Are you going camping this summer? And will you be taking the kitchen sink with you? Gone are the days of popping down to Army Surplus to buy the basics and heading off to the beach or bush for some rough camping.
Family camping is turning into glamping (glamorous camping), with the range of must-have items expanding each year as "technology", from fabrics to electronics, leaps ahead. Some campers wouldn't leave home without their solar-panel pack or chemical toilets.
No long drops for them.
Most of my friends head to Kathmandu when they want to buy camping gear. It's worth checking out the high-street alternatives including MacPac, R&R Sports, Outdoor Action, Pack & Pedal, Dwights and several others. Australian retailer FCO Fishing Camping Outdoors offers competitive prices.
Online sellers such as EquipOutdoors and Complete Outdoors keep the high-street stores on their toes. The likes of Mitre 10, Bunnings, and many others also have great bargains. The Warehouse and Kmart have a good range of tents and outdoor equipment at pretty reasonable prices, along with consumables such as gas.
Some little-known stores offer really good deals. When I checked this week, SaveBarn, which has stores in Otahuhu, New Lynn, Christchurch and Whangarei, had 292 items for sale on the "Camping and Hunting" section of its website, including a tent and camp stretcher in one and an outdoor shower that runs off your car cigarette lighter.
Not to be ignored are a number of one-man-band type importers who sell items on Trade Me. On Tuesday there were 4870 brand new camping and outdoors listings. In fact, new outnumbered second-hand.
Trade Me offers some real bargains. Many items are identical or just as good as the expensive branded goods. The HY-532 tent that sells on Trade Me is a dead ringer for one I bought from Pack & Pedal last year.
The biggest risk of buying non-standard-brand tents is finding the spares if the poles snap - which they tend to do. Having said that, Kiwi Camping and others sell pole sections that can be cut to size.
• Dwights Homestead Deluxe tents half-price.
• Necessities camping chairs - any two for $15 at The Warehouse.
• Lotusbelle.co.nz: Lotus Belle "glamping" tents from $2,200.
• EquipOutdoors.co.nz: EquipOutdoors annual tent sale, November 9 and 10.
• FCO.co.nz: Instant touring tents from $149 for club members
• 40 per cent discount off all tents for Summit Club members at Kathmandu.