, but take a close look at it to make sure it didn’t take any hard hits. For you golfers – this is a great way to upgrade your clubs without spending a fortune.
Buy Surplus Camping Gear
If you’re heading out to the woods for some quality time with nature, then you’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, and camp stove. Before you head to Target or a sporting goods store, check your local Army surplus store for deals. Most of the stuff is brand new and just as good as the name brands you’ll find at other stores.
Buy Late in the Season
If you want to upgrade your camping gear or sports equipment, wait until the end of the summer. That’s when you can nab close-out deals on major name brands at major sporting goods stores. You’ll also find close-outs at stores like Target a little earlier in the summer.
Visit Costco and Other Big Box Stores
Costco, Target, and Wal-Mart often carry high-quality gear at lower prices than the sporting goods stores. Several years ago I bought a name-brand tent from Costco for 50% less than the Sport Chalet price. Right now, you can buy a hydration pack for $19.98, as I mentioned in my article on the Costco haul.
Scan Craigslist and Garage Sale Ads
I wouldn’t recommend eBay because I prefer to inspect sports equipment and camping gear in person, but you can find great deals at garage sales, moving sales, and on Craigslist. This is spring cleaning time, which means lots of gear is being dragged out of closets and sold. Check again at the end of the summer for more deals.
Amazon sells everything, including athletic equipment and camping gear. When shopping at Amazon, I would buy new rather than used, and look for the deals offering free shipping. This stuff is heavy. I spotted several tents that were 40% off the list price, and I wouldn’t have to pay shipping or tax, which brings the savings close to 50% versus buying it from a local store.
Don’t Buy It – Borrow It
If your kid is trying a new sport this year, or you only camp once a year, hit up friends and relatives for borrowed equipment. As long as you return the gear in excellent condition and return the favor when they ask to borrow something of yours, it’s a great way to reduce costs for everyone.
Sports equipment and camping gear can quickly get expensive, but if you shop wisely and borrow well, you can save a bundle on used equipment that is just as good as the new stuff.