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8 stores to buy camping gear and equipment in Toronto

Posted by Guest Contributor / July 8, 2012

camping equipment torontoCamping gear and equipment are a serious necessity in order to camp right. Sure, there's something to be said about roughing it with a few key survival items, but for those less inclined to camp with the bare-bones, Toronto has a wide range of shops offering every kind of supply that outdoor enthusiasts could possibly need.

Here's my list of the top stores in Toronto for camping gear and equipment.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (400 King Street West)
MEC leads the pack for outdoor enthusiasts. The co-op store requires a $5 lifetime membership in order to shop, but you'll find quality tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment and generally every other form of top-notch gear you could need. As a bonus, their employees are highly knowledgeable, and for those who camp less frequently and don't feel like storing equipment at home, their rentals are the perfect solution.

Europe Bound (383 King Street West)
Europe Bound lacks the size of MEC, its neighbour to the north, but their products are solid and they have two locations to choose from (the other is located at 47 Front Street E.). While MEC may be the leading outdoor store in the neighbourhood, stop by Europe Bound to compare prices before making a purchase, and check out their more specialized camping gear such as hiking staffs and headlamps. They also offer fantastic rental services.

Canadian Outdoor Equipment (199 Lakeshore Road East, Unit A)
This haven for camping fans used to have a location at King and Spadina, which closed down at the end of April, but you can still visit them in Port Credit for high-quality, hand-crafted gear and apparel. COE doesn't have its own product line or rentals (yet), but like MEC, they offer free shipping on online orders over $50 (Europe Bound is over $60).

The North Face (151 Bloor Street West)
There's no doubt that North Face offers some outstanding products online, as well as through other retailers and at their Avenue and Bloor location. Try a heavy-duty backpack for your multi-day hikes, and keep in mind that their camping gear is high-quality and priced accordingly, so don't expect your wallet to be too happy--but you're going to look mighty good in that eight-person, 2-meter doom tent.

Sail (137 Chrislea Road, Unit 1)
This Quebec import now has three stores in Ontario, with the closest locations to the downtown core found in Vaughan and Burlington (the newest entry). Sail stores compare in size to Bass Pro, and focus entirely on outdoor adventure products. You'll find a huge selection and plenty of good lines to choose from, including the above mentioned North Face.

Al Flaherty's Outdoor Store (2066 Dufferin St.)
Al's is way out at Dufferin and Rogers, but is a one-stop shop for everything from shooting, hunting and fishing gear to camping apparel and heavy-duty gear. The products are in line with what you'd expect to find at Canadian Tire and Bass Pro, offering prices that keep the VISA bill in check.

Canadian Tire (Various locations, including 65 Dundas Street W)
Look, I'm all about the high-quality gear purchased with the help of employees that know what they're talking about, but sometimes you want a sleeping bag that's on sale for $30. Don't get me wrong, some of the gear at the Tire is good, but it's a limited selection made for the masses, not for legitimate camping enthusiasts. Looking for cheaper last-minute items on your way to a campground? This is your stop.

Bass Pro Shops (1 Bass Pro Mills Drive)
Although Bass Pro Shops can be considered the Walmart of fishing stores, they also have a wide range of gear and apparel for camping, tools and accessories for hunting and even archery. For 905-ers wanting an alternative to Canadian Tire, Bass Pro will do the trick.

Writing by Matt McNama



Rob / July 8, 2012 at 04:20 am
"Doom" tent in TNF section sounds interesting. Also, where is Patagonia?!
Loodle / July 8, 2012 at 11:03 am
Technically, Bass Pro Shop, Sail and Canadian Outdoor Equipment are located in Vaughan and Mississauga, which if I can recall correctly, aren't a part of Toronto. The title of the article should be "8 stores to buy camping gear and equipment in the GTA" to better reflect this.

Nice selectin of stores by the way.
nom / July 8, 2012 at 11:32 am
No, the title of the article should be " 8 stores where you can buy camping gear and equipment in ..." Otherwise you are suggesting that 8 stores will be buying camping gear and equipment (of course!) and that they'll be doing it in Toronto. This very persistent mistake occurs in a lot of the headlines at this website, and it is very easy to correct. Sure, everyone may (eventually) understand what you mean, but you aren't setting a very good journalistic example. You're killing me here.
nom nom nom indeed replying to a comment from nom / July 8, 2012 at 11:54 am
this kills me every single time they do it, but this time I was all 'whaaaat? what are these eight stores and why do they need to buy camping gear? for their customers? so they can camp out? isn't this straaaaange. let's read on." undeserved intrigue by grammatical error. gets me every time.
Pete / July 8, 2012 at 03:21 pm
What about Le Baron. Its closer to Toronto than The Bass Pro, it's Canadian, and it actually sells quality camping equipment.
Jungle Joe / July 8, 2012 at 04:10 pm
Strange that Patagonia is missing as it's one of the most well regarded!!
PJ / July 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm
I second Le Baron - quality stuff, cheap prices
clive / July 9, 2012 at 12:27 am
Just do a google search instead of referencing blogTO. geez..and maybe blogTO will do a google map search of where Toronto actually is and isn't.
alex / July 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm
What's with the Toronto elitism here? If you live in north york for example, it's much faster and easier to get to bass pro shops than downtown, but I guess for some of you people anything north of Bloor is not Toronto.
rek replying to a comment from nom / July 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm
I'm sure we can blame the over-SEO-ification of blogTO for that.
Loodle replying to a comment from alex / July 9, 2012 at 06:00 pm
It's not Toronto elitism - it's just geographically incorrect. If I was being elitist, I would've said not to include those stores.
Gabe / July 10, 2012 at 12:37 am
I agree with myself!!!
Andrew / January 31, 2013 at 01:51 am
Also adding to the list is: ATMOSPHERE, at Eaton Centre
Mike / April 28, 2013 at 07:32 pm
Are there any places where I can rent camping gear in the GTA?
Dana / May 2, 2013 at 04:11 pm
Hi Mike, looks like the guys at Exclusive Sport Rentals rent camping gear. Check them out online Hope this helps :)
Kandace / October 4, 2013 at 05:27 am
Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you
relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what
youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just postijng videos
to yoiur blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?
Dave / March 24, 2014 at 09:48 pm
I would like to add a fishing apparel company to the list. More of an outdoor lifestyle brand . It's called Stix & Stones ,
Al Flaherty's / April 28, 2014 at 04:59 pm
Thanks for the shout-out, but we're not really "all the way out there" ;)

Easy TTC & driving access to our store, whatever you mode of transport.
Al Flahertys / April 28, 2014 at 05:04 pm
"Al's is way out at Dufferin and Rogers"

We're not that far out ;)
10 minute bus ride from Dufferin or Wilson Station, just hop on the 29 bus, or you can park outside our store in our lot!

Camping supplies have just come in for the season, all our tents are set up on the floor and we're ready to greet a new season!
Barbara / March 18, 2015 at 08:28 pm
All the stores listed here have quality stuff for all Canadian Outdoor Equipment. If you enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, hunting there is quality goods for you.
Thanks for sharing this information.

Tonio / March 24, 2015 at 11:13 pm
There is also the brand new ARC'TERYX retail store on Queen West.
Danny W / March 25, 2015 at 07:41 pm
Both Patagonia and Arc'tryex are great places to get quality outdoor clothing but my guess they weren't included is they aren't the one-stop-shops that the other stores are. I'm also surprised that Atmosphere isn't on it though, considering it's central location at Eaton Centre. And I second Le Baron's, very competitively priced, sometimes even better than Canadian Tire.
Jean / October 14, 2015 at 03:54 am
Like Mountain Equipment Co-op. Incredibly helpful staff, the membership is well worth it. The quality of the items are great. I can say that for the socks, the daypacks, full-sized knapsacks and hand warmers!
Bettina / October 17, 2015 at 05:07 am
The Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co. was a small store but excellent Helle knives and Gransfors Bruks axes.
Lace Thomas / January 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm
Found everything I needed at Mountain Equipment Co-Op for my next outdoor camping event with my family. I loved the quality. Excited to try my new tent!
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