With the summer holidays fast approaching I am thinking about replacing camping equipment. I'm looking for a new tent, and from previous experience prefer certain well-known brands with a history of reliability in the Queensland wet season.
Double air bed 2-burner gas cooker 3-season sleeping bag
Putting all these items together the price comparison is as follows (correct Nov 2011):
Anaconda $560.00 BCF $543.00 Ray's Outdoors $607.00 or $569.38 with your member discount
Anaconda did not carry the same brands as the other two.
It is worth noting that Kelly's Camping, an online camping store, offered the same items for $474.87 plus postage.
Of course price is only one part of the equation and my personal experiences in-store have varied from store to store.
Anaconda at Logan Mega Centre, 3525 Pacific Highway, Slacks Creek offers good service in certain departments. Staff could tell me what products they stocked and where to find them however their expertise seemed to be limited to the individuals section of the store. I had to speak 3 staff members about three different items (tent, jet-ski ropes and sleeping bag).
Some BCF stores seem to be predominantly fishing focussed so finding a store near you with a full camping range is the first task. Staff have a more 'general' knowledge of the various items in store and my specific questions about the tent couldn't be answered, I was just handed a brochure it.
I generally find the selection at Ray's Outdoors wide-ranging and reasonably priced. The staff at the MacGregor Mega Centre store, 555 Kessels Road, MacGregor, were all knowledgeable and extremely helpful. Sometimes service overrides price and with more Ray's stores opening they are easier to get to as well.
And the online stores? When I know exactly what I want I will shop online, but once the cost of postage is added there isn't a great deal of difference in the price. For big ticket items I would rather see the item, hold it, walk in and out of it, and compare it, so a physical camping store wins hands down.