Tips for Finding the Best Deals on Outdoor Gear
Living an outdoor life certainly has it’s benefits but it comes at a cost – a high monetary one. Depending on your hobbies, gear and equipment can be pretty expensive. So here are a few tips on how to find the gear you’re looking for a good price.
Make a List
Keep a running list of the gear that you need. You probably have the basics covered if you’re already out there. But next time you’re out hiking or climbing, take note of what other’s have to see what you can add to your own rack. Keep a list on your phone of what you’re in the market for. Stick to this list! Buy only what you need or your gear closet will get too full. Edit & refine your list as time goes on and if you want to buy something but think you’ll only need it a few times – you can rent!
Join the REI Co-Op
REI isn’t always the cheapest but it is a really great resource for all the information you could ever need. For $20 you can join the Co-Op and for every dollar you spend on regularly priced items, you get 10% back as a dividend. They have a lifetime return policy so even though it might cost a bit more, you can always exchange a piece of gear (for whatever reason!) Becoming a member also gets you access to the Members Only Garage Sales that happen about once a month. Stay tuned for a post on how to win the Garage Sale. If you’re a dedicated REI shopped like myself, you can also get an REI Credit Card for even more deals and a bigger dividend at the end of the year.
Shop Around Online
If you know what specific piece you’re looking for start searching. Start with a Google Search for the brand and then the specific item name. Just because it’s not your typical outdoor store doesn’t mean you should discount it. Kohl’s and Macy’s both carry Nike and Columbia and always have coupons. Outlets like Sierra Trading Post or Steep & Cheap might have the item you’re looking for in last season’s style or color but at a discounted price. You can use Honey (a browser plugin) that alerts you when prices drop.
Sign Up for Every Email List & Follow on Facebook
I know we all get enough emails as it is, but get on every one of the following email distribution lists. That way when something on your list goes on sale, you’re the first to know. You can price shop this way to make sure you’re getting the best deal – and sometimes those deals are exclusive to email subscribers. Also, follow all your favorite gear shops and brands on Facebook. This is how I found Cody’s brand new snowboard at a HUGE discount – because they announced a Flash Sale on Facebook only.
Gear Shops to Subscribe To:
Used gear is a great way to get discounted name brands and it’s environmentally friendly!
Consignment Shops or Thrift Stores
In Denver you can find gear at outdoors-focused consignment shops like Wilderness Exchange or just your regular Goodwill. Whenever I visit a new mountain town, I always stop by the local thrift shop. There’s almost always lightly used gear and some very unique treasures. Remember to stick to your list and if you see something that’s on your list make sure to inspect if very carefully before purchasing.
Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist
This is a great way to shop around for a specific piece you’re looking for. I purchased my cargo box for my car because I knew the exact size & model I needed. Every few days I would search for “Yakima Cargo Box” on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Once I found out what a good baseline price was (based on prices listed), I knew when to strike for a good deal. I got my cargo box for $170 (list price is over $400, going for around $250 on Facebook) because I was patient and bargained a little.
Climbing gyms, meet up groups, or gear shops host Gear Swaps. They’re typically so people can get rid of old gear, but it’s a great opportunity to find good deals on what you need! Follow stores on Facebook and sign up for the emails to get the latest news and updates on Gear Swaps.
Used Gear Disclaimer
Never, ever buy protective gear used. This is especially important for climbing gear. You don’t know how well the previous owner took care of it and there’s no way to determine if it’s still safe to use.
Buy on the Off-Season
This is where this list comes in handy again. At the end of a season, gear ALWAYS goes on sale. It might feel weird to try on snowpants or ski jackets in July but when stores are trying to clear inventory they drop prices. All the major ski shops have sales over Labor Day. Always be on the lookout even if you won’t be using your new steal for a few months.
Cashback & Rewards
If you’re already spending money, you might as well get as much out of it as possible. I recently signed up for Ebates and have made $25 buying things I was already going to buy! You just install the browser plugin and shop like you normally would.
Also, my credit card gives me rewards on every purchase. Every few months, I cash out those rewards for gift cards to REI. You can also shop through your card’s reward portal to get more cash back.
There are always ways to save money on gear shopping. Just make sure to shop around and keep your eyes peeled for gear you might need next season down the road!