How to Protect Your Camp from Supply Chain Issues

May 2, 2022
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Your camp is getting ready for its first full summer in a few years. It’s time to dust off your equipment, take stock of what needs to be replaced, and start placing orders for new gear. Unfortunately, global supply chain issues due to the pandemic are making it difficult to get the gear you want as quickly as you’re used to. Luckily for you, there are some great resources to help you navigate and prepare for your upcoming season.

What is causing global supply chain issues (a.k.a., why things are not in stock when you want them):

  • The global pandemic caused factories to close worldwide and/or operate with limited staffing, which dramatically lowered production volumes for extended periods
  • The sudden increased demand for outdoor gear due to an increase in outdoor participation put extra pressure on the already restricted supply chain
  • Rising fuel costs combined with bottlenecked transportation options have skyrocketed freight costs and elongated shipping timelines
  • War, geopolitical issues, and differing national COVID-19 policies continue to make it difficult for brands and manufacturers to successfully plan ahead

Overall, “global scheduling reliability” (a company’s ability to plan and rely on manufacturing and delivery deadlines) for all industries is at about 30 percent, compared to 70+ percent prior to the pandemic. This means that even when a brand tries to plan ahead, things only go according to plan 30 percent of the time. Yikes! These trends that started in 2020 with the pandemic and are expected to continue for many more years as the supply chain recovers. 

What you can do to minimize the impact on your camp over the next three to five years

  1. Plan and order ahead! It may take 6–12 months (sometimes more!) for some key items to be delivered. This means ordering in the fall, or as early as possible in the spring, for items you need the following summer.
  2. Invest in quality equipment! Buy gear that is repairable and covered by a warranty that will last years, minimizing your need to replace items last-minute.
  3. Work with College Outside! They have preordered and reserved key outdoor recreation equipment specifically for outdoor education groups and camps. They can provide personalized support in navigating ETAs, out-of-stock products and tight budgets. 
  4. Place a preseason order or a backorder for the next season! Preorders and backorders can be placed for many brands at once through College Outside with no minimum orders. If your order for each brand is big enough, you may be able to do this directly through a brand by establishing yourself as an outfitter.
  5. Repair used equipment! Train staff on routine equipment maintenance and how to repair hard-to-replace items. Buy repair and patch kits, or reach out to local gear shops to ask for support repairing well-loved gear. 

Five key pieces of durable (and affordable) camp equipment that are available to ship right now on College Outside:

  1. NRS Carlisle Economy Paddle — This inexpensive, lightweight, sturdy paddle is great for rafting and canoeing and will hold up to camper shenanigans.
  2. Edelrid Tower Static 10.1mm 200m Rope — A semi-static rope made specifically for gyms and challenge courses. The high-quality kernmantel construction combines superb abrasion resistance and low elongation with excellent handling.
  3. Mammut Skywalker 2 Helmet — An incredibly durable and ergonomic helmet with a thumbwheel for quick, easy adjustment. Now updated with a stronger EPS inner for a longer lifespan.
  4. Alps Mountaineering Crater Lake Outfitter 20 Degree Sleeping Bag — With a zip out liner for easy laundering and a large #10 zipper, this sleeping bag will withstand repeated, rugged use. 
  5. Gregory Icarus 40L Daypack — This pack is durable and adjustable to match many different body sizes, with smart, easy-to-use features, and accessibility. 

ACA-accredited camps can gain access to a College Outside group account by applying now at collegeoutside.com/apply. Camps can place orders at wholesale prices, including the items above. Pro-deal accounts for your staff and trip leaders are available once your account is approved. For any questions, please reach out to sarah@collegeoutside.com.


This blog was sponsored by College Outside.

Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.