Trekking: The Manual’s guide to finding discounted gear

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Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons, or fiending to catch some waves someplace other than the North Shore. One day we may highlight a new ultra-light camping stove or minimalist water filter, and the next you may find us getting wrapped up in a set of Norquayco’s handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace and home, so get outside and live it.

Quality outdoor gear is an investment, whether it be in your health or your happiness. Sure, you could spend years amassing a ragtag collection of budget-based outdoor apparel and goods — from bottom-of-the-line synthetic sleeping bags to behemoth camping stoves that weigh more than your entire pack — but there’s no guarantee the equipment will stand the test of time or even withstand the duration of your next summer trek through the woods. Thankfully, you rarely have to pay full price for premium gear so long as you maintain an open mind when it comes to the logo stitched on the front. There’s a myriad of online retailers specifically dedicated to selling quality outdoor gear at discounted rates, sometimes at up to 50 or 80-percent off the initial retail price for a limited time. Below our a few of our favorites, whether you’re in need of a 60-liter, Black Diamond backpack or a Arc’Teryx down hoody. After all, we all know a good bargain is hard to pass up when you see it.

clymb_logo-02blkLaunched in Portland, Ore., in 2009 by a seasoned team of industry insiders and outdoor enthusiasts, the Clymb has quickly become the premiere site for acquiring outdoor goods of all nature. The company buys its products outright from big-name brands such as Columbia and Alps Mountaineering, only to then resell the goods at discounted rate to consumers. The site’s offerings include everything from cycling and climbing to tents and snowboards, much of which is steeply discounted at more than 40-percent off. Sales typically last 72 hours, or until supplies last, and the site even offers select vacation packages to round out your next adventure. Nonetheless, it’s about the gear — not that five-day, luxury trip to the humid coast of Guatemala for $849.

Essential buys featured on the Clymb: Danner boots and Topo Designs day packs.

logo-geartradeGear Trade is essentially the Craigslist of outdoor gear. The site rarely features new products, but instead, allows sellers to post their used wears online at a discounted rate. Nearly every product posting on the site features an accompanying set of images — some more so professional than others — along with a seller rating directly based directly on his or her previous interactions with other users. Moreover, the site features a slew of pages with products discounted as low as $5, allowing you to pick up up a couple stuff sacks or an extra carabiner for next to nothing. The site is owned and operated by Backpacking.com as well, and though all sales are final, Gear Trade holds the money in between transactions so you never pay for an item that was misrepresented online.

Essential buys featured on Gear Trade: Black Pine Sports six-man tents and vintage lanterns.

tumblr_static_hb2San Francisco-based Huckberry isn’t as concerned with technical gear as it is the atmosphere and apparel surrounding it. The notable site features a melange of American-made products, from Woolrich footwear to Stone River knives, many of which the site features at the top for quick access. In addition to lifestyle accessories such as wallets and watches, the site offers an abundance of high-quality outdoor gear, letting you save big on fishing gear from renowned manufacturers and more off-the-beaten path equipment. Huckberry may not offer steep discounts on big-name brands, but as evident from recent interview with founders Andy Forch and Richard Greiner, the company showcases a remarkable appreciation for its customers. Case in point: the Explorer Grants.

Essential buys featured on Huckberry: Polar 1-man tent and Tenkar Rod Co lures.

Sierra PostWith more than 25 years of retail experience, Sierra Trading Post has become a mainstay in the discount realm. Although the company offers deals on a variety of goods, from luggage to electronics, its the site’s robust selection of outdoor apparel and goods that easily earns it spot on our list. Sierra Trading Post provides deals from renowned brands such as Keen and Burton, with a bevy of other notable manufacturers thrown in the mix for good measure. You can easily score a sleeping bag or pair of climbing shoes for up to 70-percent off, but it’s the site’s clearance section that truly shines. Where else can you find waterproof camo pants and pristine, semi-dry diving suit for less than $300 with free shipping? Nowhere, that’s where.

Essential buys featured on Sierra Trading Post: North Face trunks and SmartWool socks.

3343807The outdoor offerings on Steep & Cheap may not be the most unique or discounted on the Web, but there’s a good deal to be said for phenomenal customer service and a crackshot return policy. Though the site’s homepage always highlights a current deal, one that lasts a mere 10 minutes or until it sells out, there’s also an assortment of deals lining the various sections featured elsewhere on the site. For instance, you can quickly browse a handful of climbing gear based on the brand and your desired size, or merely peruse the site’s seasonal clearance options if you’re not looking for anything in particular. Just don’t forget to check back often for that aforementioned steal, or better yet, sign up for Steep & Cheap’s daily newsletter.

Essential buys featured on Steep & Cheap: La Sportiva climbing shoes and Icebreaker baselayers.