There's an unspoken contradiction in the outdoor community. With a desire to escape the rat race, outdoor enthusiasts take to the wilderness for the simple life. But embodying that humility can be difficult when you have to save your hard-earned cash to buy gear. The good news is, if you know where to look, you can find discount outdoor gear and have money to spare.
Outdoor gear is expensive for a reason: it keeps you moving, warm, cool, safe, alive, etc. You pay a premium for function. It doesn't have to be that way. A handful of retailers offer consistent discounts on premium brands. You don't have to sacrifice quality to find cheap outdoor gear.
If you want outdoor gear without breaking the bank, you've come to the right place. And you'll learn a few bonus hacks to save even more money.
Where to Buy Discount Outdoor Gear
Hobbies can be expensive. Any hobby or sport that requires specialized gear will set you back a few bucks. Outdoor gear is no exception, and manufacturers know that. They make gear and apparel that emphasizes quality and function. Each year they release new versions with the hottest colors and latest technology. Don't get caught in the hype. Last year's colors are just as good, and new tech is often hyperbolized (do your research). Buying used, or the previous year's model can save you big bucks.
Where to Buy New Cheap Outdoor Gear
One of the best ways to save money is to take advantage of the discount outdoor gear websites. Many of these cheap outdoor gear websites have clearance prices up to 90% off.
Best New Outdoor Gear Websites
Steep and Cheap
Backcountry offers discount outdoor gear and apparel up to 70% off. They have a large selection of brand name gear and are an excellent source for trusted reviews.
REI Garage Outlet
The Clymb requires a free membership. Once you’ve signed up, you're privy to some pretty deep discounts — up to 80%. They have a limited inventory, but feature brands you won't see anywhere else on this list.
Sierra Trading Post
Sierra Trading Post is mostly online, with a growing roster of brick and mortar stores. Now that TJX owns them, they have a massive inventory, with discounts up to 98% off.
Campmor is the perfect destination for discount camping gear. They offer discounts of up to 85% off. Look for the "hot deals," the deep discount items.
CampSaver has brand name gear for a variety of outdoor activities (despite the name). Their discounts can run up to 90% in their outlet section.
The House, formerly Altrec, offers discount gear up to 70% off. They have an outlet section with deeper discounts, up to 85% off. And they have a price-match guarantee.
A note about shipping: Backcountry, REI Garage, Campmor, CampSaver, and The House offer free shipping on most orders over $50.
Where to Buy Used Cheap Outdoor Gear
If you don't need the latest-and-greatest, you can save a ton of money buying used gear. Here are some of the best resources for quality used outdoor gear.
Best Used Outdoor Gear Websites
Craigslist is fantastic for deals. Pay attention after Christmas when people return gifts, and in the summer when people buy gear they won't use. The less someone wants an item, the more negotiating power you have.
Goodwill has insane bargains, if you have some patience. Grab some $2 leggings or a 50 cent spork. It’s crazy what people will donate. You can pick up brand new gear for pennies.
GearTrade is great for cheap outdoor gear; it's like Craigslist for outdoor gear and apparel. Most sellers generously negotiate. The site design makes the process smooth and painless.
Facebook Marketplace is a newer, great source for deals. Use it like you would use Craigslist, searching your area for items people are selling.
Facebook Groups for outdoor enthusiasts exist where people sell and swap gear. In the general search bar, input your keywords (e.g., "buy outdoor gear") and join the group.
REI Garage Sale
REI Garage Sale events are excellent places to find used gear and apparel. Most of the gear is practically brand new; used once or twice. Get to the event early because inventory sells quickly.
How to Save Even More Money on Outdoor Gear
Beyond discount outdoor gear websites you can keep costs down by getting creative. Take advantage of industry pricing, coupon codes, and online rebates.
Many organizations and clubs offer pro deals or manufacturer outdoor gear discounts. Check the benefits section of your memberships to see what they offer. Here are a few examples of popular organizations that provide pro deals or brand discounts.
Many websites allow coupon (or discount) codes at checkout. Most coupon code websites are unreliable. You're better off searching "coupon (or discount) code + [store name]" or checking Groupon.
Companies like eBates offer cash rebates when you shop at participating online retailers. Many of the retailers on this list take part. You buy gear, they apply the discount rebate, and they send money to your Paypal. It's that easy. Do yourself a favor and double up.
Whether you're upgrading, replacing, or adding to your collection, your outdoor gear should be affordable. If you follow this guide, you'll save money and time. Valuable time you can spend enjoying the outdoors (or reading about it here).