I find it muy strange how few camping stores there are in the north of Spain, considering the wealth of stunning countryside, the Spaniards predeliction for camping, walking and outdoor activities and the number of national parks, mountains and areas of absolutely outstanding beauty.
If you need to buy stuff, especially tents, the French chain store – Decathlon – seems to be the best option. They sell tents, camping accessories, kayaks, walking guides (not in English, the selfish philistines), clothing suitable for outdoor activities, sleeping bags, camping stoves, solar lighting etc. Unfortunately, they only seem to stock their own brand of tents – called Quechua – although they do have a goodish range. And in the suburban branches – that are generally located in soulless retail parks, they have a selection of tents that have been erected, so you can crawl around in them and imagine yourself trying to sleep on the equivalent of a sanitary towel, whilst insects suck your earlobes and your extremities gradually freeze.
Some of the larger branches of El Corte Ingles – the massive department store with branches all across Spain, have an outdoor section, whilst I’ve yet to see them sell tents or large items. But if you are after camping gas and basic accessories – it might be worth a try.
Outside of the big cities and in obvious areas where tourism is based on hiking and camping – such as in Potes or Canda de Onis – there are lots of small shops that sell hiking and camping accessories (again, not tents or larger items). They are invariably expensive but if you have knackered up your hiking boots or mislaid your spork – you can replace them here.
Campsite shops also often sell basic supplies such as gas canisters, spare tent pegs, inflatable beds and sleeping bags. Twice the price as the rest of the world but available all the same.
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