Savings Abound: Our New-To-Us Tent

>> Friday, April 9, 2010

And the savings just continue today on (never home)maker! Stephen and I love the mountains. We love the ocean. We love hiking. We love campfires. We love traveling. We love being outdoors! Naturally, camping is something we want to start doing a whole lot more of now that summer is near. In fact, we've already planned a four-night camping excursion for July on the coast of Maine.

Problem is: We didn't have a tent until very recently. I'm a bit of a camping princess. Not in the not wanting to get dirty part, though. I just like to have options. For example, if it decides to rain over the 4th of July (that's when we'll be in ME), I don't want to be stuck sitting in a soggy, tiny tent with a low ceiling. Plus, with all this money-saving going on, we wanted to purchase a tent that would work well even when we had kids someday. All this criteria led us to a cabin-style shelter.

I enlisted help from my Twitter friends for suggestions. And boy did we get a lot of them! Jessica, ultimately, was the person who suggested we seek out Eureka for a high-quality, water-resistant tents. They were a little pricey for the kind we wanted, though. (Like, $330 expensive, as in this particular model.) So, we waited. We went home to visit my family in PA one weekend . . . and something magical happened.

I was leafing through the local newspaper when I saw a small add for a sale IN OUR CITY for Eureka tents. I didn't even know we had a store in the area. Anyway, the sale was at the end of the week, and attendees could save anywhere from 10% to 40% off. It was meant to be, really. But would they have the kind of tent we wanted?

We had no clue.

When we got there, the place was packed. There were a variety of tents -- mostly smaller ones. But, then we saw it. The exact tent we had been eying on (well, almost -- it was REALLY close to it). It sleeps 6 to 8 people. It's ceiling height is around 7 feet. It has a front screened room (to suit my lust for variety of spaces). But there were all these notes on it like A-grade, B-grade, and C-grade. We had no clue what all this meant. After a quick chat with a salesperson, we discovered that A meant brand-new, B meant very gently used (only inside, never outside), and C meant used.

Who on this earth would want a used tent? Something a family had camped in for years and years. Rife with fleas. Or covered in deer urine. I don't know -- my mind goes weird places. Well, just open your hearts and minds, people! Used -- as we found out -- didn't mean quite what it sounds like. The tent, to be sold again, could only have been used for up to 30 days. So, there was a chance that the C-grade tent we decided to buy was basically new. And the price went from around $380 (the tent at the store was slightly different than the one we found online) to more like $180. After a discount, we got it for $165!

I'm bragging, I know. But what's the moral of this story? Be open to used items. We don't always need something brand new. Especially if it's just going to get dirty anyway! We swiftly returned home from Eureka with our (heavy) tent box and set it up that night (we wanted to make sure everything was in working order). I bet you're wondering if the tent was dirty. And, to be completely honest, it was just slightly. But hardly anything to be worried about. There was a leaf in the bag. Big deal. What we found when we set it up is that it worked perfectly. Anything that was "wrong" with it had been refurbished by the folks at Eureka prior to resell.

And now we have this gigantic tent for only a fraction of its original price! Do you have a story where you fell into a deal like we did? Where the stars magically aligned in your favor? Do you have any camping tips for us? Or anything else you'd like to share on this topic? Just leave us a comment or email us at

ALSO check out this month's Blog Love Fest. It's a special edition because we're not only sharing the links in a list this month. We're creating a categorized blogLOVEroll. For all the gooey details, just visit the BLF post.

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