Many of us have garages stuffed with old gear—kit we love but don’t use anymore.
It’s time to let go. You need the extra space, and there are a lot of other people who can put that dusty gear to good use. Before you start cleaning house, check out these five donation sites that will ensure your equipment finds a proper new home.
Gear for the Homeless
Box and ship old gear to this nonprofit based in Fort Collins, Colorado, which has distributed more than $6 million worth of products to people across the country to help them stay warm and dry. In particular, Gear for the Homeless needs sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, backpacks, daypacks, coats, footwear, and blankets.
Your Local Outdoor Education Program
I believe in the mission to get young people outside, so I donate lots of gear (camp stoves, base layers, water bottles) to Feather River College’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership Program. Google “outdoor education program,” and you’ll likely find one nearby.
Disabled Sports USA, a Maryland-based nonprofit with chapters all over the country, organizes activities for people with disabilities. After touring its headquarters and volunteering at its Mount Shasta chapter, I can vouch for DSUSA’s life-changing programs. Different chapters have different needs, so reach out and ask before you send anything. Right now they'll likely need ski gear such as jackets and warm gloves.
Free Bikes 4 Kidz
I spoke with MiiR founder Bryan Pape about where to donate bikes. (The Seattle-based gear company donates 5 percent of its revenue to projects like local bike co-ops.) If you live in or near Atlanta, Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, you can donate to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, which has given 32,000 bikes to children in need over the past eight years. If you don’t live in those cities, Pape says you can usually find a local nonprofit that fixes up used bikes and gives them to people in need.
Sponsor a Dirtbag
When I was younger and working as a river guide, I constantly used worn-out, low-end gear. It was like Christmas whenever someone gave me a used piece of gear: it was a way for them to clean out and an upgrade for me. Now I’m the one passing forward gear that I’ve tested to people who want to get outside but can’t afford new stuff.