Ahhh, your first tent.
The memories of picking it out stars in your eyes as you imagined sleeping in it under the stars in the skies. The frustrating lesson when learning how to put it up for the first time. The annoying buzz of a mosquito who made it through the door just as you were zipping it up. The sunrises and the warm coffee in the backcountry, just you and the trees and the birds.
And now it’s time to move on, get a newer version that suits your adventures better. That first tent still has some life in it though and you’d hate to just throw it away.
So what do you do? How do you sell your used camping tent and give it more opportunities for adventures?
I’m going to share a few options on where to sell your tent as well as how to prep your tent for selling, how to take good photos, write a good listing, and get that puppy sold so you can make more room in your gear closet for another piece.
When it comes time to sell my tent, I want to scope out the options on where might be the best place to do that before I just post it willy-nilly on the internet.
Choosing the #1 best place to sell your used tent may come down to what’s available for you locally. Some cities have a plethora of used gear stores or consignment outdoor stores that might take your used gear. Some smaller towns may not have this option at all.
No matter where in the world you are, the internet is generally a good place to list used outdoor gear for sale although, again, which platforms are most popular will differ by area.
In some places, Facebook Marketplace is the go-to. In others, OfferUp or Craigslist are the best ones.
In all places, Rerouted will easily help you connect your used gear with its new owner.
Whether you choose to sell in a brick-and-mortar store or online will determine how much work you’ll need to put in on your end. For both options, you’ll want to make sure your tent is in as good of shape as it can be, which I discuss below. When selling in a local store, you won’t have to worry about taking photos, writing a listing, or fielding questions from buyers but you may have to pay a high percentage of the sales price as a consignment fee to the business.
Selling online might open your used gear up to a larger audience and you may be able to ask for a higher price point but you’ll also have to manage the sale from the marketing through to customer service and the final hand-off.
Both are good options and which you choose depends entirely on your goals and geographic area.
Ok, now you’ve figured out WHERE to sell your tent so let’s move on to making sure you get the best bang for your buck.
Selling your tent will take some prep work so let’s look at what that might include.
Firstly, you want to make sure that you’re selling a tent that is in good working order. You don’t want to pass on a lemon or something that is missing pieces or has irreparable damage.
After years of use, it’s normal for there to be some wear and tear on your gear but use this pre-listing time to get the tent into as good condition as you can.
Clean the tent, shake out and vacuum up any evidence of your previous adventures. Perhaps wipe the whole thing down with a damp rag. Both of these steps are easiest to accomplish when the tent is set up rather than just a lumpy piece of fabric on the ground.
After it’s clean, repair any holes, zippers, pockets, grommets, poles, etc that need sprucing up.
Tears happen. Sharp stones, sticks, dog toenails, tree branches - there are a lot of things the fabric can get snagged on.
Luckily patching a tent is a fairly simple process. You don’t need any special tools or skills to be able to do it and you can accomplish this task in the backcountry or in your living room.
Pro-Tip: If the hole is located near the door, where the poles are, or another high-use, higher-tension spot, it’s a good idea to put a patch on the inside and the outside. If not, just patching the outside should be fine.
If a pole is kinked or bent or snapped, it’s totally fine to use the splint sleeve or a tent stake and some duct tape to fix it in the field. When it comes to selling your used tent, you don’t want to give a band-aided pole to the next owner.
Look into professional pole repair services either by the tent manufacturer, REI, or your local gear shops.
If a seam leaks, you’ll want to get some seam sealant and brush it on the compromised area after cleaning it with some rubbing alcohol. You may also want to go the extra mile and re-waterproof your rainfly before listing the tent for sale, just to give your buyers that peace of mind.
If a zipper is busted, you’ll want to get that professionally fixed as well unless you are a master with a sewing machine. This is another thing the manufacturer or other repair companies can do for you
Don’t get lazy and just post pictures of the tent on previous trips, crumpled up on the floor in a pile, or in its stuff sack (do other people keep those after they buy them? I don’t.)
Set your tent up in your backyard or living room or garage to show how it looks once it’s set up. You may also have some photos of the tent in use on some of your adventures you can use, but you definitely want to provide current photos in your used tent. You want to show your buyers that it stands and all the doors and zippers and clasps and whatever other things it has work.
Take photos of the tent from different angles, take close ups of interesting details, be sure to take photos of any blemishes or repairs or flaws. Check out some examples of awesome tent listings.
Be honest about the tent, don’t try to hide what’s wrong with it just to get it sold. Don’t worry about taking overly artsy photos of it either, when people are shopping online for used camping gear, they want to see the reality, not the filtered version.
Just as with the photos, you want to be sure you’re sharing the honest truth about the state of your tent. Share how long you’ve had it and how much action it has seen. Tell them about the tent’s pros and cons - perhaps it was marketed as a 2-person tent but it’s actually more like a 3-person tent, or maybe you bought it to be used on backpacking trips but it’s a little heavy and bulky for long trips.
Tell buyers in the listing as you did in the photos about any repairs or flaws or stains or tears. Don’t hide anything.
It’s used, it’s going to have some character, it’s not going to be perfect (unless you bought it and never ever used it and it’s still in pristine condition.)
Pricing used gear is such a personal decision and it’s difficult to give any hard and fast rules for how to go about it. I’m going to share a few considerations that will help you to make an informed decision.
Your motivation to move the gear out of your home is probably the biggest contributing factor to your sales price. The higher you price your item, the smaller the pool of potential buyers. The lower you price your item, the larger the pool of potential buyers.
If you want to move gear and get it out of your home so you can use that space in a different way, you’ll want to be very competitive in your pricing.
If you value the gear more and don’t mind having it around a little longer, you might price it a little higher depending on the next two factors.
When taking into consideration the quality of the tent, you want to assess the quality the tent was when it was brand new - was it a cheap knockoff brand or an elite, name brand one?
You also want to consider the condition of the tent RIGHT NOW, as you’re selling it. If there are zero repairs or character marks on it, that’ll catch a higher price point than a tent that still has broken pieces and rips in the fabric (this is why we repair as much as we can in Step 1.)
If you’re going to sell your used camping tent on Rerouted, Facebook Marketplace, your local Craigslist or some other place, you might want to scope out what is currently for sale on that platform that is similar.
Taking into account the condition of the tent and your ideal timeline for selling it, finding similar listings and researching the price and time on the platform will give you a good idea of what price range you might want to list yours at.
It might be hard or even impossible to find used camping tents that are in the same ballpark as yours and if that’s the case, you will be experimenting with a sales price based on your own concept of what the gear is worth and what you might be willing to pay for it if you were in the market for a used tent.
There’s no clear-cut answer to the question “how long does a tent last?” but with care and consideration, a few patches and repairs here and there, it can last for years or even decades. Just because you have upgraded to something new doesn’t mean your previous tent needs to go to the landfill.
Give it another life with another adventurer! And as we shared in this article, “The Best, Most Eco-Friendly Camping Gear you can collect is the stuff you already have or the used gear someone else is downsizing.
Hopefully this article has shared some helpful tips on where to sell a tent, how to patch and repair tents, how to take good photos and make a good listing, as well as how to price it.