Amazon Prime Day is a great opportunity to stock up on cheap outdoor gear (we'll be rounding up all of this year's best hiking deals and camping deals), but if you're hoping to snag a cheap tent in the sales then you might find it harder than usual.
There are a few reasons, but it's partly a matter of timing. Amazon Prime Day is taking place on 12 and 13 July this year, just after the Independence Day weekend, which is a favorite time for family camping trips. This It therefore comes as little surprise that many of the most affordable tents are now out of stock. A search for cheap tents on Amazon yields far fewer results than you might normally expect, and several of those listed are no longer available to buy. It's a similar story with camping furniture and other gear, which seems to have been selling like hot cakes ahead of the holiday weekend.
Prime Day 2021 took place in June, and in 2020 it happened in October, meaning there wasn't such a rush to snap up cheap camping gear immediately before the event. In an ordinary year Amazon might be able to replenish its stock quickly enough to compensate, but the current shortage of truck drivers together with the rise in fuel prices means that it's tougher for retailers like to get more goods when supplies run out. It a tent is out of stock now, there may not be any more available by Prime Day.
The increasing cost of fuel (and of living in general) also means that camping is becoming increasingly popular with people who might normally have taken a vacation overseas. Dispersed camping is particularly cheap, since you don't have to pay to use a campsite. In fact, it's possible to get everything you need for just $300, and once you've got the gear, it'll give you many years of service.
Amazon isn't your only option though, and you don't need to wait until Prime Day itself. Many retailers are holding 4 July sales. REI is offering particularly deep savings for members, and Dick's Sporting Goods has cut hundreds of price for the holidays. We've collected together the cheapest tent deals for you right here:
Today's best cheap tent deals
REI Groundbreaker 2 Tent:
$89.95 $49.99 at REI
Save $39.96 If you're looking for a cheap two-person, three-seasons tent ahead of Prime Day, this is a solid option. It should be a piece of cake to pitch, and despite its price it comes with features like mesh ventilation panels, a rain fly, and internal pockets. The only think it doesn't have is a footprint, so take that into your budget calculations.
Coleman Sundome Six-Person Tent:
$149.99 $79.98 at Dick's Sporting Goods
Save $70.01 Coleman is one of the biggest names in cheap camping gear, and there's a huge discount on this family-size tent for 4 July. Coleman says you'll have it set up in 10 minutes, and it has a weather-resistant design to keep you dry and sheltered from wind and rain.
Mountain Summit Gear Dome Tent:
$119.95 $83.89 at REI
Save $36.06 A three-person tent for under $100 isn't too shabby at all, and this one is nice and lightweight, coming in at just 8lb 8z. It's not flashy, but its tub-style floor should help keep everything dry even if it's pitched on damp grass, and it has a full back rain fly and specially designed mesh to keep bugs at bay.
Poler One-Person Tent:
$200 $99.93 at REI
Save $100.07 For solo adventurers, this one-person tent is half price at REI ahead of Prime Day. With a fully taped rainfly and 3,000mm water resistant floor, it should shrug off summer showers, and its single-pole design means setup should take moments.
Quest Switchback Eight-Person Cross Vent Dome Tent:
$199.99 $119.99 at Dick's Sporting Goods
Save $80 This very well-rated family tent is simple but spacious, with a rain fly and taped seams, and a maximum height of 6'2" at the top of the dome, so most campers will be able to stand comfortably.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.