Hikers love their gear - that's no secret. Any time you get a group of hikers together chances are they're talking about their gear or their food! As with any hobby, the deeper you get into it the more money you're likely to spend on the latest and greatest gadgets and clothing to help you perform better. Here are some tips for scoring gear at great prices when you've got a not so great budget.
Buying Last Year's Color/Model or Factory Seconds
Sierra Trading Post is one of my favorite websites for outdoor clothing items. I always buy my Smartwool socks and bras from them. I've yet to find another website that not only has consistently low prices, but if you do a google search in another tab, chances are you'll find a coupon for free shipping or an additional 20-40% off your entire order. This site is also where I bought SEVEN pairs of trail runners at one time for my AT thru hike in 2012. At 65% off retail, I can definitely rock last year's model shoe.
Flash Sale Sites
My absolute favorite flash sale site is Steep and Cheap. While years ago they specialized only in flash sales, now they have deals you can buy for weeks at a time. I've scored Procompression socks on there for 70% off retail and I've gotten some other great workout equipment on there for as much as 90% off retail. One of my favorite features on Steep and Cheap is the "hold shipment" option. You can hold off on having your order shipped for up to a week if you're still looking for something. This way, if you find more stuff later you can add it to your order and not pay for additional shipping. I've also used The Clymb for gear, but I haven't shopped it in a while.
Backpacker Flea Market Groups - Facebook
If you're a backpacker, chances are you're already a part of so many backpacker flea market groups on Facebook you don't need me to mention this. If you are new to backpacking, trust me when I say GET INTO FACEBOOK GROUPS! Join not only the flea market groups, in which people will sell used gear for discounted prices, but also any group for trails that interest you. People in nearly every group will have some kind of gear they're trying to unload for one reason or another. Use the search bar feature on Facebook and type in "hiker flea market" and join!
Come on. You guys knew I was going to list this one. Seriously though, I have found stuff on Amazon cheaper than I can get it as a hiking guide. Not only is Amazon great for gear deals, they often have great deals on food - Clif Bars, ProBar, Kind Bars, Honey Stinger, etc. - for close to closeout pricing. Sometimes you'll be ordering it in bulk, but if you do a lot of hiking, chances are you'll fly through that multipack of bars in no time.
So there you have it - my tips for buying great gear at great prices. Where do you shop to save money on that new piece of gear you're trying to buy? Is there a great website I've forgotten to list? Leave me a comment below or connect with me over on Facebook to get the conversation started!