Where to buy Canvas and Kit

At the risk of giving away all my secrets it is probably worth thinking about the places that you can find Canvas tentage and associated kit on the used market

The obviously place to start is Ebay, if not for purchases then at least for research. All manner of obscure and interesting stuff finds its way onto Ebay, and a lot of tat does too. If you can go look at items before bidding all the better. Ebay is great for obscure spares and the bits and pieces you can't get locally. One thing to be aware of is the buyer/seller ratio, in the spring there does seem to be a bit fo a feeding frenzy but tents seem to out number buyers, though competiotn for the good stuff is fierce. Prices can be lower at the end of the season or off season when no one really want to be thinking about buying camping stuff - you would be amazed at what people try to sell on the run up to Christmas to get some cash together. I prefer to use Ebay for research, to see what is about, get to see lots of photos of kit but probably not buy there unless the price is right and the buyer close by. But then one of my favourite tents came from here indirectly when someone I know made a silly "will you take a Buy it Now" offer that got accepted by a seller who just wanted rid of something

Dutch Marktplaats is often a good place to go look if it is a larger piece of Canvas you have in mind. You can pick up a barely used DeWaard that was maybe Eu2000 new for Eu500 to Eu800 (sometimes a lot less). The Dutch have a vast camping culture and the quality of their tents is second to none. A lot of Dutch speak perfect English and many will let you arrange a courier to collect your new pride and joy. Somewhere like Shiply will help in getting things to the UK but if you go over 30kg the prices can be heft - but then if you live near the south coast you have an excuse for a nice day trip

Occasionally retailers do offer used/demo Canvas for sale but the UK Cabanon dealers sometimes have end of season clearance. Not heard of a retailer doing part exchange for years but you never know, might be worth a phone round the local proper camp shops. Tent rental seems ot have also vanished in the last decade, Kenmar used to be a good source though a quick look on google might find you something

Gumtree and Preloved can be good as it tends to be more local, the choices will be limited but the prices often better than Ebay. And also if you want to stay local it is worth looking for local supermarket, corner shop and post office advertising boards. Then you have the 'works' notice boards (and electronic boards too) as most bigger companies create or allow such things to exist. One favourite among some people is the car boot sale, quality varies hugely but you might just find a bargain. With all these things it is down to persistence and luck as much as anything, which is probably why Ebay is so popular as it is easy to do from your armchair

Freecycle/freegle may offer some great sounding items but when people are offering you have to make a pitch for why you should get the item, so competition is firece as many people seem to be on there wanting something for nothing. My most successful approach has been to request items. If I have a few things to give away I add a request for anything interesting people might have - a lot of the time it is tat but every now and then something nice turns up

Building on the Freecycle approach, advertising your needs in general can be a good way to approach things. Tell everyone you know you have a need for a Canvas tent or related kit and it is amazing what comes out of the woodwork. And it is sometimes amazing how little people usually want for the items - I recently heard of a Cabanon Pyramid 6 changing hands for £40, and a near perfect 4 berth Marechal Frame tent for £40, both the sellers were delighted to get rid if this huge lump of canvas cluttering up the garage and the buyer was delighted with a fabulous tent for a bargain price

It is worth getting to know the Charity Shops in your area that take in bulky items like camping gear. If you can let them know that you have a keen interest in camping stuff when you next make a generous donation - leave them your number and you might get first refusal on some stuff. Its a classic win:win, they get to shift bulky stuff almost before it has time to clutter up the shop and you get a kind of lucky dip/lottery of camping items while making contributions to a deserving charity

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