There’s no doubt outdoor gear is expensive. Outfitting yourself in hiking boots, wicking layers, a waterproof jacket, a soft carrier and later a framed carrier can cost upward of $1,000. And that’s not even including gear for your kids, who will likely grow out of that new expensive down jacket before the next season. But there are ways around dropping every penny you’ve made to get outside. We’ve rounded up our top hacks for scoring gear on the cheap so next time your kid says, “Oops, I forgot my jacket on the bus,” you won’t be left out in the cold.
1. Buy used
This might be the most obvious answer, but it’s often not everyone’s favorite because it can take a lot of time and effort, and up until a few years ago, buying used meant picking through the Goodwill. But now if you’re willing to spend the time looking, there are countless online options that offer great and sometimes new gear.
- eBay: Watch the item you’ve been eyeing and wait to bid until the last moment so you don’t drive the cost up. But watch out for shipping costs.
- Facebook Marketplace: Save your search and Facebook will notify you when something pops up. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
- REI garage sales/local swap meets: Make sure to get there early!
- Local and national buy/sell/trade groups: Check out Facebook groups, your church or your local community center for programs.
- Amazon Warehouse: If the item isn’t up to par, return with free shipping up to 30 days.
2. End of season
If you have time on your side and aren’t too picky about color, you can score some great deals by waiting until the end of the season to buy gear. Not too many people are in the market for water shoes when there’s snow on the ground, so you’re much more likely to see a clearance tag attached.
3. Discount codes
Sites like REI.com, Sierratradingpost.com, Backcountry.com and Moosejaw.com frequently offer discount codes up to 20 or even 30 percent off. Easy ways to score codes are to join e-mailing lists, membership programs or checking coupon code sites like retailmenot.com. Make sure to look for free shipping codes, too!
4. Buy quality gear that can be passed down to younger siblings, or size up.
Often spending a bit more will get you gear that will last several seasons. If you have multiple children you can shuffle that pricey carrier through. It certainly makes the high price tag more worth it. Or if you can convince your kid to roll the cuffs up on some pricey waterproof pants, you might be able to get a few years of wear before they outgrow them.
Do you know other ways to save money on outdoor gear? Share your hacks in the comments below!
- Growing your Hiking Gear and Enthusiasm with Your Growing Child
- Thrifty Gear Guide – Buying on a Budget
Photo by Amy Diebold.