Great adventures require great gear. Whether you are climbing a mountain, kayaking a river, or hiking a mountain pass, you’re going to need the right equipment.
Modern technology has led to some incredible adventure gear but can also make it pretty expensive to suit up. Cheap gear is hard to come across.
If you want to hit the backcountry on a budget, here are three great ways to load up on cheap gear.
There are a number of websites like Steepandcheap.com. However, in my experience, none have the selection and quality of deals that steepandcheap has. They offload gear at discounted prices throughout the year.
Sometimes they’ll have a big sale on camping equipment, other times it’s all snowboarding and skiing. I recently jumped in on their climbing sale and dropped several hundred dollars on cams, quickdraws, slings, and carabiners.
The big advantage to buying on steepandcheap is that it’s all brand new gear. You don’t have to worry about how hard it was used, whether the photos are accurate or whether the seller is honest. As a rock climber, this makes a big difference to me. I don’t want to worry about whether or not the last piece I bought will save my life or not.
Sierratradingpost.com is another great website, selling overstock, closeouts and seconds at low prices. On discount websites you can expect sales as low as 10% or as high as 70% off. It all depends on the item and the time of year. If you keep your eyes out, you’re sure to find the cheap gear you’ve been needing.
Watch out though, if you aren’t careful you might wind up going on a shopping spree. Cheap gear is addictive and these sites are full of it. If you don’t have the money to buy more gear right now, probably better to not even look.
A lot of people never get into using eBay for one reason or another. If that’s you, you’re missing out.
It’s likely that you’ve heard a lot of stories about mislabeled items, or sellers who lie and deceive you. The truth is, eBay scams are pretty uncommon. I’ve bought a lot of my gear on eBay and saved a lot of money doing it. In all that time, I’ve never received anything except exactly what I expected.
One of the best things about eBay is that it’s an enormous platform for buying and selling, you can find a deal on just about anything imaginable. You could scroll through pages of cheap gear for days and not run out of options. If you need an obscure, specific, or out of production part or product, eBay is the place to look.
The other big bonus is the auction format. It’s not for everyone, but if you know how to play the game and stick to your rules, you can walk away with some incredible deals. The trick is to know what the maximum you’re willing to pay for an item is and not to go above it. Sometimes auctions bid up well beyond a reasonable price. Other times cheap gear goes unnoticed and you walk away with a steal of a deal.
The big downside is that eBay is mostly used gear, which can be sketchy at times. The new gear that is for sale tends to go for prices similar to those in the store and are usually not worth the price of shipping.
So be selective about what you look for on eBay. A new roof rack for your car is a perfect product to find, however a climbing rope, maybe not. Used properly, eBay can provide a source for a lot of cheap gear you won’t find anywhere else.
Facebook, Craigslist, and garage sales
One of the best places to look for cheap gear is your own hometown. If you’re into skiing the local slopes, chances are there are a lot of other people doing the same thing in town. By joining Facebook groups for your given sport as well as local buy/sell groups you can often find cheap gear in your area.
When people sell to locals and friends, they are more inclined to give you great deals too. Or maybe they’d be open to trading some of your old gear for some of theirs. Local Facebook groups aren’t just a great way to find cheap gear, they can also help you find new friends who do the same things as you.
Keep your eyes out for garage sales also, where you can find some of the cheapest gear. Garage sale gear is often the oldest, most worn out of all. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some real gems. This is especially true if you’re smaller and can fit items that teenagers are outgrowing.
If you enjoy treasure hunting through garage sales, keep your eyes out on your local craigslist and eBay pages. Most people post about their garage sales a week or more in advance. Be sure to show up early before the garage sale sharks. They’ll swoop in and steal all the best deals first thing in the morning, often with the intent of reselling on eBay later on. Don’t let them get your gear!
I mentioned craigslist.com. It’s not only a great place to find out about garage sales, it’s also a great place to find cheap gear. Just like local Facebook groups, you can search locally and often get great deals on used equipment. I find craigslist much less reliable than eBay when it comes to product quality. However, it’s easy when you can drive to the seller’s house and look at the item before you buy it.
And hey, if you’re not having any luck finding the cheap gear you’re looking for on craigslist, you can always find a job there. That way maybe you won’t need to scrape by on discounted gear next season!
Yeah right… who am I kidding? The wise adventurer will always be on the lookout for cheap gear.
If you master the skills laid out above, you’ll be swimming in gear by the end of the year. Just be careful you don’t spend your rent money on new shoes. Cheap gear is great, but sometimes it has to wait. Once you start finding deals, you’ll see what I mean, it’s extremely addictive.
So go out there and hunt down some hardware, search for some steals, and indulge in some discounts. There’s no excuse to be unprepared in the backcountry this season. Not with deals like these.
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