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Need help with where to buy camping gear

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My ex-husband took all of our son's boy scout camping gear when he moved out (despite a court order that said the kids' belongings remain in the home where they are living) and has refused to give it back so our son can use it. What is really upsetting, is that most of this gear is the stuff he received from Canfields after all of his camping supplies were destroyed in the Little Sioux tornado. So he has an emotional tie to it as well as a need for it.


I now face the expensive task of having to completely re-outfit my son with all of his camping supplies. At this point, I have asked his scoutmaster to help me with a list of needs vs wants for camping. (my son doesn't always understand the difference) they are planning a klondike derby so I know that it will require a better than average sleeping bag (last year's was about 20 below windchill). the boundary waters high adventure trip isn't til late summer, so I can hold off on things for that trip til later. I am fortunate that canfields, bass pro, and cabelas within 100 miles of us so I can check things out in person rather than just seeing it online. But I'm hoping that there might be some internet shopping sites that have good deals on the basic supplies that I will be needing. Also, any suggestions on brands to purchase or to stay away from would also be helpful. I had no idea that there were so many different brands/styles of sleeping bags and other gear. I am also hunting through craigslist and anywhere else to try to find gear at a reasonable price.


Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions. His involvement in his troop is a big part of his life and despite my very negative feelings about our council - both local and mid-america, the leaders of his troop have been a huge support to him through the divorce and everything that his father has been doing to him and to the troop. He was very worried that the other boys and leaders would hold his father's behavior against him, and it has been the opposite. So I really want to make sure that he is able to participate in everything, despite the financial burden that it is placing on me.


BTW, the vindictive ex-husband who took his son's scouting gear is a jamboree scoutmaster. I guess he needs to review the Oath a few times.

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Contact(call don't email) www.alpsmountaineering.com or www.scoutdirect.com and ask about their scout discount. They have excellent equipment and give scouts & scouters a very hefty discount on high quality gear. They occaisionally have clearance items and sales and you can pick up brand new, high quality gear at sometimes a 70% discount.


Best of luck.



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WAL-MART! Now, I might get my tent and sleeping bag from a more advanced camping source...able to handle the extreme weather needs, but everything else you get : lantern, camp silverware/plates/ etc, air matresses, pads, chairs and stuff can be bought for cheap!

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If your Troop supplies the tents and Patrol gear, then your immediate needs are a sleeping bag, ground pad, duffle, eating utensils, and possibly a dunk bag.


For winter camping you need a bag rated to below 0. A mummy is usually warmer than a rectangle. If you can afford it, a bag system (usually 2+ bags together) is good. If not, a cold rated bag and a lightweight fleece blanket witll work.


For cold weather a good pad is necessary. A self-inflating one like Thermarest is good. My son likes to pair that with a closed cell pad under it. Make sure the pad is long enough for your son.


A good flashlight (many swear by head lamps), and he should be set.


For a duffle, my son likes to use his Grandpa's Army duffle/backpack. It is large enough to fit everything, including his 4-person tent if needed. Of course, I don't know how large your son is, and it might be a bit to big for him. For the Klondike you could stick to a regular duffle and a plastic lawn bag for sleeping bag and pad to keep them dry.

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First of all, I'm sorry your son and you are having to go through this. But I'm glad he's getting support from his troop - that's wonderful, exactly what Scouting is supposed to be about.


Depending on how old your son is, and how experienced an outdoorsman, you may want to look at old copies of the Scout Fieldbook and books by a fellow named Ray Jardine. Both have details on how to make your own gear - from packs to tents to sleeping quilts, and more. There are lots of Internet sites with specific patterns, too. Your son can learn some new skills, develop a personal relationship with his new gear and be the envy of his fellow Scouts for not spending a mint!

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Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village, and other thrift stores can be excellent resources for all kinds of camping equipment and gear. Many of the families in our Troop have been getting some great deals on winter camping gear at thrift stores lately. Please do not think you have to go out and buy all new stuff! Also, Campmor, Cabelas, and REI all have online sales and outlet merchandise that are far cheaper than the regularly priced items.

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Thank you so much! His scoutmaster is making a list for me so I know what the troop has and what he needs to get. I did not realize that many of the stores had scout discounts. I have also been looking at craigslist etc to try and find things and didn't think about freecycle. I did some checking at the omaha area thrift stores last week but didn't have much luck.


As an aside, to thank all of those wonderful leaders who are helping him and are following the Scout oath, I have signed up once again as a merit badge counselor and made a point to look for areas that had no counselor for those badges.

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Another plug for Alps Mountaineering. Good stuff, well priced.


REI has good deals in their closeout web pages. They also offer 10% to scouts if you register via their 800/888 phone number. I've also been able to sweet talk the store manager once or twice to get the discount.


Also you might ask about used equipment from within the troop. Our troop has some extra backpacks, boots, etc that we give out when needed.


Ditto Eagle92. The more he takes ownership of this 'task' the more he will learn, be innovative, and show responsibility for himself.


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NancyB I feel for you.


I can tell you there is no blanket answer on where to go here. I have a mix of stuff. My sleeping bag is from REI, my metal cup Walmart, my mess kit either Target or Sports Authority, my backpack - local high end outfitter, tents: target, Dicks, Eureka outlet, Campmor and some on-line retailer. Bed roll I don't even remeber.


Budget to outfit a scout ~$150 - $200.

Sleeping bag, Mummy 15f = $85

Bed roll = $30

Mess kit = $10

Canteen = $10

Metal cup = $5

Duffel = $20

Total = $160


If he is Backpacking

Used 4500 Cubic Inch Back pack = $75

Tent = skip for now

Stove = skip or $35- 50

Cookset = Skip




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I have bought several items online from them and its high quality gear for very low prices. Got an internal frame Kelty pack last season's closeout - REI= $250, Sports Chalet= $210 .... Campmor= $185. They have very good buyer feedback and I've never had a problem with shipping or returns.


On the more specific items, look at your local sporting goods store (Cabela's / Bass Pro / etc...) find what you want and then price shop it at Campmor.com. You will likely save almost 25% across the board. This is especially true for tents, bags, and packs.


Most other stuff can be had on the cheap from Target or Wal-Mart. The only other thing I spent big money on is the GPS and the "spork-a-knife" lexan packpaking all-in-one spoon, folk, knife for the mess kits. They can cost $6-$8 a piece, but I'd never go camping without one.


Best of luck - sorry you're in such a pickle with the gear.




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I've recently bought equipment from alpsmountaineering.com, campmor.com and rei-outlet.com (there are sometimes some excellent deals in their online outlet).


Most equipment is year-round stuff, but the one thing I've struggled with is that I don't think we can do it without two sleeping bags each. One for cold weather and one lighter-weight one for backpacking and "shoulder season" weather.


We have several "camp bags" we've been cycling through over the years, and I've come to the conclusion that they are basically useless for anything other than car camping in milder weather, or perhaps at summer camp, if you don't have to carry your stuff in too far.

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