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Camping products in short supply

MAJOR retailers of outdoor products are running out of cots, portable showers and other goods as Hurricane Katrina survivors seek shelter and creature comforts.

Joe Arterburn, a spokesman for Cabela’s, one of the world’s biggest outfitters, says relief organizations and hurricane victims have depleted the company’s inventories of inflatable mattresses, cots, tents, showers, sleeping bags and pads.

Many of those items are in demand as hunting season kicks in, so “the timing couldn’t have been worse” for hunters, Arterburn says.

Recreational Equipment Inc. has been overwhelmed with orders for flashlights, water-treatment devices and camping pots, spokesman Mike Foley says.

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Many buyers are not hurricane victims, but people responding to post-Katrina suggestions to prepare for natural disasters.

REI has 78 U.S. retail stores and thriving Internet sales.

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Scott Doggett

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