Wether you are a Gear-a-holic like me, or you are just looking to get the basics. You can spend a small fortune on outdoor products. Quality gear is really expensive, so I rarely pay full price for the products I buy. In this article I will share with you how I save money on outdoor products.
- Become an REI Member
For a small one time cost you can become a member of the REI co-op. I think this is well worth the money if you buy much outdoor stuff.
- First of all you will get free shipping on qualifying orders online.
- You get access to the REI Garage Sale. REI has a very liberal return policy for members. They basically allow you to return any item at any time no matter how much you used it. The garage sale is where REI sells these returned items. You should be prepared to get in line early, and deal with some chaos, but you can come away with some really good deals. Go with a clear plan for what you are looking for.
- As a member you get 10% dividend on all full priced items you bought. Plus at least twice a year to get a 20% off coupon.
- Check Steep And Cheap often
Steep and Cheap offers outdoor products at a steep discount. The catch is they only offer one item at a time for a limited time until it is sold out. This means in order to find what you want you must check the website often.
- Sierra Trading Post – This site generally features good deals. The real kicker is that it is pretty easy to find coupon codes for 20%-40% off plus free shipping. Their facebook page is a good place to find these codes.
- Gearchase.com– Basically an index of other outdoor gear sites.
- Buy Used Gear
Buying Gently used gear is a great way to get quality gear at a lower price some good places to find your used gear are
- Gear Trade – This site allows people to post their used gear for sale. You will also find retailers posting closeout / returned merchandise.
- Craigs list – no need to explain further. This is a good place to find used gear
- Mountain project
- Wilderness Exchange or Mountain Chalet Consignment sales
- Whitaker Mountaineering Used Gear
- Shop Outlet Stores such as Columbia Outlet, mountain hardware, arcteryx (Castle Rock), REI Outlet (online), offer some good deals on model year closeouts
- Google Shopping – If you know a specific brand / model you are looking for google shopping results are a quick way to check for sales and get an idea of fair retail price to see if you are really getting a good deal.
When You Shouldn’t Try To Save Money
- Don’t buy Ropes, Harnesses, Carabiners or any item you must entrust your life to used. This is because you don’t know the history / pedigree if the item. The rope could have taken several big falls and be stressed beyond is safe life.
- I am not a fan of used sleeping bags. They are difficult to launder, tend to pack out over tim
- I prefer on sale / closeout model / used brand name goods to cheep knock offs. This is especially true for high tech gear. For example a $25 breathable rain coat from Walmart is likely to breathe about as good as a plastic garbage bag. However, I am pretty darn happy with my $18 trekking poles from Walmart which are easily 1/3 the cost of the cheapest model at REI.