Product Reviews

The 9 Best Camping Gear Stores for 2023 | Free Buyers Guide

Sunday, February 26th

2023 Camping Gear Store Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award REI Review 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating

  • “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau
  • Long-established company since 1938
  • Over 4,600 hiking and camping products
  • Reviews on almost all items
  • Free shipping on orders over $49

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is an industry leader in the camping gear world. Their roots go way back to 1938 selling camping equipment, sporting goods, clothing, and travel equipment. REI has one of the most extensive and organized online inventories of any outdoor retailer we’ve shopped with. They earn our highest rating as the most professional, easy-to-work-with camping gear company.

Everything You Need In One Place

It’s safe to say there are no outdoor needs you’ll have that won’t be satisfied by shopping at REI. If you’re taking part in snow activities, camping, hiking, biking, running, paddling, or fitness in general, the categories of products are seemingly endless. The website is organized in a way that makes it extremely easy to navigate to a specific item or search for it on the home page. You can read customer reviews to give you an idea of quality and functionality on each product.

Name-brand Retailer

The brands you’ll find at REI are REI Co-op, Big Agnes, ALPS Mountaineering, Camp Chef, YETI, NEMO, Hydro Flask, and Garmin. Since these are all recognizable name brands, you can expect prices to reflect that. Luckily, there are quite a few products on sale in each category and you can shop exclusively from the camping deals section to only find discounted items. Shipping is free with all orders over $49.

Pay To Save

If you’re an avid outdoorsman, you can get an annual membership to REI for a one-time $20 fee. The benefit is that you typically receive 10% back on eligible purchases. If you plan to spend hundreds of dollars on camping gear, the REI membership might save you a pretty penny in the end!

Best Camping Gear Stores

Generous Return Policy

REI stands behind everything they sell with their 100% happiness guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with your purchase for any reason, you can send it back for a replacement or a refund within one year of purchase. The only exception is outdoor electronics, which need to be returned within 90 days.

More Than Just Products

REI does more than just sell products. They host private trips through North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Central America, Australia and New Zealand, and Antarctica: literally every continent in the world! They take groups on safaris, trekking, cruising, climbing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, backpacking, and other adventures. These trips are planned and carried out by REI. You select the destination and itinerary that works for you among those they have planned and pay the associated fees in order to be part of the travel group. You can book short trips and classes in your local area as well.

Experts At Advice

REI has useful articles about all the activities they sell gear for. In their camping archives you will find guides on choosing the best budget sleeping pads, how to choose a hammock, how to use a roof-top tent, the best ways to camp with kids, a camping checklist, wildfire safety, and more. For both the novice and expert camper, some of these articles will prove extremely useful.

REI For The Win

If you can’t tell already, we are sold on buying camping gear from REI. They have an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau and have been in the outdoor industry for nearly 100 years. They know their stuff and they sell some of the best products on the market. Their online shopping process is easy, they have all the camping gear you’d need, and they offer unique travel and learning experiences for customers. REI has earned our highest rating for camping gear retailers.

Campman Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

  • Free shipping on orders of $50+
  • Buy new and used camping gear
  • Return new or used items within 60 days of purchase
  • Price match guarantee
  • Monthly giveaway

Campman originated in 2006 and sells gear for activities that can be enjoyed in all seasons. They are based at the bottom of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah where there is easy access to hiking, skiing, backpacking, and camping. Campman is surrounded by outdoor enthusiasts who have tested their gear from Russia to Patagonia. Their backcountry experience has contributed to their selection of high-quality gear and commitment to customer service.

Easy Online Shopping

Campman has an appealing, straightforward website that makes it easy to browse gear by brand, age, and activity. In addition to camping equipment, Campman also sells products for biking, climbing, snow activities, fly fishing, and search and rescue. Their camping selection is extensive enough to give customers a wide variety of items to choose from. They don’t carry all the name brands that some of their competitors do, but their prices still reflect high-quality items.

New And Used Items

If you’re new to shopping at Campman, you can save 20% on your first order if you sign up to receive their emails. For any orders of $50 or more, you will also qualify for free shipping. Something unique about Campman is the option to shop for used gear. Often the gear has either been gently used or it is brand new, but the tags were clipped off before they were returned. This is a great way for customers to find massive savings on normally expensive products.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Price Match Guarantee

If you find an item on Campman’s site that is sold for a better price elsewhere, you can take advantage of their price match guarantee by providing the product description, the URL of the competing item’s website, and other relevant details requested by customer service.

Flexible Return Options

When it comes to returning items, Campman’s policies allow for new items to be sent back within 60 days of purchase for any reason. They accept used, undamaged items for return within 60 days of purchase as well. If there are issues with a piece of gear and you’re outside the 60-day window, Campman will help you work through the manufacturer warranty process.

High Customer Satisfaction

Campman is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, but customers who have shopped on their store have left feedback on other places online. A few of the things people like about Campman are their fast delivery times, free return shipping, great customer service, and good pricing, just to name a few. Although they might not carry as many recognizable brands as some other camping gear sites, the fact that Campman is a smaller business creates unrivaled customer service. We highly recommend browsing the camping gear collection at Campman.

Bass Pro Shops Review 4.5 Star Rating

Bass Pro Shops

4.5 Star Rating

  • “A+” Better Business Bureau rating
  • Free shipping on orders $50+
  • In the industry since 1971
  • Lots of conservation efforts

Bass Pro Shops originated back in 1971 and consider themselves “North America’s Premier Outdoor and Conservation Company”. Their founder, Johnny Morris, has been referred to as “the Walt Disney of Outdoors” because of his dedication to conservation and efforts to connect everyone with nature. In 2017, Bass Pro Shops grew by acquiring another well-known outdoor company, Cabela’s.

All Camping Essentials Covered

Whether you just want the basics or a luxury experience for your camping trip, you can find everything from A-Z at Bass Pro Shops. You can shop tents, sleeping gear, lighting, camping essentials, camp kitchens, packs, game and food processing, prospecting, first aid, and more. Within each category are hundreds of different products to choose from and brands like Ascend, Kelty, YETI, Coleman, Cabela’s, and Traeger. If you spend $50 or more on any of the great items at Bass Pro Shops, you won’t have to pay for shipping.

When In Doubt, Read Reviews

There are ample customer reviews on most of the products sold by Bass Pro Shops. This is extremely helpful when you’re considering buying expensive products like a $1,399 smoker or a $600 tent. Another useful resource is the videos that highlight the products they sell. For example, you can watch a video of someone using the Mr. Steak portable grill, how to use Permethrin insect repellent, how to choose a backpacking stove, what the Cabela’s walled outfitter tents look like, and more.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Committed To Conservation

Every time you shop at Bass Pro Shops, you can “round up” your purchase to contribute to their Outdoor Fund, a charity supporting thousands of local projects with leading conservation partners around the US. Named after their founder, the Johnny Morris Conservation Foundation operates significant attractions to help others discover the world around them. Some of the attractions include the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in the Ozarks, and Top of the Rock Ozark Heritage Preserve.

Returns Come At A Price

Customers have 60 days to make returns on items purchased from Bass Pro Shop. If the 60-day window has passed and efforts are made to return something, they will be accepted on an inspection basis. The returns page of Bass Pro’s website has a link for customers to print a prepaid return shipping label. All returns submitted for refunds will be charged a $7.50 restocking fee.

Inventory Complaints, But Still Worth Shopping

Bass Pro Shops is a huge contributor to the outdoor industry. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and years of company history to back up their reputation as the go-to adventure gear company. Customers are happy with the quality of their products and selection, but their most recent grievances revolve around some issues with cancelled orders and out-of-stock inventory. It’s not uncommon to read that someone submitted an order to Bass Pro Shops only to find out later that the website did not accurately reflect what they actually had in-stock. Also, some orders take a long time to ship. This isn’t the case for everyone though, so Bass Pro Shop is still a good place to order your camping gear if you aren’t worried about your items possibly being out-of-stock or taking a long time to arrive.

Backcountry Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

  • “A+” Better Business Bureau rating
  • Outdoor gear for all seasons
  • Eco-friendly practices
  • Unlimited return policy for new, unused items

Backcountry is a Utah-based company that started in 1996. Since their humble roots in a garage in Park City, they’ve grown to have offices in Portland, Costa Rica, and Germany. They sell products to help outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Mother Nature in all four seasons. Whether you’re looking for surfing. snowboarding, fishing, or hiking gear, Backcountry has you covered and has earned a high rating from us.

Name-brand Options

Backcountry carries a lot of recognizable brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Salomon, Stoic, Black Diamond, and more. The categories of hiking equipment include:

  • Tents
  • Packs
  • Sleeping
  • Camp kitchen
  • Hydration
  • Camp furniture
  • Lighting
  • Navigation
  • Survival
  • Dog packs
  • Hiking clothing

Opportunities For Savings

If you sign up to receive emails from Backcountry you will receive 15% off of your first order. This could end up being a significant savings if you plan to spend a lot here. They also run periodic sitewide promotions that give major discounts on certain categories of their products that customers should watch out for.

Shopping Assistance

Right when you visit the Backcountry site, you’ll get a pop-up with the option to chat with a “Gearhead” (someone who is an expert with their products). This is a great resource if you’re unsure what camping gear you need or if you’re debating between certain products and want a second opinion.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Advocates For Earth

Besides selling camping gear, Backcountry takes part in quite a few important causes. They’ve joined forces with The Nature Conservatory to protect natural landscapes, donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, partner with the National Ability Center to provide outdoor activities for those with disabilities, and they make sure their shipping packaging is 100% recyclable. Backcountry believes that to enjoy the outdoors, you should be committed to protecting it.

Standard Return Policy

Backcountry allows customers to return new, unused gear at any time for a full refund via the original payment method. Used gear must be undamaged and in like-new condition to be returned within 30 days for store credit. Store credits are only valid for one year before they expire. If there is reason to believe that a used item has issues due to a manufacturing defect, Backcountry’s warranty department should be contacted to take care of the problem.

Customer Satisfaction Going Downhill

A major complaint that Backcountry receives is about their return policy and shipping practices. You have to pay at least $7 for return shipping even if the item you received was defective. Customers have mentioned that in earlier years, Backcountry was easier to work with but it seems that their customer service is slowly getting harder to work with. Some say it takes a long time to get your money back if you choose to return your items. On the flip side, there are customers who have happily bought from Backcountry for 20+ years because of their expertise in the industry and wide selection of products.

Still A Good Option

Although Backcountry has some areas they could improve in order to keep their customers coming back, they are a well-known name in the camping industry for a reason. They have a huge inventory of camping gear to take care of all your needs. Backcountry won’t be your cheapest option since they supply name brands and high-quality products, but if you’re a serious camper, this is a good place to shop online.

Wayfair Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

  • “A+” Better Business Bureau rating
  • Free shipping over $35
  • Hundreds of sale items

Wayfair sells everything. They are one of those companies that you can rely on for house decor, baby gear, outdoor products, appliances, pet accessories, building supplies, and nearly everything else under the sun. So, of course they have a full selection of affordable hiking and camping gear as well.

Hundreds Of Camping Essentials

The complete list of camping gear at Wayfair includes tents, chairs, coolers, outdoor showers, first aid, camping cots, electric grills, lighting, and mattresses. There are hundreds of results for most categories, leaving customers with pages of options for camping gear. You can sort by customer ratings, material, features, price, color, and more. Wayfair is such a widely-used site that they have the online shopping experience down pat. It’s fun and easy to find what you’re looking for here.

Always Affordable

Wayfair is known for being inexpensive, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. You’ll rarely ever buy all your items at full price from their store. This is either because products are on sale or you’ll get a good discount code for being on their email list. In addition, you only have to spend $35 to qualify for free shipping. However, this sometimes means that you won’t get the highest-quality products and some customers have complained about the short lifespan of items they’ve purchased from Wayfair because the quality reflects the price.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Brands That Fit Your Budget

You’ll find name-brand camping gear at Wayfair like Coleman, AlpsMountaineering, Ford, Kingcamp, and others, but they also have a lot of off-brand products that contribute to their ability to not have to sell all their products at ridiculous prices.

30-day Return Policy

If you need to return any of your camping gear to Wayfair, you have 30 days from the time of delivery to either get a store credit or full refund. Some exceptions to this include clearance items, gift cards, personalized items, and other types of products typically excluded from return policies. Customers are responsible for paying the cost of return shipping.

Mixed Customer Ratings

Most of the products at Wayfair have quite a few customer reviews, which says a lot about the popularity of products and the company itself. Wayfair also has an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. What’s hard to see around is the fairly low customer ratings that Wayfair receives over a spread of different issues. Quite a few people have dealt with delivery issues of their packages from Wayfair, cheap quality of products, cancelled orders, and other problems usually associated with large companies. We don’t feel like this is reason enough to assume that buying camping gear from Wayfair is a bad idea, so we still give them a high recommendation based on their large inventory and affordable prices.

Bob Ward's Review 3.5 Star Rating

Bob Ward’s

3.5 Star Rating

  • “A-” rating from the Better Business Bureau
  • Free shipping on orders over $49
  • Unlimited return window for new, unused items
  • No restocking fees on returns
  • Been in business over 100 years

Bob Ward’s is named after their founder – you guessed it! -Bob Ward. The store started out as a jewelry shop in 1917, initially selling just watches. Ward’s love for the outdoors led to the retailer gradually adding products like fishing gear and custom guns to their inventory, and eventually turned into a retail sporting goods store in the 1960s. Suffice it to say, this company has a lot of history and deep family roots.

Jumbled Navigation

The shopping experience at Bob Ward’s isn’t quite as smooth as it is with their competitors. We were shown that there are over 1,800 results for camping gear, but then the categories within that include things like baseball, dog training, gifts, ski poles, and more. It might take a minute to find what you’re looking for, but there is a decent selection of camping gear once you get to the right place.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Affordable Pricing

While you can find name-brand camping items at Bob Ward’s, you’ll also find lesser-known brands as well, which is nice for novice campers who don’t want to spend a lot of money. You can get a decent tent for less than $150, a warm sleeping bag for under $120, and a cookware set for $90. While their inventory is less organized than some other websites, it’s not overly difficult to find the essentials. Customers get free shipping when they order $49 or more from Bob Ward’s.

Low-key, Stress-free Return Policy

The return policy at Bob Ward’s is simple and generous. Any returned merchandise in new and sellable condition can be returned at any time. As long as the gear passes an inspection ensuring there is no wear and tear, scuffs, or strange odors, you will receive a full refund within one business day, without having to pay restocking fees. The only thing a customer needs to do is pay for the return shipping.

Trying To Keep Up

While Bob Ward’s isn’t dazzling and doesn’t seem to have kept up with the prestige of some higher-rated camping gear sites, the company has heart. Their inventory is thorough enough for someone wanting to find all the basics for camping and outdoor adventuring. Bob Ward’s has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau, but hardly any individual customer reviews about online purchases. Overall, Bob Ward’s is a decent place to buy camping gear, but unfortunately it isn’t one of our top recommendations.

CampSaver Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating

  • Over 13,000 camping and hiking products
  • Huge range of gear for outdoor activities
  • Free shipping on orders over $49
  • Over 545 brands of camping gear
  • Free return shipping

CampSaver originated out of a small apartment in Logan, Utah at Utah State University in 2003. They’ve grown to employ over 100 people who strive to help outdoor enthusiasts get the gear they need at the best prices. The CampSaver outlet still operates out of Utah where they have a retail store you can visit, but they primarily do business online.

Massive Inventory Of Camping Gear

We found one of the largest, most thorough inventories of outdoor gear at CampSaver. Their main categories include camp and hike, climb, run, travel, snow, paddle, footwear, and apparel. You’ll find everything you can imagine here from luggage to food and drinks, from kayaks to maps. There are over 13,000 products just under the category of camping and hiking.

Over 545 Brands

The list of brands you can expect to find at CampSaver include well-known names like Garmin, Coleman, YETI, Fjall Raven, and Black Diamond. However, there are over 545 brands in total, so you’re guaranteed to find products from your favorites. You can sort through camping gear by price, deals, ratings, color, and brand to make things easier.

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Filter Out Pricey Items

If you sign up for text alerts from CampSaver, you’ll receive 20% off of one full priced item. This isn’t quite as good of a deal as other retailers who give you 20% off of your entire first order. Since CampSaver is an outlet, they have a significant amount of items that are discounted up to 68%. Filtering your results by price or shopping the sale items will be the best way to save money when shopping at CampSaver since you could still easily spend a few hundred dollars on their camping gear.

Free Returns

If the camping gear you ordered doesn’t fit right or end up being what you needed, CampSaver offers free return shipping within 60 days. Within this window of time you can get a full refund on new, unused products in the form of an exchange, store credit or money back via your original payment method. We did notice that some places on the website say they have a lifetime return policy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A major website update is needed to keep information consistent about their policies.

Slow Order Deliveries

CampSaver has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau for failure to respond to 11 formal complaints made against the company. Fortunately most complaints aren’t about the product quality or selection of gear, but rather the amount of time it takes to receive online orders. Even those who pay express shipping find themselves waiting weeks for their products to arrive. This is by far the biggest criticism CampSaver faces, so until they fix their delivery processes, customer satisfaction will likely remain low.

Company And Website Needs Work

Aside from some poor ratings from customers and their awful Better Business Bureau rating, the thing that was hard to get past with CampSaver is their overwhelming website. It is so busy and text-heavy that you don’t get the secure feeling that a professional, sleek, simple website brings. The site definitely screams “cheap” even though their inventory is still quite expensive. We wish CampSaver had better presentation and delivery since they have one of the best selections of camping gear on the market. Unfortunately, they just can’t compete with our higher-rated sites.

Cabela's Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating

  • 60-day return policy
  • Long-established company
  • Free shipping on orders $50+
  • 5% military discount
  • Owned by Bass Pro Shops

Cabela’s was born in 1961 when a husband and wife, Dick and Mary Cabela, began filling fishing fly mail orders from their home in Nebraska. Cabela’s began to thrive as a catalog business shipping orders to all 50 states and 125 countries. They’ve continued to grow ever since, selling all products under the umbrella of outdoor adventuring. In 2017, Cabela’s was acquired by Bass Pro Shops and now operates according to their policies and procedures.

Expect Similarities With Bass Pro Shops

The Cabela’s website is nearly identical to Bass Pro Shops because they haven’t put much effort into differentiation. This means you’ll find similar pricing and name brands like Champion, Kelty, Ascend, YETI, Mr. Steak, and more. Cabela’s has all the same camping categories at their store as Bass Pro Shops like tents, lighting, packs, sleeping gear, camping kitchens, game and food processing, camping essentials, outdoor cooking, and first aid.

Military Discounts And Other Money-savers

Cabela’s offers free shipping on all orders of $50 or more. Since they carry high-end gear, you won’t have a hard time spending $50 on their site. In addition, military personnel can take an extra 5% off of all their purchases by using their Cabela’s account. If you don’t have a military ID, the best way to save at Cabela’s is simply to shop their sale section and watch for periodic discounts.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Website Redirects

If you’re wanting to read more about Cabela’s company history, you’ll be redirected to the Bass Pro Shops website. This is the case for learning about their conservation efforts, company news, the Cabela’s community, and more. Essentially, Cabela’s isn’t growing much as their own brand anymore.

60-day Return Policy

Like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s charges $7.50 for all returns submitted to them. However, they will provide a prepaid shipping label. Customers have 60 days to return or exchange items. However, the return policy does not apply to firearms, mouth-calls, or gasoline-powered items. For an in-depth explanation of Cabela’s return policies, we recommend reading it on their website before making any purchases.

Not Worth The Risk

We were shocked to find that Cabela’s has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. This is primarily because they’ve had multiple complaints filed against the business that they haven’t responded to. We hoped this wasn’t necessarily reflective of their overall business, but found hundreds of customer complaints essentially describing the online ordering process as a “nightmare.” EEK! With better options for online shopping, buying camping gear at Cabela’s might not be worth the risk.

Moosejaw Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating

  • Free shipping on orders over $49
  • Lifetime exchange and return policy
  • 10% off if you sign up for emails

Moosejaw is an outdoor gear company that was founded in 1992. They primarily sell apparel, but also have gear for camping, climbing, biking, snow activities, running, travel, yoga, and water sports. Moosejaw was acquired by Walmart in February of 2017 for a cool $51 million and has been operating under them ever since.

Same Old Thing

There is nothing strikingly unique or special about Moosejaw when compared to other outdoor retailers. They have over 3,700 results for camping gear that can be narrowed down by category, price, gender, brand, weight range, features, color, sustainability, and more. Pricing is comparable to other online stores that sell name-brand camping gear, but if you sign up for their email list, Moosejaw will give you 10% off your first online purchase.

Humorous Marketing

Moosejaw tries hard to mix humor into their website and marketing strategies. For example, on the main image of their site advertising for 40% off of jackets, there is a quote that says, “Lizard people don’t bother me. People lizards on the other hand?” Interesting. The timeline of their company includes details about cheating girlfriends, lawsuits, family jokes, nose jobs, cavities, car shopping, and other irrelevant information used for satire. All of this is just to say that there are some eccentric people running this company, which can either make things more fun or more irritating.

Best Camping Gear Stores

Price Match Policy

If you come across an identical product sold at Moosejaw that’s cheaper from another retailer, they will price match it up to 40% off the original retail price as long as it’s in stock and within 14 days of your purchase. If you haven’t bought the item yet, you can live chat or call Moosejaw’s customer service team to order the item at the lower price.

Lifetime Returns With A Caveat

Technically you can return new, unused items to Moosejaw at any time. As long as it is in sellable condition, you’re eligible for an exchange or a refund. But, there’s a catch! If you return your item after 60 days, you only get a Moosejaw eGift card. Also, electronic items don’t fall under the “lifetime return” policy. You have 30 days to send those back, and rooftop tents need to be returned within 15 days.

Lousy Customer Service

Failure to respond to complaints from customers has left Moosejaw with an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. The most glaring issue that people report about the company is their horrendous customer service. Some examples include receiving wrong orders and having a nightmare of a time trying to get the issue corrected. They seem to have a lot of confusion going on in regards to shipping out orders and rectifying their mistakes. Of the many customer reviews out there, Moosejaw gets poor ratings from them and from us.


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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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