Go Bidding Online

Beat the Cost of Gear


It’s almost axiomatic—if you want something, you can find it on eBay. So why not outdoor gear? Lots of people buy stuff, then change their mind or find they’re not using it or need money to pay for that last year of law school. So take advantage—try your luck on sites like eBay (if you’re not too freaked out about snoozing in someone else’s barely used sleeping bag). Just the other day I found the following items:

  • A Feathered Friends’ Murre women’s zero-degree sleeping bag. Used once or twice, this piece sells new for $500 but had a “buy now” price of $350, with bidding at $160.
  • A Marmot Swallow tent, used just a few times, sold new for $359 and looking to bid out at $200 or so.
  • A Marin Portofino road bike, sold new for around $1,000, up for bid and apt to sell for around $500.

Before you go the bidding route or the clearance route, however, do take note that these approaches will yank out the safety net that comes with buying new. Most sale or late-model swag comes with a “no return, no refund” policy, plus you won’t have the backup of in-store reps or customer-service operations to make your investment live longer.

I’ll also be the first to admit there’s a sweet, undeniable thrill to walking out of a gear store, your brand-spankin’-new stove in your hand and a week in the Cascades to put it through its paces. But, if pennies are more pressing to you than the latest and greatest, follow my above advice to snag some quick-win savings and you’ll still be cooking on your next outdoor jaunt. You can pay full price for stuff, but why would you?