Why Is Camping Gear So Expensive

Camping is a well loved passtime and hobby for many here in the UK and in the USA, but there can be some significant drawbacks to camping. One of which is the steep price of gear, accessories and clothing.

Camping gear can often be expensive due to the supply and demand that comes with the hobby, it also skyrockets with brands that produce quality products time and time again. Lastly prices can rise when a company uses new and innovative technologies to make their products better and stand out.

In this article we are going to look at some of the key features which makes camping gear so expensive, what you should look and how to save money on the items you want and need.

Why Is Camping Gear So Expensive

There are a number of reasons that camping gear can be so extremely expensive. It’s a popular hobby, at the end of the day, so there are a number of companies out there looking to make a good profit margin.

However, this becomes ridiculous when you realize that it’s very easy to spend over a thousand dollars in no time at all! This begs the question, naturally, what on earth makes camping gear so expensive?

In a nutshell, it’s because it’s a popular hobby, and the equipment needs to be high quality. The equipment needs to be high quality because, really, it needs to be resilient. For example, you certainly don’t want a tent failing you halfway through the night.

Furthermore, a lot of companies that produce camping equipment have simple generated a large and devoted fanbase. This, alone, allows them to charge more.

In the course of this article, we’re going to talk about what makes camping gear so expensive to buy, and then we’re going to talk about how you can get your camping gear a little cheaper.

1. Supply & Demand

Firstly, let’s deal with the obvious one: the more popular an activity gets, the more associated products are going to cost. This is the case for camping, as well as a number of other things too.

Camping is super popular! In the US, for example, upwards of 77 million people go camping every single year, that’s a crazy number! That number doesn’t even account for how many people go camping on other continents, from South America to Europe to Asia.

Since camping is so popular, it leads to the gear being more expensive. This may seem a little counter-intuitive at first – wouldn’t more people lead to companies being able to afford to charge less for their products and increase the number of people buying from them? Sadly, that isn’t the case.

Generally speaking, when a company starts to do really well, they can increase the prices as they know that there’s a great demand for their products. You can actually see this trend for yourself, simply Google ‘high demand higher price’, and you’ll see plenty of graphs to illustrate our point.

This is another one that, while obvious, is frustrating enough that you might not want to consider it. A strong brand increases the price of a product. For example, consider Apple. For an awfully long time, Apple has been building up a large community of people who are utterly devoted to the products that they make.

This means that no matter what the next thing Apple brings out is, people will be willing to pay through the nose for it. Famously, Apple has released a number of products that are almost laughably expensive – they can get away with this because the company has a large following of people dedicated to buying solely Apple equipment.

That’s a useful metaphor because it can help you to understand how name-brand companies that make camping equipment can charge so much. They have a community of people who adore their products and are willing to pay a high price for them. As this community grows, a company can feel free to raise their prices as much as they’d like.

2. Quality

Let’s talk, for a second, about quality. In a number of different types of products, you really do get as much as you pay for. This isn’t always the case with camping equipment.

Because camping is such a popular hobby, it’s well known what materials are the best for certain jobs, and therefore people know that they’re paying for a premium product when buying something made with high-priced materials. Therefore, you could go to a specialist camping store and buy some waterproof clothing, for example.

It’s well known that GoreTex, which is a proprietary fabric, is really effective at keeping the rain off you while remaining breathable. Because of its well-known strengths in this arena, the products that use the fabric are often priced at a premium – they are typically worth paying for, as you know they’ll work effectively every time.

On the other hand, there are a number of brands which, simply, aren’t effective, or are overpriced. For example, Bear Grylls is a well-known survivalist who has been selling his own products for many years. Because the products are associated with his name, they are typically charged at a higher cost. In spite of this high price, the products often aren’t that good.

Bear Grylls’ name is involved to invoke a higher profit margin despite the fact that the products are low quality.

So, how do you know if you’re being overcharged for an item? Well, look at the reviews. Reviews are always left by people who believe extremely strongly in whatever they’ve written – you’d never leave a review if you just felt mediocre about a product, you have to either love or loathe it.

For that reason, the reviews will often be brutally honest, with people telling you that the product is ideal or fell apart after one use. If, after reading a few reviews, you’re still not sure, it’s worth simply following the rabbit hole: there are thousands of reviews online, you’re sure to find one that suits you sooner or later.

While we’re talking about expensive products, let’s take a look at a couple of really expensive products, and talk about what makes them so expensive.

Firstly, let’s talk about the Lorpen Trekking and Expedition STD (socks). This product is, essentially, a very high-tech pair of socks. The product itself is designed for people looking to conquer really lofty (8,000-meter plus) peaks, though it could be used for less intensive activities as well.

Recognizing that this product is only really necessary for extreme mountaineers means that you can save yourself a little bit of cash – if you’re just going on a short hike, you’ll be fine with that pair of thick socks that you’ve got in your drawer.

The reason that these socks, in particular, are so expensive is that they’re utterly packed full of technology. There are two separate layers of Polartec Power Stretch fabric that sandwich PrimaLoft Footwear insulation in a left and right foot anatomical shape. Cutting through the jargon: the material which surrounds your feet in these socks is actually three layers of different materials.

Essentially, these three layers are made up of two layers of very stretchy, comfortable material that surrounds one layer of extremely insulating material. The end product, therefore, is very warming, to the degree that its best use-case is on very high mountains. Being packed so ridiculously full of technology makes this product expensive, that’s the truth – this pair of socks costs roughly £55!

Secondly, let’s talk about the Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka. This jacket has actually been discontinued at the moment, as it was part of a limited run, so we’re actually cheating a little. Either way, spending £600 on a jacket seems a little extreme!

This jacket is a fairly straightforward down jacket. It has a super high 1000-fill loft hydrophobic goose down filling, which is really what makes it so expensive! What that chunk of jargon means is that the same weight of down lofts to a greater volume when used. Therefore, you get more warmth per gram of down, leaving you with a jacket that’s both lightweight and very warming indeed.

Also, the down within the jacket has undergone a nano-tech water-repellent treatment, which means that it will retain its impressive loft even when it gets dampened by condensation, rain, or spilled tea.

The reason that this jacket is so expensive is all of the technology and material that went into making it. In terms of its construction, it’s really similar to a standard down jacket, but the filling is what makes it expensive. This is a common thing you can see among expensive outdoor equipment: two products can be very similar, while the more expensive one has a slightly different material involved in the manufacturing process.

How To Get Camping Gear Cheaper

Now we have looked into the reasons why camping gear can be so expensive we want to explore ways in which we can save money on camping gear. Here are our top suggestions and ways to save money.

1. Buying Cheaper Gear Smartly

At this point, there’s every chance that you’re wondering whether purchasing expensive camping gear is really worth it. Well, there’s no one answer to that question.

Really, you’ll only know if the purchase was worth it if you actually make the purchase. This is the frustrating predicament of a thrifty camper – you have to spend money to know if it is worth spending.

Generally speaking, you can find the cheaper gear that will do the job you want it to do if you just make sure to be a little smart about it. For example, let’s say that you’re looking at a sleeping bag that’s too expensive for your budget. Well, chances are that the sleeping bag has a few bells and whistles that you might not need.

For example, could you use a sleeping bag that doesn’t have a pocket, or is it a slightly lower tog? If that’s the case, then you could look for a bag where the shell is made of the same material, but it doesn’t have a pocket, and the tog count is lowered too. Then, you’ll have a bag that will do the job that the more expensive one would do, but it will be much more affordable.

2. Consider Purchasing Used Gear

There’s every chance that even with the tip we mentioned just now you may find camping gear to still be out of budget – we get it! We’ve been there too, everyone has. Well, there are a number of sites on the internet where you can get your hands on good quality, affordable camping gear by just purchasing it second hand. There are a lot of these sites out there, but we’ve listed a couple of our favorites below.

  • REI
    • REI has a dedicated section on their website for used gear which is a blessed haven for thrift campers everywhere! A lot of people actually might not know about this part of their website, as they don’t make too big a song and dance of it. If you check it out, you’re likely to see items marked down from fifty percent brand new! Plus, all the items are still in pretty good condition, which is, of course, ideal.
  • Facebook Marketplace
    • Facebook Marketplace is a wonderful spot to get gear of any kind at a lower cost. Don’t worry if you haven’t used it before, it’s actually very simple! You simply search through the marketplace until you find an item listed for sale near you that’s what you’re looking for. From there, you can contact the seller through Facebook messenger, and you can work with the seller to work out a time to make the transaction.
      The only downside of the Facebook marketplace is that you typically have to meet face to face with the person you’re buying from, which can be a little daunting if you haven’t done it before. Until you’re comfortable with the service, consider taking a friend with you when you go to make the transaction.
  • Craigslist
    • We’re sure that you’ve heard of Craigslist. Essentially, it’s almost exactly the same as the Facebook marketplace – you contact the seller to arrange a time and place for the transaction, and you can get your stuff that way. The reason we include it on this list isn’t that it’s a beautiful, swift website (it really isn’t), it’s because a lot of people use it exclusively.
      Craigslist has been around for a long time now, especially when compared to other sites, and as such, people are happy to trust it. This means that there may be sellers on Craigslist who aren’t elsewhere, allowing you to get some great products and great deals.

3. Getting Brand Name Gear At A Discount

Okay, so this is almost certainly the part of the article that you’re looking for. Everyone wants to get brand-name gear at a discount, people just love a bargain like that. Well, thankfully, there are ways that you can get big discounts on expensive camping equipment by using a number of different clever browser extensions.

In this article, we’re going to be focussing on one called Wikibuy, but there’s another really good one called Honey. We really recommend both of them, consider checking either of them out.

If you’re a bit out of the loop with browser extensions, let’s quickly explain what they are. A browser extension is just a small app that you install on whatever program you use to access the internet on your device. How it works is that when you’re done shopping online for your camping gear, or on anything, for that matter, it will automatically find and use coupon codes from across the internet in order to help you get your products at a better price. How cool!

We’ve been doing this for quite some time now, and it really is impressive. We always get amazed by the sheer number of websites that our browser extensions work on. You’ll be shopping in some obscure corner of the internet, and suddenly you’ll have an alert to let you know that you’ve got a voucher code available. A couple of clicks later, and you’ve saved yourself a good chunk of cash!

To get started with Wikibuy, you must first go to wikibuy.com and create an account. It’s completely free, you just need to use your email and create a password.

From that point, you will be prompted to install the Wikibuy app on your browser – this process is really similar to installing an app on your phone. If you’re on Safari, Wikibuy will direct you to the Mac App Store, and if you’re using Chrome, it will direct you to the Chrome Web App store. If you run into any trouble during the installation process, then you can find plenty of helpful articles and other information on the Wikibuy website.

After you’ve installed the browser extension, you’re nearly there! You’ll have the option to fill out a short questionnaire about the places that you typically shop online, which is completely your choice. It may allow Wikibuy to direct you to some potentially useful voucher codes, though the choice is yours. 

After you’ve either done the questionnaire or skipped it, you’re all set up! Now, every time you’re in the checkout of an online store, Wikibuy will automatically notify you if there are any available coupon codes that you can use to get the lowest possible price on your order!

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