eBay Guides - Camping Buying Guide
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Camping Buying Guide

Whether you're heading out for the weekend or making an extended trek across a mountain range, the right camping gear - from backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags to camping stoves, water filtration kits, and first aid kits - can transform "that time we went camping" into the adventure of a lifetime.

Pack It In With Camping Backpacks

Pack It In With Camping Backpacks

Camping backpacks come in three main varieties: external-frame packs, internal-frame packs, and day packs.

  • External-frame camping backpacks: External frame camping backpacks use aluminum tubing to distribute the load. They are often easier to pack, and more forgiving if you don’t pack a load evenly. External-frame camping backpacks are also cooler to carry since the frame puts an inch or so of space between your body and the pack. Plus, external-frame camping backpacks are typically less expensive than internal-frame camping backpacks. Because of the price, and the forgiving load distribution, external-frame camping backpacks are excellent for beginning hikers or campers.

  • Internal-frame camping backpacks: Internal-frame camping backpacks use stays (flat bars, usually of aluminum or plastic) to distribute the load’s weight. Internal-frame camping backpacks are more flexible than external-frame camping packs, making them more ideal for adventurers like skiers and mountain climbers. The internal-frame camping backpack is also more form-fitting. This means that there will be less of a chance that the bag snags on branches or other obstacles as you’re hiking.

  • Day packs: Day packs, or rucksacks, do not have a frame. The load rests mainly on the shoulders, but some day packs have hip belts to carry some of the load. They are small and light—good for a hike from your base camp, or maybe an overnight camping excursion. They are versatile and are usually less expensive than internal- or external-frame camping backpacks. They are great if you’re car camping and need something for carrying snacks and water during a hike.

Here are some features to think about when buying a camping backpack:

  • Camping backpack size: Camping bags that are less than 4,000 cubic inches are great for a one- or two-night camping trip. Camping backpacks between 5,000 and 6,000 cubic inches are suited for weeklong camping trips. Remember to buy a camping backpack that’s suited for your kind of backpacking. There’s no sense in getting a bag that is too big, as that’s just extra weight to carry around.

  • Hip belts: Hip belts are an absolute must for any kind of backpacking. Hip belts distribute some of the bag’s weight to the hips, relieving the shoulders. Hip belts are often padded with foam for more comfort and greater stability.

  • Detachable pockets: Many camping backpacks have a large top pocket that can be detached to serve as a fanny pack or day pack.

  • Water bottle holster or hydration pocket: Often camping backpacks come with specialized compartments to keep your water supply easily accessible. Some have large pockets that can accommodate hydration systems.

Look for popular products, such as Alpine backpacks, The North Face backpacks, Mountainsmith backpacks, and Kelty backpacks.

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Escape the Elements With Camping Tents

Escape the Elements With Camping Tents

Camping tents are classified by both the kind of weather they can withstand and their size.

  • Three-season camping tents: Three-season camping tents are designed for use while camping during spring, summer, and fall. Three-season camping tents are lightweight and not built to provide adequate shelter during harsh weather conditions.

  • Four-season camping tents: Four-season camping tents are designed to withstand harsh conditions like driving rain or heavy snow. They usually have more supports than three-season camping tents, which usually makes them heavier.

  • Warm-weather camping tents: Warm-weather camping tents are designed for camping in warm or humid climates. Their mesh sides provide added ventilation.

  • Convertible camping tents: Convertible camping tents are designed like four-season tents but can be converted to three-season tents if the added protection isn’t needed.

  • Bivy camping tents: Bivy camping tents are designed for a single camper and could be thought of as “sleeping tubes” rather than tents. They are often designed with specific camping uses in mind. Mountaineers and campers who need protection from the elements while sleeping on the face of a mountain often use bivy tents.

Assess your camping tent needs

Buy a tent that suits your camping needs. If you only go camping during the summer months, a three-season tent will work fine. If you think you might be camping as early as March, or as late as October, play it safe and go with a four-season tent. If you plan on doing any winter camping, a four-season tent is a necessity, not a luxury.

Keep in mind the number of people you’ll be sharing a camping tent with. If you’re a solo hiker, or a camping minimalist, a one-person tent or bivy could work for you. For some flexibility though, a two-person tent is probably a good idea. If you go backpacking with your dog, count him as a person as far as sleeping arrangements are concerned. If you have a family, there are camping tents that will fit up to 12 people. These also work well as base camps for long treks where a base camp is called for.

Buying a quality camping tent is well worth it. The attention to detail put into a quality camping tent could be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a soaked sleeping bag. Most camping tents come equipped with a rainfly. A rainfly is a waterproof cover custom-made to prevent rain from getting into your camping tent while not stifling ventilation. Even if you’re not planning on camping during wet months, a rainfly is a necessity, so make sure your camping tent comes equipped with one.

Look for popular camping tents such as Kelty camping tents, Hillary camping tents, and Coleman camping tents.

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Snuggle Into Sleeping Bags

Snuggle Into Sleeping Bags

Minimum temperature and fill material define what type of camping sleeping bag you need.

Temperature comfort rating is an essential specification to think about when purchasing a camping sleeping bag. If you are planning (or might in the future plan) to camp in the snow, you absolutely must purchase a sleeping bag rated for at least -10 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re planning on camping trips to even harsher climates, you’ll need a camping sleeping bag rated much lower. For most regular camping, a camping sleeping bag rated between 10 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit will give you versatility and comfort.

Camping sleeping bags are usually filled with down or synthetic materials. Each type has its own set of advantages.

  • Down Sleeping Bags: Made from the undercoats of ducks or geese, down sleeping bags are excellent insulators. It is often lighter than synthetic alternatives and compresses to a smaller size when folded. It will also often outlast synthetic bags.

  • Synthetic Sleeping Bags: Synthetic fibers are often hollow threads of plastic that trap air for insulation. The advantage of synthetic sleeping bags is that they still work even if they get wet and they dry fairly quickly. They are usually less expensive than their down counterparts.

Some popular sleeping bags include The North Face sleeping bags, Lafuma sleeping bags, and Marmot sleeping bags.

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Fire Up With Cooking Supplies for Camping

Fire Up With Cooking Supplies for Camping

Outdoor cooking can be an art or a matter of simple survival. Whether you’re cooking for eight or 80, having the right equipment goes a long way toward making a nutritious, delicious, and safe meal while you’re camping.

Camping stoves

Camping stoves are broken down into two main categories: camping and backpacking. Camping stoves often have multiple burners, larger fuel tanks, and are designed to cook large meals. Because of the extra burners and large fuel capacity, they are great for car camping. Backpacking stoves are small and light and usually only have a single burner. Look for a camping stove that can be disconnected from its fuel source. This will make it easier to pack, plus you can split the load if multiple people will be sharing the stove.

There are a few stove fuel choices, namely propane, white gas, and kerosene. Propane is clean burning and easy to find within the Canada. White gas comes in refillable containers, burns clean, and spilled fuel evaporates quickly. Kerosene is a great choice if you’re camping outside of the United States or Canada. It can be found almost anywhere, is very inexpensive, and burns very hot.

Popular camping stoves include Coleman camping stoves, MSR camping stoves, and Primus camping stoves.

Camping cookware

Depending on what you need, you can equip yourself with a single camping pot, a camping knife, and a camping spoon. Or you can cook three-course meals in multiple pots, then sit back and enjoy a cappuccino with your camping-sized espresso machine.

Other than deciding what you’ll need, the material that the cookware is made of is just as important. Camping and backpacking cookware can be made of aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel.

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Get Essential Camping Accessories

Get Essential Camping Accessories

From water filtration to camping lanterns and sleeping pads, you can find almost every amenity available to your home miniaturized for camping.

First-aid kits

Choose a first-aid kit based on how many people you’ll be camping with. Make sure that it contains an easy-to-follow instruction book and all the basics like bandages, insect sting/bite kits, moleskins, and first-aid ointment.

Camping knives

Camping knives are an essential tool around camp. Straight-edge camping knives are good for precision cutting, food preparation, and basic first aid. Serrated blades can be useful for cutting tough materials like canvas or plastics. Many utility camping knives come with multiple blades and can perform a variety of tasks.

Camping lighting

At the very least, you should always have a flashlight with you when you are camping. Camping lighting comes in many varieties. Flashlights are common and provide good directed light. Headlamps are great for when you want to keep your hands free. Flashlights and headlamps both run on batteries. Lanterns provide light for a large camping area. Lanterns can be powered by gas, propane, or batteries.

Camping sleeping pads

Camping sleeping pads not only provide a buffer between you and the rocky ground, but they also help to insulate you. Choose a camping sleeping pad based on the climate and whether you’ll be backpacking or car camping. Inflatable air mattresses are comfortable and definitely provide insulation, but they are bulky and would be difficult to backpack with. Open-cell foam pads provide better insulation than air mattresses and are still relatively inexpensive and light. Closed-cell foam is an excellent insulator and is incredibly durable. Self-inflating pads are open-cell foam pads wrapped in an airtight and watertight material. By adjusting the amount of air in the pad, you can adjust the firmness.

Water filtration/purification

Many campsites provide clean water, but if you’re heading off the beaten path, the ability to obtain potable water while you’re camping is crucial.

Water filtration and purification are similar, but different, things. Water filtration removes disease-causing bacteria and particles from the water. Water purification also removes viruses. To ensure that water is safe to drink, first use a mechanical filter, then apply an iodine solution to kill any leftover bacteria and viruses, then let stand for between 15 minutes and one hour.

Mechanical filters can use a ceramic, fiberglass, or iodine core. Of those three, iodine cores are the only ones that deactivate viruses. So, if you use a ceramic or fiberglass core, you’ll need to use a separate iodine treatment to kill any viruses in the water.

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Find Camping Equipment on eBay

Find Camping Equipment on eBay

Once you know what type of camping equipment you want, go to the Sporting Goods portal, click Camping, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Tents, Sleeping Bags, Cookware, and more. As you dig deeper into the site you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay title listings for specific words. For example, if you want to find a propane stove, type "propane stove" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Camping Gear with Confidence

Buy Camping Gear with Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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