How to be a Happy Camper for Less!

Mountain climing


By Sarah Lisenbe, Guest Blogger

Ah, the great outdoors! It’s marshmallow-roasting season, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m an avid camper, but I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that camping has to mean “roughing it”. On the contrary! Camping can be incredibly comfortable…if you have the right gear.

You may think you have to visit a sports or outdoors store for your gear, but a lot of people buy gear for one occasion, then end up selling or donating it. Their donation can be your #GWGoodFind of the year! 

I’m always on the lookout for great deals on camping and outdoor gear, and Goodwill has really delivered. Here’s a rundown on some of the epic deals I’ve gotten this year.

  • Canopies and shelters ($29.99 - $59.99) - I got a brand new pop-up canopy for $39.99 (about half of what they are normally priced). If you’ve ever camped in Texas, you know these are a must! Whether you’re spending the day at the beach on North Padre Island, or spending a week primitive camping in Big Bend, shade is essential.
  • Tarps ($3.99 - $6.99) - one of the most practical investments you can make. Use them to keep gear dry, string them up for privacy or shade, or put them under your tent for extra protection against rocks or moisture. Mine came in handy during my most recent trip to the Guadalupe Mountains - a beautiful campground, but a really rocky campsite.

  • Canvas chairs ($3.99 -$6.99) - in my experience you can never have too many of these. Take them to cookouts, a day at Lake Travis, to sit on your back porch, or load them up for a weekend of bird watching at Lost Maples! They pack away small, there’s always going to be someone who needs a chair. Be the hero who brings extra chairs!
  • Insulated vest ($5.99)
    - Last year I made myself a promise: I would climb Guadalupe Peak, the highest peak in Texas, in 2016. Earlier this month I kept that promise, and it was surprisingly cold! I can’t imagine how that hike would have gone without my insulated vest. They’re perfect for keeping your core temperature up without overly restricting your movement, and they pack up smaller than a coat. If you do a lot of camping in Texas, I highly recommend this Goldilocks’ accessory – not too hot, not too cold…just right!


You can also find lanterns, flashlights…even camping stoves at Goodwill. Saving on your camping stove makes yummy treats taste even better!

  • Coolers ($5.99) - One of my favorite finds this year was a large cooler. I spotted it under some furniture and was instantly excited. Although it needed some TLC (I’m guessing it was used for fishing by its previous owner), after some scrubbing and a spray-down with bleach it looked (and smelled) like new!
  • Hiking backpack ($6.99 - $9.99) - I’ve gotten these for a steal! Hiking backpacks are smaller and lighter than traditional backpacks, making them ideal for hiking. Load up on water, snacks, and sunblock, then trek up Enchanted Rock for beautiful views on one of the most breathtaking natural features in Central Texas.

  • Clothing and shoes - I’ve seen my preferred brand of hiking boots, barely used, in multiple Goodwills for $9.99 or less, so I picked up a backup pair that’s come in quiet handy during the rainy season. All these recent spring showers aren’t going to keep me from the green belt!
  • Moisture-wicking performance wear (starting at $3.99) - If you hike in Texas, you need clothes that dry fast - especially if you frequent desert climates where you can go from sweating to shivering after the sun goes down. Goodwill has you covered with name-brand performance wear at great prices! I’ve gotten several long-sleeve shirts that I never going camping without. They’re great for warmth or protection from the sun.

So be a happy camper! Grab your gear at Goodwill and enjoy the great outdoors. Happy trails!




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