So you wanna save money at Cabela’s? You’re wondering how Cabela’s stacks up against competitors like REI, Dick’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse? Have you heard Cabela’s promo codes and prices changed since they were acquired by Bass Pro Shops nearly a year ago?
We set up camp at our local Cabela’s, keeping a low profile by blending into the natural vegetation and surviving on jerky and fudge alone. We didn’t leave until we’d uncovered all the secrets (good and bad) about how to shop and save money at Cabela’s.
1. Cabela’s honors advertised sales a day before prices go live.
Cabela’s rolls out new sales at least monthly. Sometimes the sales even overlap.
Most of the time, sales go live on Fridays — but if you show up the day before, Cabela’s employees say they’ll honor the sale prices.
Ask for an upcoming sales circular at customer service next time you shop to get an early flyer to shop from in store.
2. Cabela’s free rewards program will earn you 2% cash back.
The free Cabela’s CLUB Rewards program (complete with phone number-based membership card) gives you $0.02 for every dollar back in CLUB points for all Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops purchases.
If you spent $600 on gear in a year, that’d be a nice little $12 kickback. Not as good as the DICK’S ScoreCard program (3% points back), but free stuff is free stuff!
3. Cabela’s CLUB reward points redeem on anything (even hunting and fishing licenses).
If you’re buying it at Cabela’s, you can pay for it with CLUB points by entering your phone number at the register. That’s pretty awesome, because it’s rare to find discounts on government-required licenses.
4. Earn Cabela’s Bucks like Target Gift Cards when you buy select items.
Besides amassing Cabela’s CLUB points, you can earn Cabela’s Bucks when you buy certain promoted products. They, too, can be used like cash on future purchases. Buy the $500 Crossbow, get $40 to use on a future order. Simple.
The other way to get Cabela’s Bucks is to be one of the Club Rewards customers picked at random — I know, weird — to receive a promo offer in the mail, such as spend $50, get $10 in Bucks back.
5. Black Friday is the best time to shop Cabela’s — like ever.
Get in line nice and early — the precious window of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Black Friday is the best time of the year to shop Cabela’s.
For example, last year, a SOG 4-piece machete and shovel set dropped from $159.99 to $49.99 — 69% off! Generators, meat grinders, men’s slippers and hunting scopes all sold for around 60% off.
Plus, if you get in line early enough, you could score one of their Black Friday gear giveaways.
6. Shop online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save up to 60%.
While Cabela’s reserves its best deals for the in-store doorbusters on Black Friday, Cabelas.com rolls out pre-Black Friday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales — all of which carry solid savings.
Last year on Cyber Monday, Vortex Diamondback binoculars went on sale for $129.99 online — $100 off! RealTree Men’s Wool Socks were discounted 75% at $6.99 a pair.
7. Camping gear is cheapest the week before Father’s Day.
- Kershaw knives: $11.99 (70% off)
- Emotion kayaks: $249.99 ($100 off)
- Camo shirts/pants: $19.99 (60% off)
- Quantum Team KVD rods: $39.99 (50% off)
8. Go ahead and comparison shop — Cabela’s will price match competitors.
Cabela’s will match a lower advertised price from a competitor store with a physical store within 100 miles — and even some online competitors like DICK’S Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean and REI — within 30 days of purchase.
And better yet, you can use Cabela’s Bucks or CLUB Points on top of the price-matched savings!
Use a price comparison app like ShopSavvy to make sure you’re getting the best price.
9. Know whose prices they won’t match? Amazon.
Seriously, just about everything at Cabela’s can be beaten by Amazon prices — I walked around scanning things using the Amazon app to prove it.
Cabela’s marked down a Stars & Stripes towable tube nearly $40, but it still was $11 higher than Amazon’s price of $79.99. A Blackstone 36″ Griddle Station on sale at Cabela’s for $289.99 falls short of Amazon’s (and Walmart’s) price of $247.00. And those are just a couple on-sale items.
While Cabela’s vows to price match any competitor, its policy doesn’t include online retailers such as Amazon.
10. Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela’s, and now you can use gift cards at either place!
Last year, Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela’s, bringing the top hunting and fishing superstores together in holy matrimony.
So now, if you have a gift card at one store, the other will honor it. You can return and exchange at either place too!
11. Save 16% with discounted Cabela’s & Bass gift cards through Gift Card Granny and Raise.
Save 16% on Cabela’s/BPS gift cards at Gift Card Granny, 13% at Raise. Don’t buy anything (sale or not) without getting one of these.
12. Since the merger, Cabela’s in-store markdowns are way harder to find.
When Bass acquired Cabela’s in Sept 2017, plans were laid to bring more Bass Pro merchandise (including a larger selection of women’s apparel, which I can appreciate) into Cabela’s stores. This presented a square footage problem at most Cabela’s stores in the U.S.
The outcome was a decision to do away with the Bargain Cave clearance section in lieu of smaller clearance racks housed within each department and a plan to ship much of what used to be Bargain Cave merchandise to Bass Pro Outlet stores.
Bottom line? While those outlets just got a lot better, it makes deal hunting that much harder at Cabela’s.
13. Markdowns are scattered throughout the store — no more Bargain Cave.
Longtime Cabela’s fans are mourning the dismantling of the Bargain Cave section in most stores. (Although the largest stores still have that section, and it still exists online.)
Shoppers now have to look in each section to find deals, sort through tags, and comparison shop. Wandering racks and reading tags is a chore, so here are some tips to make it a little easier to decipher what’s what.
14. White signs indicate full-price items, which is most of the store.
Even featured items in the “sale” brochure are just that — featured. They’re not on sale at all, and in most cases, prices on the white tag items (or comparable products) can be beaten elsewhere.
15. Red “Sale” tags indicate price drops.
Temporary sale prices are usually marked with a red sale tag. But don’t be fooled by these discounts; many of them just bring the cost of the products into the same ballpark as Amazon and other retailers (rather than being much higher).
A $59.99 camping cot sale looks like a good deal until you see Kohl’s has a similar model for $36.99. Look out for Cabela’s branded products, too — their price drops aren’t a great deal when compared to similar products elsewhere.
16. Prices that end in .88 or .66 are final markdowns.
The price tag won’t drop again, and the only way you’ll save more is if it gets one of these. . .
17. Orange-stickered price tags are 20% off the lowest marked price.
The clearance items worth shopping for have orange stickers on the price tags, indicating 20% off the lowest marked price.
18. There is no rhyme or reason to the sale schedule — so stay woke.
I always like to find the best day or time to shop at my favorite stores, but Cabela’s makes it exhaustingly difficult. Employees across the country say they don’t have a specific day of the week to make markdowns — every department runs independently and so do many stores.
Employees do agree on one thing: end of season is the best time to shop — August for summer and January for winter gear.
19. The best thing to buy at Cabela’s is Cabela’s brand clothing — on the clearance rack.
In addition to this down vest, I found a Gore-Tex Anorak Jacket — $150 or so on Amazon — for just $56.00. And I bought a Cabela’s branded T-shirt for less than $6.00 (32% off).
Clearance sales pop up throughout the store depending on inventory, but apparel is a safe bet to find some deals.
You can find comparable products for a better price for the vast majority of the store. That goes for Cabela’s-branded tents, fishing gear and hunting accessories — better deals are elsewhere.
20. Cabelas.com has better prices than in stores. But stores will price match online.
While Cabela’s stores will match its online prices and vice-versa, the clearance sections have completely different inventory — and you gotta pay attention.
For example, Duck Commander-branded T-shirts were on clearance for $15.00 in the store. Similar (but not identical) shirts go for $4.88 in the online Bargain Cave.
21. Shop Cabela’s online through Ibotta and get 5% back.
Use the Ibotta app to get to Cabela’s online store, where you’ll be able to get 5% cash back from your purchases — credited to your PayPal account through Ibotta.
22. Get free shipping by spending $50 or by using Ship to Store.
Who pays for shipping anymore? Spend $50 minimum at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops online and qualify for free 2-day delivery.
Or if you’re spending less than that, simply have your online order shipped to the store and shipping is free.
23. Download manufacturer’s rebates from the Cabela’s site.
Find dozens of printable manufacturer mail-in rebates on Cabelas.com.
24. Text CABELAS to 247365 to get weekly updates on online discounts.
There’s no instant coupon like there used to be, but you will be up to speed on additions to the online Bargain Cave and other deals.
There’s also a firearms-related text update: Text AMMO to 247365.
25. Sign up for Cabela’s emails for special offers and updates.
Cabela’s keeps its special sales, deals and promos pretty mysterious, but the best way I’ve found to know what’s going on is to sign up for Cabela’s email list.
26. Get your fishing line spooled — for free!
You don’t even have to have bought the rod or reel at the store. Let them do the work and avoid a tangle later!
27. Buy a grill at Cabela’s? They’ll assemble it for you.
Because “some assembly required” are three of the most terrifying words in the English language.
28. Take advantage of free services for gun owners.
Cabela’s will mount a scope on your rifle for free — even if you didn’t buy either part at their store. They also offer free firearm appraisals, boresighting, gun locks (with firearm purchase) and holster fitting.
If you’re a hunter, that’s a pretty big deal.
29. Get cash or a new firearm by trading in your old one.
Before your next muskox expedition. . . (Like that transition I added to justify including this selfie of Heather I found on my phone?) . . . Cabela’s will either give you cash for your firearm or give you store credit with the TradeUp program. You’ll get slightly more money for your trade-in if you opt for in-store credit.
Just make sure you follow the rules when you bring your gun into the store.
30. Attend a free event or class — and score some swag.
Cabela’s hosts free events throughout the year — such as the Fall Hunting Classic — with workshops for women hunters, anglers, crossbow enthusiasts and activities for the kids.
They usually give free stuff to the first people who show up — so get there early!
31. Save at least 15% on anything in the store by working for Cabela’s.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Bass Pro Shops (the parent company) offers employees 45% off all Cabela’s and BPS branded gear — 15% off everything else.
32. The Cabela’s CLUB Visa card can trim $25.00 off something you really want.
Once you’re approved for the Cabela’s CLUB Visa credit card, you get $25.00 instant in-store credit, which will come in handy when Black Friday and Father’s Day are far away.
Cardholders also earn 2-5% in CLUB points when using at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops. All other purchases earn 1% in points.
33. CLUB Visa cardholders save at least 10% storewide during Cabela’s employee pricing sales.
Cabela’s has special employee pricing sales for its CLUB Visa cardholders once or twice a year, but don’t get too excited — nobody (not even employees) knows when they’ll be held.
But with savings between 10-25% (depending on the item), they’re a big deal when they happen. Cardholders are notified by email or snail mail.
34. Military personnel and veterans get 5% off every day.
All military personnel and veterans are eligible for a 5% discount at all Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops store locations every day.
Just bring your military ID (active or expired) for the daily discount — which can be applied alongside any Cabela’s Bucks rebate.
35. First responders save up to 25% at events throughout the year.
Police officers, firefighters, EMS and other first responders get to enjoy employee pricing (up to 25%) at Cabela’s hometown heroes events sporadically throughout the year.
Check the schedule of your neighborhood store to find out when the sales take place.
36. Cabela’s has an app, but you might want to skip it.
The Cabela’s app has been dogged with universally bad reviews. It has push notifications for sales info, but if you’re doing text updates, you’re already covered.
37. Get free samples of fudge at the General Store.
This is John. He’s a friggin sweetheart, and he will load you up on fudge samples. Some of his favorite things are pralines and cream fudge and long talks about couponing. They hide him in the back of the store like the dairy case at the supermarket, in hopes you’ll spend a bunch of money before you ever find him.
My advice? Make John your first stop. He’s like the Keebler elf of Cabela’s.
There’s no purchase necessary for fudge samples. But if you want to buy . . .
38. Get 2 free squares of fudge when you buy 4.
While folks are shelling out at least $13.25 a pound for fudge at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, you’re buying 4 quarter-pound pieces and getting two more free — for $15.
That ends up being about $10 a pound. Delicious.
39. Keep your kids entertained with the aquarium & wildlife displays.
Need to keep the little ones distracted while you ponder that purchase of a new camping cot? Get them up close with a polar bear.
Cabela’s has pretty impressive displays of real stuffed (as in, taxidermy) animals throughout the store. There’s also an aquarium. Free babysitting while you eat fudge!
40. Use Cabela’s as a free overnight rest stop for your RV or semi truck.
- Step 1: Fudge.
- Step 2: Hey kids — look at that polar bear!
- Step 3: Nap time.
(Some locations even offer free RV dump stations.)
That’s it, folks. These are your fearless leaders (two serious businesswomen) signing off.