One of the hardest parts about picking up any new hobby is buying new stuff. Outdoor and adventure hobbies often require specialty gear that comes with a high price tag. The good news is that there are a few ways to circumvent that retail price sticker shock if you look outside the box.
How to Find Cheap Outdoor Gear
So you need stuff but you don’t like paying for it? Same here. With so many options for purchasing gear, it can be a tough figuring out the what to get and how much to pay. Here are my quick tips to help you on your search.
Start with your own stuff or borrow a friend’s
This is a pretty simple jumping off point. While some outdoor hobbies might require some specialty equipment right from the jump, most of the time you can enter into something with just your beginners knowledge and tools. You can wear your tennis shoes on a beginners level hike or borrow your friend’s ski jacket for your first time out on the snow. Beyond that, most activities have options where you can rent gear while you are learning. When Jason was looking to purchase a new bike, he went to a local shop (Race Pace Bicycles) so he could try out the bike he was interested in for a few days before buying.
It’s important to find out what you need and what is comfortable to you before going out and making purchases.
Once you have a better understanding of exactly what kind of stuff you need, now is a good time to start researching. Ask friends within the hobby and check out online forums or articles to learn more about different product types. Keep in mind that everyone has their preferences so if possible, try to check out a product in stores. When researching, you should be as brutal as possible when determining what it is you want. Let’s say, for example, that you are looking for a new daypack. There are thousands to choose from so what exactly do you want from the pack? If you layout exactly what you will use it for, how often you will use it, what features it needs to have and what ones it doesn’t then you’ll be left with a much smaller pool of options to decide among.
Know where to look
- Ebay: It’s the best. So many people buy expensive gear, use it once and decide they don’t need it. But not you. You’ve researched and decided on what’s best. Now you can scour all of the great stuff available on Ebay that is barely used. I have had wonderful luck purchasing like-new shoes on Ebay including a pair of high-end hiking boots for $12, a pair of brand new LL Bean rain boots for $15 and a pair of Sorel winter hiking boots in amazing condition for $20.
- Thrift Store: Very similar to Ebay but with less options for choosing the perfect product. If you have more flexibility in specific gear you need or are just starting out, head to your local thrift store to see what hidden treasure are available.
- Online Deals: This really applies to those specific items you know you need that are out of your price range. Keep your eyes peeled for online promotions, clearance advancements and retailer sales. Most companies that sell specialty gear will cycle sales throughout the year so just be patient!
Do you have any tips for finding cheap gear?
Let us know in the comments below!