2021 Labor Day preparedness deals

Labor Day weekend is a common sales weekend for prepping gear because it kicks off September’s National Preparedness Month. Here’s what we know of so far, and please add any more in the comments!


We haven’t spotted many good deals on Amazon so far, other than the NESCO VS-02 vacuum sealer for $35, 40% off the regular price. Vacuum sealing is a great way to package food for freezing as described in our guide to preserving food.


The Marmot Tungsten is on sale for $160, 25% off. Backcountry also has a bundle that includes the Marmot Limelight 2-person tent along with a Never Summer 0 sleeping back for around $400 (depending on options), up to 19% off. At around three pounds it’s a little heavier than we’d like, but not too bad.

If you need a sleeping bag for the little ones, they have the Kelty Callisto 30 for $34, 25% off.

Backcountry also has up to 25% off the Osprey Exos 38-liter and 48-liter backpacks.

Headlamp deals:

And up to 25% off Smartwool Merino wool clothing, a great natural fiber for preparedness:

They have more, but you’ll have to dig around a bit because it’s a grab bag of items.


Berkey is one of the best water filters for your home. Retailers have struggled to keep them in stock, so deals are scares, but we found a few Berkey products on sale:


Brownells has some coupon codes for big purchases, like if you want to stock up on ammo:

  • SRG for $25 off $250
  • LSB for $30 off $300 and free shipping
  • LSC for $80 off $800 and free shipping
  • SRJ for $100 off $1000

They also have hundreds of items on sale. Here are a few picks:

Home Depot

Don’t forget tools in your prepping. Home Depot has a Milwaukee cordless tool set with six power tools, four batteries, and a charger for $629 — $570 off the retail price, with free shipping. Milwaukee is one of the favorite brands our team uses at home. This set includes:

  • ½ inch drill/driver
  • ¼ inch impact driver
  • Circular saw
  • SAWZALL (recommended in our upcoming tornado guide for cutting through wreckage)
  • Grinder
  • Oscillating tool

You can keep those tools charged with this Jackery 1000-watt power station bundled with a 100-watt solar panel for $100 off. The Jackery power stations are more expensive than DIY options, but are user friendly and durable. 1,000 watts of output gives you enough juice to power most appliances.

If you don’t have a wrench and socket set, now is a good time to fix that with $49 off this Husky 149-piece mechanic tool set. Husky is a Home Depot house brand with a lifetime guarantee.

Here’s a tip about socket sets: be fastidious about keeping them organized and keep them away from children, relatives, and other people who aren’t as anal-retentive as you. There is nothing more aggravating or time-wasting than digging through a loose pile of sockets to find a specific size. Slap a padlock on the case if you have to.

L.A. Police Gear

If you need a go-bag, LAPG has you covered with sales on both their in-house brands and 5.11 Tactical.

I bought one of the Atlas 72-hour packs last year, and it’s fine for the price, but not as rugged as I’d like. If I had to do it over again I would spend a bit more on a 5.11 Tactical backpack. Right now, LAPG has all 5.11 gear for 20% off and free shipping when you buy $50 or more of 5.11 gear:


You can never have enough gloves to protect your hands when working or shooting, and Mechanix makes pretty good ones. They have 20% off site-wide right now. Check prices against Amazon, because some gloves are the same price there (with free shipping), but others are significantly cheaper with the discount, such as the M-PACT Coyote I purchased last year and enjoy quite a bit.


Moosejaw has many items on sale, but you can take 20% off any full-price item with coupon code APPLECIDER.

Optics Planet

Optics Planet has all kinds of goodies for firearm enthusiasts and if you use coupon code LABR you get 10% off orders of $50 or more.

O’Reilly Auto Parts

It’s important to keep your car in good shape. When’s the last time you changed your battery? Or maybe you could use some gear like a jump-starter, jumper cables, tire tool, fire extinguisher, etc. Through Labor Day you can save on orders of $100 or more at O’Reilly auto parts using coupon code LABORDAY.

Palmetto State Armory

Palmetto State Armory is known for inexpensive but decent AR-15 kits and they have hundreds of items on sale for labor day.


REI is one of our favorites, and their Labor Day sales are always a bonanza. If you’re an REI Member, you can use the coupon code EXTRA 20 to save an additional 20% on an REI Outlet item. It’s $20 for a lifetime membership, and it’s well worth it, especially now, because through 30 September 2021, if you buy a membership along with $50 of stuff, you get $20 of credit applied to your order. It’s basically free!

We recommend Darn Tough socks in our best socks guide, and they’re all 25% right now, including the men’s Darn Tough Hiker Boot and women’s Gatewood Boot Sock.

Klean Kanteen water bottles were one of our top picks for canteens, and they’re 25% off:

While you’re at it, you might as well get some water purification tablets for 25% off. (They’re the top pick in our water purification guide.)

REI has good deals on sleeping bags like the Kelty Cosmic 40 (and the long version, both 35% off) and the Big Agnes North Fork 20 (20% off and you can use EXTRA20 for an extra 20% off). Sadly, none of our top sleeping bag picks are on sale.

They also have a number of backpack deals:

The Osprey packs are 35% off except the Archeon 45, which is 25% off. The REI pack is 30% off.

Our pick for the best headlamp, the Black Diamond ReVolt 350 is 25% off, as is the Black Diamond Spot 350 and the Black Diamond Cosmo 300.


    • Thekaren

      You can end up with a lot of tools and no hardware, so don’t forget screws and nails and corner brackets and all that.  If you’re anywhere near Tornado Alley, precut and labeled pieces of OSB for windows is an idea (that’s a DIY using a circular saw), too.

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    • M. E.Contributor

      Sadly I think the Marmot Tungsten that is on sale is NOT the one that is recommended in your tent guide – the recommended one is the ultralight and the sale one is the “regular” weight.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for a sale on the ultralight FOREVER and in most cases I’ve been tricked – I place the order, get all excited, and then a few days later get a notice saying it’s no longer in stock.  But then it is magically back in stock the day after the sale ends…….

      Just rechecking the tent review, though, it looks the recommendation given was for the ultralight but the specs at the bottom of the article (weight etc) are for the “regular”. So clarification would be welcome. If this “regular” version really is recommended, I may go ahead and buy it since it comes with the footprint and the UL does not. 

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        Hi M.E., thank you for pointing out that the Marmot tent we linked to is not the one we recommend in our tent guide. Sorry for the confusion – I’ve amended the post accordingly.

        The Marmot Tungsten that we recommend is, in fact, the UL version because of its weight/size, while the specs you saw in the table of comparison in the tent guide is just meant to show the increase of square footage from a 1 person, to a 2 person tent, irrelevant of our actual recommendations.

        Please also note that these are recommendations only – if you think you could hike/carry around a heavier tent because it has features that you value, it’s obviously totally fine. But when recommending a tent for a BOB, we are mindful of the weight and how compact it packs, as the tent will add a considerable amount of weight to one’s set up.

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    • David Dabney

      Your top pick for headlamps (Black Diamond ReVolt 350) is on sale at REI as well!

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