Camping gear can be expensive, so beware of online scammers offering ‘great’ deals
As the final days of summer sweep in, you may be planning a camping trip to close out the season. The right gear can make your camping trip a lot more comfortable, but it’s hard to know what you’ll need and where to get it. The price of high quality gear can also add up quickly.
It’s tempting to try to find a deal online, but be wary of any prices that seem too good to be true. Scammers sometimes try to lure in shoppers with an outrageous deal.
To find the right gear for your plans at the right price, BBB recommends you plan your budget carefully, keep safe online shopping practices in mind and check out reviews at BBB.org.
BBB’s tips for buying camping gear:
- Start with the Ten Essentials. The Ten Essentials are a collection of basic first aid and emergency gear recommended by the National Park Service for camping or outdoor activities. They’re a good starting point to make sure you’re prepared for unexpected events like minor injuries, delays or weather changes.
- Pick the right gear for your plans. For example, if you’re boating, you’ll want life jackets; if you’re hiking, you may need extra water. Check the weather and pack accordingly. If you’re heading to a state or national park, check the park’s website to learn more about it before you go.
- Check your budget. Know your budget before you shop – if you need to cut costs, it might mean compromising on a brand name product. You may also be able to save money by borrowing or renting the priciest items, like tents and sleeping bags.
- Shop safely online. Shopping online may help you get deals on gear, but make sure you’re following BBB’s tips for smart shopping online. Deals that seem TOO good to be true could signal a scam. Stick to reputable sellers, shop around and read return policies carefully before you buy.
- Check with BBB. You can use BBB.org to search for camping gear near you. If you’re not familiar with a camping gear retailer, check out their BBB Business Profile to get an idea of how the business operates. You’ll see their rating, any complaints and whether they’re BBB Accredited.
- Read reviews. You can read reviews of retailers at BBB.org, and you can read reviews of specific products on most e-commerce websites. Check to see if other shoppers are saying the product is durable and high quality.
- Take your new gear for a test drive. No one wants to be struggling to set up a new tent in the dark. Practice before you go – that way you’ll have more time to focus on roasting marshmallows. It’s also wise to open and check out your gear in advance because if it does have any issues or defects, you’ll be able to address them before you leave.
Don O’Brien is the regional director for the Quincy Better Business Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 209-3972.
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