YOU FOLLOW: @thegearjunkie, a.k.a. Outside contributor Stephen Regenold, an avid tester of everything from ski goggles to performance underwear to hiking sticks (“handsome staff!”); @coldsplinters, a.k.a. Jeff Thrope, whose classical tastes run to canteens and Norwegian welted boots; and technofied Aussie Amy Jurries, @thegearcaster, who recently touted a blog post on how to “order the perfect jacket
size from The North Face, using your webcam.”
YOU LIKE: Backcountry.com for frequent deals and free stickers, REI for more deals plus earnest tips (e.g., “Sleep-Warm Tricks for Cold-Weather Camping”), and The North Face for still more deals, plus a steady stream of film clips of their athletes in action.
YOU USE: Gear Aid, with step-by-step directions on how to clean, patch, deodorize, and re-waterproof just about anything; Uncrate, which dishes up pure product porn on whatever they find, from bourbon and bacon to gadgets and power tools; and Steep and Cheap, Backcountry.com’s deal-a-day app for excess inventory.
YOU BROWSE: Members-only discount site The Clymb and CleanSnipe, a one-stop aggregator of 50-plus gear retailers, including one-deal-at-a-time sites like Bonktown, big players like REI, and obscure specialty retailers like the Flip Flopper. For gear reviews, you troll OutdoorGearLab, which covers everything from avalanche beacons and climbing helmets to tents and helmet cams, and the Gear Institute, a new site cofounded by former Outside staffer Justin Nyberg.
YOU SCHMOOZE: By runging your way up the contest-like Leader-board at Backcountry.com, posting reviews and answering other users’ questions. If you’re into light hiking, you chitchat at Backpackinglight.com ($25 per year), where polite forum discussions revolve around chart-laden reviews of snowshoes and homemade gear.