Adventure on a Budget: The Best Places to Buy Used Outdoor Gear

used outdoor gear man standing on top of a ridge
Wojciech Then / Unsplash

Brand spankin’ new outdoor gear is pricey, and it can very easily put a dent in your savings if you’re not careful. On top of that, the sparkle and shine of a new item will likely wear off after a season or two, and then you’ll be lusting after the next big investment. So why not save some bucks by opting for gently used outdoor gear? There are plenty of perfectly good jackets, duffel bags, and other outdoor toys waiting for a new home. Plus, when you buy used, you don’t just keep your savings intact—you also keep items from ending up in a landfill.

 

 

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Before you hit the thrift shop, consider a few tips. First, be smart about what you buy. Think about the gaps in your gear closet and search for items you’ll actually use. Second, as you’re going through shelves at the store, inspect items closely for wear and tear. Some issues, like a rip or missing button, can be fixed easily. Other flaws, such as a crack in a helmet, are red flags, and you should avoid those items. The outlets listed below conduct their own inspections, but it’s always wise to double check for any damage.

There are lots of places to find high-quality used outdoor gear, and many will even buy your old stuff in exchange for cash or credit (we’ve noted some below). Ready to shop? We’ve researched and rounded up the best used gear resources to save you money and help the planet, too.

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The Best Places to Buy Used Outdoor Gear

Outdoor Brands

Several major outdoor gear manufacturers sell used items, and they’re a great source for bargains.

Arc’teryx Used Gear: Customers can trade in items and get store credit based on the original price; these returns are then resold at steep discounts. To help your shopping, Arc’teryx assesses each item, cleans and repairs it, and rates its condition, which takes some guesswork out of the buying process.

The North Face Renewed: Launched in 2018, the Renewed store sells items (up to 50 percent off retail price) that are sourced from returns, including defective and damaged items that have been refurbished. Better yet, every item sold comes with a one-year warranty.

Patagonia Worn Wear: The online shop complements the brand’s Worn Wear campaign, which celebrates the stories of long-lasting gear. Here you’ll find all kinds of refurbished garments and gear, from shirts to sleeping bags and more.

REI Used Gear: To shop many brands at once, check out the Used Gear section on the REI website. It’s full of items across categories, including ski and snowboard, paddling, cycling, and beyond.

Local Consignment Shops

Your town might have its very own used gear joint, so pop inside and support a local business—it’s probably full of shoppers and staffers who frequent the same trails and crags as you. Plus, many of these stores buy used items in addition to selling them, so they’re a great place to trade in the gear you don’t need for the gear you do.

One of the premiere consignment shops in the country is Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, VT, which has a robust online shopping platform for customers who don’t live in town. There’s also The Gear Fix in Bend, OR, Next Adventure in Portland, OR, Wonderland Gear Exchange in Seattle, Boulder Sports Recycler in Boulder, CO, Wilderness Exchange in Denver, Recyclist Unlimited in Doylestown, PA, and so on. A quick internet search should point you to your closest retailer.

Geartrade

Launched in 1999 among a small group of friends, Geartrade has grown to offer gently used items to the entire outdoor community. The company’s mission is to become the outdoor industry’s first fully circular economy retailer. You’ll find all kinds of equipment on the site, all organized by categories such as ski, snowboard, hike and camp, paddle, and bike. You can also search by gender and brand. If you have items you want to part with, send them in and the Geartrade team will handle the rest (and pay you once they’re sold).

Requipper

Shop other people’s gear closets through Requipper (formerly Switchbackr), a company founded by two Stanford dropouts. The site offers a wide range of discounted used gear for sale from individuals and consignment shops around the country (in addition to many items offered by the Requipper team itself). Everything on the platform comes backed by the Iron Lotus Guarantee—if you receive a misrepresented or defective item, Requipper will reimburse you and pay for return shipping, too.

Poshmark

This peer-to-peer marketplace is a well-known resource for clothing, but you can also find gear bargains here as well. After creating an account on the app or website, simply filter your search for “outdoor gear” or type in the specific item you’re looking for. Haggling is accepted: You can negotiate with sellers by offering a lower price than what they’ve listed to score an even better deal. Thanks to the Posh Protect policy, the seller won’t get paid until you confirm that the item arrives as advertised—if not, Poshmark will issue a full refund.

Your Friends

Chances are you have friends with a pair of hiking pants or ski boots they’re not using as much as they thought they would. While any of the options above are great, you can also try throwing a gear swap shindig to exchange items with people around you. It’s a fun excuse to hang out, and you never know what gems might be hiding in your buddy’s garage or closet.

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