This is your year to get outdoors and it’s finally time to put your money where your mouth is. The only hitch in your plan, however, could be getting the stuff you’re bound to need without breaking the bank.
Take me, for example. I’m ready to do some camping this summer. But I realize a lot of my gear didn’t make the cut for my last cross-country move. Seems I’ve got a lot of gear to replace.
Here are 5 of my strategies for getting gear on the cheap:
If you know you’ll be taking the family camping this summer or say you’ve resolved to take up surfing, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare. You just need to know what you’re looking for and be willing to do the legwork to find it.
This process can take a little extra time but the savings will totally be worth the effort.
There are plenty of great deals on used gear to be found on eBay and Craigslist. If you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want, go ahead and set up an alert so you are immediately notified if relevant items are posted.
To set up a Google Alert for Craiglist click here, enter your search term (i.e. “ultralight tent”) followed by site:your local craigslist site (i.e. “site:portland.craigslist.org”), choose your delivery options then click “Create Alert”.
Swap meets can also yield great deals on used gear. Stay in the know about upcoming meets through your community listserv or by setting yet another Google Alert. If swap meets are a bust, give garage sales a shot.
A simple web search for gear like tents, backpacks and hiking shoes will produce endless results. Much of what you’ll find will be within the same price range. To get an edge on online pricing, hit up coupon sites for additional savings.
If you have a good idea about how much you want to spend, give BUYSTAND a try. This is the only site out there that lets you pay what you want for new gear.
The premise is simple: You just search for your gear, and once you find it, you plug in your offer price.
For example, you may offer $35 for a brand new double-wide hammock. BUYSTAND will inform you if a retailer carrying that exact hammock will sell it to you at that reduced price within just a few hours.
It’s a great way to get new gear and stay within your budget.
Buy Off Season
Regardless of where you’re shopping, its generally a safe bet you’ll find a better deal in the off season when demand is lower. Off season savings can range from 20-50% lower than the regular season.
If you’re looking for a kayak or another big ticket item, now might be the time to start your search. Remember: spend now to save later.
Ultimately the goal is to find the best gear at the best price. Don’t make that purchase until you’ve explored all of your options.
“How To Gear Up for the Great Outdoors on a Budget” was written by Margaret McNab, a freelance community engagement strategist based out of Durham, NC. Find her online at about.me/margaretmcnab.