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Saving Money On Sports Gear

How to save money on gear AND still get the good stuff!


Mar 30, 2017 by Marty B

My name is Marty and I have a problem buying hiking and biking equipment. There I said it. But, but, I don't feel bad about spending money on gear. Of all the things I spend money on, outdoor gear is something that brings me great pleasure. I look at it as a promise of going to do something that I love. With that said, I have a list of tips to to help your dollar go further on your gear. 

I'll share some examples of prices, and tactics on saving some $$ as well as resell strategies.

- Golden Rule: Buy better gear. If you buy better gear, it will typically hold it's value. It doesn't have to be the absolute best or most expensive, but a higher end product will typically be easier to resell. If you're dialing in your setup, I recommend buying used gear through Craigslist and buy better stuff. It'll be easier to sell when you move to another piece of equipment. I sold a tent on Ebay last year that I paid $88 for in 2003. I sold it for $75. $13 for 13 years of use, good deal. 

- No new money out: There comes a point where you look around and think, “I have enough gear.” The truth is that you have enough gear, now you just want different gear. Totally different, right? I often will use the term, “no new money out”. This means that I won't spend any new money. That specifically requires that I sell off current stuff to purchase new. 

-Resell gear at a net profit means you bought smart in the first place. Recently I resold a road bike that I purchased on bidfta.com. I purchased six bikes through the website last year. These bikes are typically new in boxes that have been returned. Their average prices was between $40-$50. I have been selling them off one by one as find the one that suits me best. More often than not, my sales have been averaging 3x price paid. I purchased one for $67, sold it on Craigslist for $200. This bike sold for about for about $400 new. They got a discount, I made a little too. The bike was also put together and tuned as well. They got a bargain. As for me, I was no new money out and $200 back in my coffers. Plus, I was able to ride a road bike a few hundred miles and then know EXACTLY what I wanted in my next road bike. 

-Use Amazon Warehouse: If you're not familiar with Amazon Warehouse deals, you should be. Amazon Warehouse will often have a returned (but new item) offered for much less. For things like backpacks, stoves and most stuff not worn, I don't care if it has been returned. I bought a backpack at a deep discount in 2012 (in the offseason). I recently sold it on Craigslist for more than what I paid. 

- Check prices on Camelcamelcamel.com: This website will give you the lowest price timeline on Amazon. Sometimes, the best time to purchase might be a couple months away. I have saved on Osprey packs using Camelcamelcamel and saved an average of 33% per pack. 

- Black Friday purchase: If you're buying in the off season, you'll get great deals around the holidays. I purchased a tent the week before Thanksgiving a couple years ago and it went on sale on Black Friday. A quick email for a price match saved 25%! 

- The Garage, Shed or Outlet: Between REI's Garage Sales and Campsaver's Shed, you can be opportunistic with your purchases. I purchased a Marmot Precip 2 jacket at REI's garage sale saving about 60%. 

- Craigslist. I will periodically search on Craigslist for items that interest me. Generally, I have found items there that I want to try before I pay full price. If I don't like it, I can resell it on Craigslist or sell it on Ebay as well. For example, I purchased a Eureka Spitfire 1-person tent for $55. Once I discovered I like the weight of that one, I resold my other 1.5 person tent at the same price I purchased it. 

- Massdrop: This site negotiates deals with manufacturers/resellers that if a certain number of purchases are completed, then a discount or deal will be unlocked. 

Gear is expensive—make no mistake about it. Saving money isn't usually my objective, trial is my objective. I want to try the equipment that I want to use on the trail or road to test without buying the most expensive thing at first. Once I know what I want, I buy it and sell off the thing that I tried. This approach above allows me to dial in the gear with real world usage. Once you live with your gear for a bit, you know the ins and outs—what you love and what you hate. That's when you are really prepared to buy something. I think my “recycle my gear to my wallet” approach keeps me on the OK side of things with my budget and allows me to explore new gear too.

What's your best money saving tip? FYI, borrowing from me or a friend doesn't count! 

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