These days, most outdoor gear is built to survive years, even decades, of use. Brands like Patagonia, for example, advertise products that are designed to last a lifetime. This is why buying used or even renting outdoor gear is almost always a better alternative to new. It’s cheaper, helps keep perfectly good equipment out of our landfills, and limits the waste required to produce new products. Here are five of the best places to stock up on dirt-cheap outdoor gear.
With 20 years in the game, Gear Trade is like the eBay of outdoor gear. It’s a peer-to-peer marketplace where buyers and sellers exchange used, and sometimes new, gear for far less than retail. Most listings are for brand-name products from industry heavyweights like Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, and Osprey. Beyond the deeply discounted pricing, the site boasts one of the widest catalogs representing almost every outdoor and adventure sports category. Everything from hiking and camping gear to skis and snowboards to fly-fishing essentials is available here.
REI Co-Op Used Gear
Here in the States, REI is a retail juggernaut of the outdoor gear space. The company expanded its already massive catalog by adding the aptly named REI Co-Op Used section to its website. Traded-in gear is personally inspected by REI staff, and the company only offers the best products for resale. Inventory changes frequently, but the categories of used gear are similar to those on the main REI website. Plus, the flat-rate shipping fees ($7.50 for the first item and $3.50 for every additional item) can be a steal if you’re shopping for oversized goods like tents, bikes, or paddling gear.
MEC Gear Swap
Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) has been encouraging its customers to recycle their outdoor gear since 1997. The company’s Gear Swap works like Gear Trade. It’s a peer-to-peer marketplace for outdoorsy types to buy and sell their no-longer-wanted gear. On the plus side, it’s easy to find deep discounts on just about every manner of outdoor equipment. MEC is quick to point out, however, that using the site requires a bit of luck and faith. It doesn’t vouch for or make any promises about anything bought or sold through Gear Swap. In short: Caveat emptor.
The North Face Renewed
As the name implies, The North Face Renewed is a clearinghouse for the brand’s previously owned gear. What sets it apart from similar resale sites is that The North Face personally inspects and, if necessary, repairs each piece of gear to bring it back to as close to new condition as possible. On the downside, the selection is limited to only TNF-branded goods. But, if you’re already a fan of the brand, it’s possible to find truly great deals on premium, near-mint outdoor gear.
Steep & Cheap
Like its parent site, Backcountry.com, Steep & Cheap offers flash sales with, in their words, “new steals every 5 minutes.” It’s an online warehouse of frequently rotated, brand-new goods offered at deep discounts. Most are from major brand names in the outdoor space, including The North Face, Arc’teryx, Patagonia, and the like. The best deals — sometimes as much as 80% off — can be found on gear from the previous season or less popular colors and sizes. If you care more about scoring a good deal than you do about having the “latest and greatest” outdoor gear, this is the site for you.
To start building your ultimate outdoor gear bucket list, check out our picks for the best locally owned outdoor gear stores in the United States.
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