Backpacking tent overlooking a stream and a dog.

Outdoor Equipment on the Cheap

Tracking down Discounted outdoor equipment can be tough because generally, it is not cheap and for good reason. Often your gear is all that stands between you and the elements. It can save your life and depending on your outdoor activities of choice it does, on a regular basis. The cost of gear can sometimes serve as a barrier for some to get into the wilderness or try some new outdoor activity like climbing, or backpacking. There are quite a few ways to save on outdoor equipment though and the following will outline resources and some tricks I have picked up over the years.

1) First is the infamous REI garage sale. REI has an amazing 365-day return policy on almost all of their new equipment. This is great because you can actually make sure your gear lives up to its claims quickly or determine if you really like something and, if not, bring it back. This leads to a lot of items being returned to REI that are almost new or have a minor blemish. REI has a “garage sale” the first weekend of every month to resell the used outdoor equipment that has been returned at a deep discount. All sales of garage sale items are final meaning you don’t get that nice warm year long return policy you get when you buy new from REI, in fact, you get no return policy so be sure whatever you are buying fits, and is in a condition you can deal with. I have picked up boots, tents, sleeping bags, and many other items at a garage sale for 75 – 90% off.

REI sleepingbags all hung up and ready for the REI garage sale.

2) Next is swap meets. If you do a little research you should find some kind of local outdoor equipment store. Ours here in Denver is Wilderness Exchange. They sell used gear as well as samples from manufacturers and also have swap meets several times a year where patrons can show up and sell their used gear. These are great because sellers are just trying to get rid of equipment they don’t need anymore and you can haggle with the person who last owned the item.  The savings here can vary greatly and depend on what you are looking to score.

Backcountry.com website

Discounted Outdoor Equipment Websites

Let’s cover some great websites where you can find some awesome deals.  Now, this is all about timing. Shooting for holiday sales, Black Friday, and end of year sales are going to yield your best deals.  Often you can google search when a website typically has sales and then make a plan to have some money saved up and do work on those sale days.  

3) Backcountry is a favorite of mine because they assign you a Gearhead (Account Manager) who advises you on best deals, sizing, and can suggest alternative equipment.  Watch the sales here and you can snag some budget-friendly discounted equipment and even get 2-day shipping.

4) Naturally, REI Outlet has a great online presence and while the sale items here tend to be a little pricey they do come with that awesome return policy so you can buy with confidence.  

5) Mountain Steals is another great resource who acts as a clearance site.  Just about everything, there is a great deal but selection and quantity can be pretty limited.  You can expect to save around 40 – 70% here.

the clymb website is a great website to find discounted outdoor equipment

6) The Clymb is a membership site who has daily deals on outdoor equipment as well as great sales throughout the site.  You can expect to save around 50% here.

7) Sierra Trading Post is a good spot to find equipment on the cheap but they do tend to carry some one-off brands.  This can be great in that you may get way more than what you are paying for but you also may end up with something poorly made.  My rule of thumb is to stick to bigger name brands and do a ton of off-site research on other, unknown, brands before adding them to my cart.  This site will typically save you 30 – 70%.

8) The Gear Room is a consignment shop in Utah who lists their inventory online.  They mainly specialize in Climbing and Ski equipment but their deals are great so if you are in the market for either of these then this is a good place to look.  Savings really vary on condition of the gear.

9) Gear Trade is basically a Craigslist of outdoor equipment.  The main difference is that everything is ready to be shipped to you and the sale price is compared to the original MSRP so you can see how good of a deal that equipment really is.  

10) Ebay gets overlooked a lot these days but if you know what you are looking for you can find some great deals on outdoor equipment on there.  

11) Camo Fire is more tailored to the hunting crowd but if that is your thing it is also a great daily deals site with awesome sale prices on their equipment.  Who couldn’t use a little camo in their wardrobe? You can expect to save 50 – 70% there.

discounted outdoor equipment includes climbing gear like this

12) Local exchange options and Apps can be a good choice to find used gear as well.  There is, of course, Facebook groups and Marketplace, your local Craigslist, and the Let Go and Offer Up apps. You can find some great deals scanning these but make sure to always inspect the equipment for sale before buying.

Camping under an awning besides an fj60 landcruiser.

Remember that timing is everything when trying to source discounted outdoor equipment.  Shop for skis in the summertime and climbing and camping gear in the wintertime. Look for holiday sales on websites and in stores.  Feel free as well to reach out to me as I typically have an inside line of upcoming sales and good deals on equipment through my industry connections.  I hope this article helps some of you get out there and get exploring. Remember, Don’t Die on the Couch. -MU

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