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How to buy second hand camping gear


Buying second hand camping kit is a great way to get a bargain. Follow these tips to make sure you don't waste your money.

  • Try to see a pre-owned tent pitched before you part with cash and give it a good once over before agreeing to the sale.
  • Remember you’re not buying new so some wear and tear should be expected – and reflected in the price. Rips can be sewn up, zips replaced and guylines renewed but if the damage is too severe just walk away.
  • When buying a stove, check all parts are intact and not bent, broken or missing. In particular, check the hose condition and connections.
  • Chairs, tables, wardrobes and kitchens can all be picked up at a fraction of their new prices and there’s very little beyond the superficial that can go wrong with them.
  • The internet is a great place to buy used trailer tents and folding campers but make sure you see it erected before agreeing to buy and always ask for the original manual and instructions.


The obvious first port of call for buying second-hand online, and there are certainly plenty of bargains to be found. But remember a lot of camping gear – especially tents – can be very heavy and bulky, which can make the cost of postage prohibitively high. Filter your searches so only items for sale within a set distance show up. It will limit your resultd but will save disappointment when it turns out the bargain Vango tent you’ve spotted is being sold by someone in Cornwall – and you live in Inverness.

The local focus makes this useful but there is only a fraction of the gear available overall on eBay.

A free of charge, internet service where people can offload the used but serviceable outdoor gear taking up space in cupboards, lofts and garages, either by swapping, selling, or donating.

The old school approach. This used to be the main source of second hand gear but sadly they’ve taken a backseat to internet-based sellers in recent years. It’s still possible to get a bargain here though.  

Very hit or miss generally, but can be good for pots, pans, cutlery and crockery.

Another pot-luck option which can occasionally turn up unexpected gems. Be prepared to haggle on price.

Well, you know what we mean. Supermarket community notice boards and postcards in newsagent windows often throw up second-hand camping bargains.

Where better to post your ad than a place where you can be 100% certain of reaching your target market? Campsite notice boards and shop windows can be a rich source of second hand equipment, with the added advantage that you don’t need to travel to collect and you can check everything “onsite”.

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01/05/2010 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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