Best Time To Buy A Tent

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Camping is a great way to get away from it all. Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or want to enjoy nature, camping has something for everyone. If you’re thinking about buying a tent, then you might wonder what time of year is best to buy one.

Camping season varies depending on where you live. In the US, summer is the peak season for camping, but spring and autumn are also good times to go. Spring is ideal because it’s warmer and less crowded. Autumn is perfect for hiking and exploring forests.

My people find that winter is too cold for camping (many areas in the northern US even close their campgrounds), but you can still enjoy other outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

How Much Does A Tent Go For?

You can get a tent for less than $50 or for several hundreds of dollars. The price will depend on features such as size, waterproofing, and the type of fabric material used.

My first tent was only $40 but it was like sleeping in a plastic sack and had no ventilation.

And just because a tent is expensive doesn’t mean it’s larger. Some of the smallest tents on the market are the most expensive because they are designed for the backpacking market where every ounce counts. Thus you are paying more for expensive high-tech fabrics.

Where To Find Cheap Tents? As you can expect you will find the best deals online.

But I recommend that you also look for deals in stores.


Because physical stores will put tents on clearance to make room. Or you can also get deals on returns. And it’s surprising how many different types of physical stores carry camping equipment.

Not just outdoor retailers either. Walmart has a great selection of tents, and even department stores like Kohl’s may stock up on camping equipment when the weather gets warm.

But my buddy Scott has found great stuff at Aldi discount supermarket of all places.

So start your search in physical stores as well as online.

How To Choose The Right Size Of Tent?

Tents are sized for adults sleeping in sleeping bags on sleeping pads next to each other. It does not account for their gear. Thus a 2 person tent is more like a 1-person tent plus their gear.

I recommend getting a tent one person size larger than the number of people sleeping in the tent unless you are comfortable keeping your pack outside the tent.

However, many tents will come with a vestibule which is a space outside the tent meant for gear storage. Thus a two-person tent will have a large vestibule that can fit a couple’s packs and boots.

How To Decide Which Type Of Tent Is Better?

This depends upon what type of camping you wish to do. Backpacking tents are small and lightweight, but car camping tents will be larger, feature more bells and whistles, and can hold more weight.

In general, you will only need a 3-season tent. 4-season tents have stronger frames for high winds and heavy snow loads but generally are only needed if you are climbing a mountain.

But you do want a 2-walled tent for maximum ventilation while still protecting you from the elements.

How To Make Sure You Get The Perfect Tent For You?

Start by deciding upon the type of camping you plan to do. Most people are car campers which means they carry everything with them in their vehicle. Thus you can carry a larger tent.

There is nothing wrong with a large tent that allows you to stand up and sleep on a full-sized cot.

However, if you are wanting to backpack, then you must pay attention to the size and weight.

You can also look at cabin tents if you want the full glamping experience.

How To Pick The Right Price Range For Your Tent?

You don’t need to buy the most expensive tent out there. But I wouldn’t buy the cheapest either.

And it’s important to remember that if you take care of tent, it will last you for many years. Thus the upfront cost will pay for itself over time.

When Do Tents Go Clearance?

The camping season is fall through summer. Thus most people who buy tents will wait for a sale during the off-season to purchase their tent so they can get more for their money.

You can find clearance deals during the winter months for the next summer.

Some retailers will also have off-season sales. Thus you can find deeply discounted tents at the end of the camping season to make room for their new stock.

Another time is after a holiday, especially Memorial Day which marks the beginning of camping season when they might want to push out the older models to make room.

It’s also important to monitor multi-day sales that offer steep discounts on specific items for their customers who are buying lots of things at once. This can save you a lot of money for camping equipment you were already planning on purchasing.

What Kind Of Discounts To Expect?

As you might expect, the more well-known brands rarely discount meanwhile the smaller brands will often put their products on sale to get more exposure.

You can also find discounts by looking at the tent’s materials such as polyester and nylon. Single-walled tents have a lower cost, but they are often hotter and have condensation issues.

Don’t expect huge savings unless you have a coupon or your store offers extra-percent

Where To Find The Best Tents?

Just when I think I know all of the places to find tents, I find a new shop!

Of course, there are the usual suspects:


  • REI
  • Bass Pro
  • Cabela’s

but also

  • Walmart
  • Aldi’s
  • Target

Where To Find Coupons

The best way to find coupons is with digital apps such as Honey or RetailMeNot which will list all current sales and give you coupons that might apply during checkout.

You should also look for email lists from the companies themselves as well as other coupon sites such as Groupon, which can provide deep discounts on camping equipment if you are willing to try out a new place or activity.

Black Friday And Cyber Monday

There are two popular holidays that are just for shopping.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when you can start your Christmas shopping with amazing deals on clothing, electronics, and appliances.

While Black Friday sales typically do not include camping equipment, they may provide discounts on accessories like sleeping bags and tents.

Cyber Monday is the modern take of Black Friday with more deals on the internet.

Most retailers will have tents and other camping equipment on at least one of these days as well as some great discounts on specific items such as sleeping bags or boots and tents.

Where To Get The Best Deals Online

I recommend Amazon because it’s reliable, has a huge inventory, and often provides free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

It’s also important to check out other online retailers such as eBay and Backcountry that provide deep discounts on tents and other camping equipment.

Tips For Shopping Online

If you are buying online, then I highly recommend reading the reviews of the tent before making your purchase. This will help you know what issues users have and if you should buy the tent even though it’s on sale.

Be Confident In Your Purchase

Finally, don’t be afraid to make a purchase because of the fear of not finding anything better at another price.

While I do recommend waiting for the best deals, sometimes there just isn’t anything out there that compares with your current need.

At The End Of The Season

Another good time to buy a tent is at the end of the camping season, especially if you’re buying a cheap one.

Tents aren’t always carried from season to season for retailers, so they need to make room for next year’s products.

This means that they’ll likely put tents on clearance and offer discounts to hurry and sell them before they have to store them. This is true for brick and mortar retailers who must be much more judicious with their space.

Coupons can also be easily found at this time of year, especially if the retailer is looking to make room for new products next season.

Craigslist And Facebook Marketplace

You can find excellent deals on tents in your area by checking out Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace.

You can also check for garage sales, but these are often more hit-and-miss. Keep in mind that you’ll need to do some digging to make sure that what you’re buying is actually worth it.

Ask For Used Gear And Returned Items

Some stores such as REI will rent camping gear. They may eventually put that gear on sale, especially if it’s been returned.

Companies that accept returns often put the items on resale at a cheaper price because the stores don’t have to make the packaging appear it’s new.

REI is well known for its members (REI is a co-op) sales which is another great way to get a good deal on well-known brands.

Shop Discount Stores

Don’t forget about stores such as SteepAndCheep which is an online discount site specializing in outdoor gear and clothing. You can also look at thrift stores for camping gear that may have been donated or was never used. Thrift stores are also great for clothing items.

How Can You Tell If A Tent Is Worth Buying?

If you are buying used then you will have to do some detective work.

Check for broken zippers, tears, moldy smells, and stains. Tents can be cleaned with water and left outdoors in the sun which will often get rid of mildew.

Broken zippers and even the mesh netting can be repaired. Replacement zippers and pliers go a long way to repairing a tent.

If you get a group of campers together, they will start talking about their gear within ten minutes. And it is easy to start buying multiple tents because different tents are better suited for different purposes.

My friend Jeni camps with her husband and young daughter. Currently, they sleep in the same tent but as her daughter gets older, she may want her own tent.

Or at the very least, they will need a larger tent to accommodate all three adults.

I personally keep two tents. One tent I use for backpacking. It’s lightweight (1 pound) and simple to pack. I also have a large 4-person pop-up tent that is large enough for my cot.

I like to use it when I’m driving myself and thus I don’t need to minimize my room.

What Is The Reason For A Camping Tent

Camping tents are important for outdoor enthusiasts. It protects the camper from rain, snow, insects, small animals, and other environmental hazards.

Also it provides a strategic position for your campsite which is safer than sleeping outdoors on unknown grounds during unknown weather conditions.

Camping tents were originally made from canvas but currently are made from nylon or other synthetic fabric.

Many of the tents today are lightweight, simple to set up, and offer features that can be used during all seasons including winter camping.

Tenting is also not just the act of sleeping outdoors in a tent during camping or on other outdoor expeditions.

Tents Vs Hammocks

Many campers prefer hammocks instead of using tents. Hammocks are fast to set up but you must find trees to hang them. And they can be more tricky to set up to make sure you hang properly.

Campers complain that it’s hard to stay warm in a hammock, especially during winter camping expeditions. Tents are preferred by most campers for this reason.

If I had to choose between a tent or a hammock I prefer tents because in Texas it’s hard to find trees for hammocks in general plus I’m so tall then it’s even harder to locate proper trees.

Tarps Vs Tents

I also enjoy cowboy camping. That is camping without a tent. Nothing is faster to set up and take down than cowboy camping.

But you do need to be able to protect yourself from the weather. If there is a decent chance of rain, I will put up my tent. My trekking pole tent doesn’t take up much more time than a tarp. But it offers full protection.

Another use for a tent is to protect yourself from the wind. You could also configure a tarp to reflect the heat from a campfire. This is not difficult to do but does require more skills than pitching a tent.

While I am the best-selling author of a book on cowboy camping, I don’t recommend it for beginners. You need to learn how to set up your tarp quickly and in different configurations.

A tent comes with everything you need.

Another problem with cowboy camping is that many people get freaked out about having snakes, insects, or other wildlife crawling over them in the middle of the night.

This is unlikely to happen.

Heck, I’ve found plenty of spiders in my tent.

And the only scorpion that I have seen on the trail, we found in a friend’s backpack.

Snakes don’t want anything to do with you.

It is possible that a mouse could crawl on you. But I have had this happen in my own house!

When we first moved into our house, there were still field mice in the neighborhood until the cats took care of the problem.

One night we came home from a party and I saw a mouse walk across the kitchen floor. My wife said it was late and that we would take care of it in the morning.

I woke up in the morning to see its tiny feet crawl over my face.

I jumped out of the bed screaming.

After that, I no longer fear mice crawling on me.

Camping is one of the best ways to spend time relaxing. You get to be outside and enjoy nature.

I prefer to camp out in my tent instead of staying in a cabin or hotel room.

Sunrise seen from the inside of your tent is also very appealing!

Camping is one of the best ways to spend time relaxing. You get to be outside and enjoy nature, whether that’s in your tent or on a hammock! If you’re looking for tips on how to choose between different types of tents (or even if you need help pitching it), we hope this blog post has been helpful. We can’t wait to hear about all the great camping adventures you have planned - Happy Camping!