The Art of Gear Hunting
Avid adventurers with a less than average income can easily become discouraged when walking past the full retail prices at REI or their local ski shop. But who those with a nose for deals, high quality gear may not be as out of reach as it seems. Here’s your guide to the art of bargain hunting for high quality outdoor gear.
Research, Research, Research
Knowledge is power. When it comes to finding great deals on high quality gear, being knowledgeable can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Gearographer is a great starting place to find reliable information on high quality gear, as well as a source of inspiration for your next outdoor splurge.
Researching before buying also provides a chance to determine what the average price for a piece of gear is, which will help you identify the very best deals. Beyond this, researching gear helps to clarify which gear will actually be useful for you, and which gear will sit in the garage collecting dust.
Used Vs. Unused
Buying used gear from user-driven sites like Ebay and Craigslist is a great way to get high quality equipment for a fraction of the price. Just be sure to thoroughly examine the pictures and descriptions given, because returns for these kinds of deals are extremely rare.
One of the best ways to find the same caliber of deals on gear that hasn’t been used, is to research this year’s equipment a year or two in advance. Unused, high quality gear can be found on certain outlet sites more than three years after it originally hit the market.
Time It Right
Most outdoor enthusiasts are looking forward to summer during the spring, and winter during the fall. This means, thanks to the laws of supply and demand, that spring is the best time to search for winter oriented gear, and fall is the best to steal a deal on summer oriented gear. In other words, take advantage of the off-season.
Buying gear during the offseason can be frustrating, seeing as you’ll spend at least a few months yearning to break in those new skis that are patiently waiting in the garage. But patience is a virtue, and when that first day using your new gear finally arrives you’ll have high quality equipment and change in your pocket.
Know Where To Look
The list of online outlets for outdoor gear could go on for miles, and encompasses everything from REI and Evo.com to the local ski shop down the street. For the sake of efficiency, as well as your sanity, it is best to familiarize yourself with a few reliable and consistently cheap websites.
Based out of Portland, TheClymb.com is a members only sit that offers deals up to 40%-70% off multiple outdoor brands for set periods of time. Sites such as whiskeymilitia.com provide a similar style of time sensitive deals, but only one item is available at a time and the best equipment tends to sell out fairly fast.
Hunting for gear is a lot like hunting deer, at least in the sense that persistence is the key to success. This is one of the simplest ways to catch the best deals right away. Sites such as steepandcheap.com have their own apps for most cell phones, and will alert you to discounts of up to 60% or more the second they become available.
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