As a teacher and a recent college graduate, my disposable income is scarce. I hike multiple times a month so I do like to have the best gear for what I intend to do. With this predicament I have to get creative. I also have to be very patient. Today I got some amazing deals that I thought I’d share with you as well as some other tips I have learned to keep my budget on track and my pack full of gear.
Today I went to REI’s used gear sale and got some pretty amazing deals. The sale is comprised of returned, damaged, or used merchandise. Prices are slashed 30 – 70%. The sale is held a few times a year and is always on a Saturday morning. All sales are final. Some stores have a lottery process in which you are given an entry number. Other stores have customers line up outside.
I arrived about an hour before doors opened and was behind about fifteen people. I was happy with my spot in line. I ended up scoring on some great items. I bought the following:
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon Trail Running shoes: Originally $110. Paid $25
Montrail Masochist OutDry Trail Running shoes: Originally $115. Paid $20
REI Lite-Core 1.5 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad: Originally $60. Paid $30
All of these items were in great condition. The shoes were both only worn once and the sleeping pad was a demo. I also bought an REI Hobitat 6 a couple years ago for $80. It had a bent pole so I had it repaired for $20. Original price of the tent is $300.
Rewards and Member Only Savings
Many stores have rewards cards which you accrue points for every purchase (EMS does this) or get a rebate for full price items (REI). You can also sign up for email notification and receive coupons and stay in the loop of when their big sales are.
You can compare prices of an item in an instant and can have it shipped right to you or save on shipping (and possibly tax) by picking it up in store.
Do Your Homework
Even if you find a good deal on an item, it is always best to make sure it will be a good fit for what you’re trying to do. If it will just end up sitting in a closet, it is wasted money.
Shop Off Season
I have found some really good deals at the end of a specific season’s clothing and gear. At the end of winter, I bought a pair of snowshoes for much cheaper than I would have a couple months before. Also check online for last year’s model. I bought a sleeping bag in 2011 that was the previous year’s version and they had only changed the color. I walked away with a terrific deal! Sites like The Clymb have daily deals and many of these products are a little older (but brand new). Some are this year’s version, though!
Before you invest in the latest and greatest gadget, make sure it is something you need. There are always fads, even in the outdoors. That new phone charging stove might not be a good investment of your money. Try to look for clothes and gear that serve multiple purposes or that will be well used.
There are many gear and clothing repairs you can do yourself and some really neat DIY projects online. I own a GoPro camera and have been intrigued by the ingenuity of the DIY mount tutorials on Youtube. Andrew Skurka has a tutorial on how to make your own cat food can stove that he uses on his backpacking trips. Sometimes the stuff you make is cheaper, lighter, and more versatile than what is offered in store.
Do you have any money saving tips? Please share in the comments section
Last modified: November 13, 2015