The Gear I Grab: 5 Ways to Buy Gear for Cheap

When I was young my parents taught me the importance of being frugal and finding good deals on the things we wanted to buy. If I wanted to buy a new bike I would have to save and pay for it myself. My brother and I started mowing lawns to make money. Eventually, we taught ourselves to fix cars and small engines to fuel our gear addiction. Through this we learned the art of the deal and how to flip items (buy and resell for a profit). The same principle that applies to cars, also applies to gear like patagonia jackets; if you can find one second hand, you can usually get an item with little use and a steep discount over MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price). Below is a list of my favorite places to find cheap gear.

1: Facebook Marketplace

This is my go to for finding a good deal on gear. To be successful you have to be consistent and check at least once a day. Good deals go fast and sometimes you have to offer over the ask price to secure the items. You can find an item that is overpriced and offer the seller a cash amount for less once you look at the item. Most of the time if you are nice and get to know the person you can negotiate the price down. I have bought everything from down coats to motorcycles on facebook for a great deal. My wife even found a brand new tree tent for less than a third of the MSRP, just by checking Facebook Marketplace at the right time (and she’s new to the art of the deal). I can always get the seller down a few bucks just by asking which means that you can do it too.

2: Consignment and Thrift Stores

This is a great option if you have some time to go and want to get out of the house. I have found a great number of high end ski jackets and vintage shoes in thrift stores. The thrift stores have gotten a little more competitive as they have recently gained popularity. The best thrift stores are the ones who sell clothes by the pound. At those stores you have to dig through a lot of junk but there are a lot of hidden treasures. Consignment stores can be a little hit and miss. If the pricing is right they can be a gold mine. Many stores now try to overprice their items. This means that the good deals can be few and far between . Make sure you know what similar items are selling for on facebook marketplace and you can make a good decision based on the price.   

3: Ski and Gear Swaps

Ski swaps are my favorite part of the fall season. The deals are crazy and it is where I’ve bought all the skis I currently own (don’t ask how many I have). A key to being successful is making sure the swap is taking local consignment. If they aren’t taking local consignment they are just a traveling ski shop where the deals will be ok but not the killer deals you are looking for. Another success tip is to show up as soon as the doors open. There are tons of other deal shoppers out there and if you aren’t there first they will be.

4: REI Garage Sale

These events are getting fewer and farther in between as REI switches to dedicated garage sale stores but this can be a great event to score gear for a fraction of the cost at. Many people camp out all night to be first in line for these sales and the deals warrant it. If you can find a garage sale to go to I guarantee you won’t leave empty handed.

5: Professional Deals

If you can get yourself some pro deals you will be a happy camper (literally). Pro deals are discounts offered by manufacturers directly to professionals in the outdoor industry. I can’t share a lot of details about the discounts that specific brands offer but they are usually 30%-60% off the MSRP. You can apply directly with the brand on their website or you can apply through a company like Expert Voice that provides you access to many brands through a single application. To get pro deals you have to be in an industry they approved. The usual industries they approved for are fire departments, emergency services, ski resort employees, outdoor retailer employees etc. If you fall into one of these categories you should apply for pro deals and start getting your favorite gear at a discount.

Being an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman can be an expensive hobby but if you use the tips listed above I’m sure you can keep a few more of those harde earned dollars in your wallet. So the next time you’re on Facebook checking up on grandma’s dog take a look at Facebook marketplace and see what deal you can find. (Warning: the art of the deal is addictive and the rush of a deal is almost unmatched)

One thought on “The Gear I Grab: 5 Ways to Buy Gear for Cheap

  1. Corban! Awesome blog man! I just got into outdoor bouldering and absolutely fell in love with it (despite also being terrified of heights). I was thinking of blogs to check out and remembered you’re a seasoned outdoors guy! I absolutely love this post because I have had my share of success on Facebook Marketplace as well! I think it’s such a necessity for gear seekers and I’m glad you highlight it on your blog. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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