The sun is shining. The weather is warm. You've managed to snag one of the coveted camping spots in the Bay Area this weekend, or perhaps even further afield. A wild adventure awaits.
But where do you stock up on the goods you need to make it a fun, relatively comfortable (but not too comfortable, of course), safe camping trip?
Here in Berkeley there are plenty of resources for campers. The one-stop super shop is , where adventurers can find everything from tents and backpacks to GPS devices and first aid supplies. For a more local feel, on Adeline Street also offers an extensive range of supplies, plus helpful service and a store dog to keep you company while you shop.
But before you commit to buying brand new camping equipment, it might be worth checking out thrift stores or surplus markets for a cheaper deal. Thrift stores that stock more generalized goods, other than clothes and shoes, include (University Avenue) and The Cellar Thrift Store (2345 Channing Way). If you have time for weekend shopping, on Saturdays and Sundays can be a good place to rummage for second-hand camping equipment. stocks camping essentials, along with all the usual military fare.
Craigslist is another place to hunt for cheap camping equipment, usually in the sporting goods category. Try typing "camping" in the search bar to browse for general goods, or use specific terms like "tent" or "backpack."
If you'd rather not invest in camping gear for the long haul, rental equipment is available from REI and Marmot Mountain Works. A list of prices is available on the Marmot Mountain work's website. Tents are available from $15 to $31 for up to three days, along with mountaineering equipment and hiking accessories like rock climbing shoes.
REI's rates are not available online, but a 2-person tent rented to non-members will cost $26 for the first day and $13 for each additional day, which does not include the pick-up or drop-off days. Members can rent a 2-person tent for $16 for the first day and $8 for each additional day. Call REI at (510) 527-4140 and speak to a sales representative for further rental prices. Lifetime membership with REI is $20.
For schooling about all things camping related before you leave on your trip, REI's website provides a learning section that includes advice like how to choose a camping tent, how to fit a backpack and how to choose a sleeping bag. A list of all camping-related REI articles can be found here.
Online, REI also stocks a comprehensive set of checklists, including the following:
- Camping Checklist
- Outdoor Kitchen Checklist
- Backpacking Checklist
- Day Hiking Checklist
- First Aid Checklist
A general checklist of things you might need for a fun camping trip (like guitars, board games and swim suits) is available at www.campgrounds-by-city.com.