Post Summary: Clever Ways To Find Discount Outdoor Gear (To Save Tons of Money)
Have you ever walked through REI or your local gear shop and found that perfect item you’ve been searching for?
It’s the jacket you saw someone else wearing on the trail. Or maybe it’s the best sleeping bag with all the tech specs you’re looking for and then some, AND it’s in your favorite colors. Your backpacking gear list is nearly complete!
Your heart skips a beat and you get excited thinking about all the adventures to come with that piece of gear. …And then you flip the tag over and see the price.
We get it. Backpacking gear can be expensive. But the good news is, you don’t need to have the nicest, newest gear or the most expensive to have a great, safe time out in the backcountry. There are so many ways to find discount outdoor gear on a budget!
32 Genius Ways To Find Cheap Hiking Gear
Original post written by Adventure Contributor Whitney Matthews and updated in January 2023 by Emily Mandagie
This post includes affiliate links.
Discounted Outdoor Gear Websites
Have you ever wondered where all of last season’s inventory goes? Did you know that REI has a discount site? And Backcountry? And Patagonia? They sure do!
There are a lot of websites out there that are selling slightly older models of gear for much cheaper. If you are looking for cheap hiking gear, consider browsing last season’s styles to save quite a bit of money.
So, what are the benefits of discounted outdoor gear sites?
1. Online recreation stores make it easy to compare prices – all you have to do is open multiple tabs on your computer! No more running around town stopping in a handful of stores.
2. Most of these sites have a return policy and/or warranty, unlike gear swaps or peer-to-peer marketplaces.
3. Access to new gear at lower prices. They might be last season’s colors, but who cares if you like them!!
Some of the best discount sites for cheap camping gear include:
The REI Outlet is where the last season’s gear goes for steep discounts. We often check out the Outlet for gear we need before anything else. It’s the same high-quality gear, just last season’s colors!
If you are an REI Member (only $20 for a lifetime membership) you can receive exclusive access to deals and even deeper discounts only for members. Plus, you will receive yearly dividends on purchases. We often find a lot of deals for car camping gear, hiking shoes, and backpacks.
Steep & Cheap is like the Nordstrom Rack for Backcountry.com. It’s where last season’s gear and colors go for even deeper discounts, steals, and great deals.
They often boast that there are “new steals even 5 minutes” so keep checking back often for new products uploaded all the time!
Great items to buy on outdoor discount websites? Camping hygiene gear! New styles come out all the time, but they all get the job done. Grab a trowel, travel towel, or packing cubes on these discounted camping gear websites!
The Clymb is a discount outdoor gear site that gives deep cuts up to 80% off! It’s for members only, but you can sign up for free to take advantage of these deals.
We recommend checking this often because sales are short and go very quickly (think flash sales). It’s a random assortment of outdoor goodies, great for gifts!
Backcountry.com is a popular outdoor retailer that makes it easy to choose their sales section to find discounted outdoor gear.
There are always new sales to discover, and opportunities to take advantage of even more discounts by signing up for their email list or using a promo code during certain times of the year.
If you are someone who loves to compare prices, make sure you’re checking Amazon for discount outdoor gear!
Oftentimes, they have cheap camping gear that rivals the prices of their competitors.
When purchasing outdoor gear through Amazon, make sure to read reviews and double-check dimensions. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’re getting the right size (especially if it’s camping gear) as other sides so do your due diligence before buying!
If you love shopping at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods, Sierra Trading Post is run by the same people!
Just like its sister retail stores, if you are willing to do a little digging, you can score some name-brand gear for quite the steal. We recommend this site for browsers and casual shoppers!
OutdoorPlay is an online retail shop for recreational gear – think kayaks, paddleboards, trailers, camping gear, and more. They originated in the water sports sector, but have now expanded to offer even more clothing and camping gear.
Their sale section is always changing, so if you’re looking for big-ticket outdoor gifts or items like a canoe or kayak, keep tabs on their sales page!
Camp Saver is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a backpacking gear outlet. They carry some of our favorite backpacking gear and brands like YETI, Big Agnes, Marmot, Hoka, NEMO, and MSR.
Check out their Camp Saver Outlet section for tons of deep discounts. I’ve even seen deals up to 73% off!
For the surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding enthusiasts, you’ve got to check out EVO. They are known for board sports (their motto is ‘Mountain, Street, & Water”) and have a huge selection of skies, snowboards, skateboards, and more.
If you are a Canadian citizen, avoid those pricey international taxes and keep your money local at MEC!
Decathalon is not a sale site, but a place to grab camping and outdoor gear for REALLY cheap.
Their prices are super low because they are committed to sourcing their products at a low price, while also staying true to their values in sustainability!
It’s a great place to buy gear if you are just starting out in the outdoor recreation world!
Used or Secondhand Gear
Alright, discounted outdoor gear is great, but what if you wanted to be more sustainable? How can you get the most used out of what’s already in circulation?
Here are some ways to shop for affordable camping gear by buying secondhand, going to a gear swap, or using a peer-to-peer marketplace!
14. REI Garage Sale
The REI Garage Sale is an in-person event at local stores. They will bring out returned items, gently used pieces, and items with minor dings and dents for a big discount.
As you browse the sale, each item will come with a tag, explaining why it’s there (return, defect, etc) and specifically stating why or what caused it to get marked down.
Check your local store’s website or call ahead to find out when yours is hosting its next garage sale!
If you have your eye on a piece of gear from REI, see if they have it in their Used Gear section (aka Re/Supply) before buying!
Also, if you’ve got gear that you want to upgrade, you can bring in your old items and receive store credit. All used items are inspected and need to pass a quality test, so you know you’re getting a great item!
Patagonia Worn Wear is their program to keep loved and used gear in circulation, instead of just pumping out new stuff!
You can trade in your own Patagonia gear for store credit, and purchase used gear for a steal.
They also have a repair program, which is the goal of keeping your loved items outdoors and used as long as humanly possible!
Active Junky is kind of like the Rakuten of discount outdoor gear. It’s a rebate website that gives you cash back on your purchases (which we all know can mean dropping quite a bit of cash on a new tent or sleeping bag!).
Signing up to be a member is totally free and you can get cash back on popular brands like Chaco, Backcountry, The North Face, Nike, and more!
Psst: I have a deal for a free $5 after you join and make a purchase through Active Junky. Sign up at this link to receive it!
Gear Trades and Outdoor Consignment Shops
Looking to swap out your old gear for something new? We’ve already shared a couple of options above (Worn Wear, Re/Supply, Renew) but there are a ton more great platforms to discover.
Try checking out gear trades and outdoor consignment stores! They are available both online and in person – here are our recommendations:
Hot Tip: A quick Google will help you find gear consignment shops in your area! Here are some things to type into Google to find what you’re looking for:
- “Discount Camping Gear in (your city/state here)“
- “Discount Outdoor Gear in (your city/state here)“
- “Outdoor Discount Store in (your city/state here)“
- “Outdoor Gear Trade in (your city/state here)“
If you go this route – don’t search for cheap backpacking gear for a last-minute trip. Doing so might cause buyer’s remorse, or it may not make it in time for your trip. Plan about a season ahead, and begin searching and collecting items months in advance. This gives a good amount of time for research, reviews, and locating the best discount camping gear.
20. Wonderland Gear Exchange (Seattle, Washington)
Wonderland Gear Exchange (in Seattle, WA) is just one of many in-person locations that offer trade-ins or swaps, like a local Ski Swap.
They’ve always got a running list of gear they are looking for, and clearly spell out their seller and payout system so you know exactly what to expect when you come in store. If you’ve got extra gear just lying around, give it a visit!
21. Facebook Marketplace
Traveling on a budget? You can often find discount outdoor gear on peer-to-peer marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace for much cheaper than the brand-new price.
Buying used gear is a great way to save money. This is a great option for people who love doing research and have the time and patience to browse sites until they find the perfect item.
It might take some persistence and digging around to find exactly what you’re looking for, but when you do find what you’re after, it’ll save you some good money! You can also join more specific Facebook groups (like ski swaps or women-centered groups)
Facebook also has systems in place to avoid fraud on the marketplace, but be cautious of communication off the app, it’s sometimes a hotbed for scammers if they ask you to communicate off-app.
Alright, what if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally? Try Poshmark! It’s one of the best places to buy hiking gear at a deep discount.
Yes, it’s more of a fashion-forward marketplace platform, but I’ve scored some great outdoor clothing items (and some Chacos!) from Poshmark. I’d stick to searching for outdoor clothing on this platform.
Get $10 Free: Use the code EMILYMANDAGIE and receive $10 upon joining Poshmark and using my code!
Think of ReRouted like Poshmark, but specifically for outdoor gear! It’s one of the newest ways to find discount outdoor gear online, and we’re super excited about it!
We’ve seen every kind of listing from water bladders to backpacking sleeping pads, and dog leashes! If you are in the browsing stage of searching for discount outdoor gear, don’t let this option pass you by!
Outdoor Gear Exchange is an east coast-based company but their online consignment shop is available for outdoor lovers nationwide!
If you are looking to sell your gear for money, they have very clear instructions on what they are looking for, how to mail in your items, and what exactly they accept.
One cool policy they have is if the gear doesn’t sell in 8 months, they donate to charities.
How To Get Pro Deals
Are you an influencer, publisher, part of the media, or professional athlete? Maybe you work for an outdoor-related company or a non-profit. All of these jobs and more could qualify for pro deals!
Here are some ways to get deep discounts on some of your favorite brands:
26. Work For An Outdoor Company
Depending on who you work for, you might be able to snag a sweet discount on outdoor gear and supplies. For example, REI gives all employees 50% off all REI merchandise, 30% off other brands, and an extra 10% off sale items.
27. Sign up for a Pro Deals Website to get Discount Outdoor Gear
If you are an athlete, publisher, part of the media, or more, you might be able to qualify for pro deals!
Pro deals are a great way to get discount outdoor gear. The reason to give pro deals to these influential people is for brands to be seen in their hands, written about, or reviewed by field experts.
We occasionally use our own pro deals as publishers to review products to better share great gear with you! It’s a win-win for all.
Here are some pro deal websites to consider:
Outdoor Prolink: Connects brands with the gear that matters.
GuideFitter: Matches the pros with brand pro deal programs that fit their expertise.
Expert Voice: Offers publishers and outdoor industry leaders deep discounts on gear.
Where to Find FREE Outdoor Gear (+ Nearly Free)
So what if you have NO money to spend? Depending on where you live and your access to services, there are quite a few clever ways to get outdoor gear for free. Here are some of our favorite tricks:
28. Borrow Outdoor Gear From Friends or Family
Not only is this option absolutely free, but it’s also one of the best ways to test gear before you buy it for yourself!
Before borrowing other people’s gear, ask questions about specific care considerations and ask if there are any pre-existing holes or scratches to be aware of.
If you end up ruining their item out on the trail, make sure you have the means to replace it for them too.
29. Find Your Local Gear Library
Wait, a gear library? What’s that?
A gear library is pretty straightforward – instead of checking out and returning books, you check out and return outdoor gear!
You can find these programs in nearly every state, but you almost always need to be a program member to enjoy gear library access. Certain gear libraries cater to certain groups like youth, people of color, women, beginners, and more. Spend some time browsing online for gear libraries near you to find a program to participate in!
Here are some gear libraries in the Pacific Northwest (with membership!):
Washington Trails Association has a gear library for their Outdoor Leadership members. If you are a teacher, student-age, or part of a youth group, you can take the training and get access to WTA’s gear library for your next group outdoor adventure!
Wild Diversity in Portland provides its community members with access to their gear library. They use it to provide camping gear to people who are going on group trips, often for their first outdoor getaway!
30. Start Your Own Free Outdoor Gear Library
Want to start your own Gear Lending library with your friends or community? It’s a great way to share gear and support one another in your outdoor adventures. Here are some things to think about when building your own community gear library:
- Do you want it to be donation-based and have items collected in one space? Or rather an available borrowing system where everyone keeps their own items?
- Have all gear borrowers agree to a set of rules that everyone comes up with – sign something! Make sure to add rules about replacing items that get damaged.
- Create a live Excel or Google Sheet with your gear inventory.
- Columns on your inventory can include owner, make/model, color, serial number, check-in and check-out dates, and who currently has that item.
- Appoint a system where someone keeps track of gear and when it will be returned.
31. Rent Gear From Your University
If you are a university student, there might be a program to take advantage of!
If you live in the PNW and are a University of Washington student, you can use their Gear Garage Rental Center.
This service isn’t free, but stupid cheap compared to retail prices. For example, if you need a bear bin to go camping on a Washington beach, renting one from UW’s Gear Garage is $2 for the first day and $1 every day after. (vs $70 for purchasing a brand new one).
32. Rent Your Gear Locally
Gear shops like REI often have rental programs offering gear for camping and hiking, climbing, cycling, paddling, snow sports, and even car racks. Another perk of renting gear? Like borrowing, it’s a great way to test out something you’ve had your eye on before purchasing it yourself.
Some items we have rented in the past have been snow shoes, skis, and bikes. These high-ticket items may not be worth a splurge (right now). Renting them is an inexpensive way to try out the sport, to see if you want to invest further in the future!
Tips on Purchasing Discounted Outdoor Gear
How to Safely Buy Discount Camping Gear On Resale Sites
If you are buying cheap camping gear from a resale site and meeting the seller for pickup, there are a few things to consider – to protect yourself and your investment. Here are some tips for shopping for cheap hiking gear:
- Always bring a friend with you for the exchange and whenever possible, meet the seller at a public place that isn’t either of your homes.
- Don’t promise payment ahead of time. Show up, inspect the item, then decide whether it’s in good condition and priced reasonably.
- Can’t check out the item prior to buying? Read the seller reviews. If they seem to have a good track record and positive reviews, then chances are, the item you’re buying will be true to its description.
Don’t Buy Ultra-Light Gear or High-Tech Gear (If You Don’t Need It)
High-tech gear is generally expensive because they often serve just a single purpose. That sub-zero sleeping bag that’s 100% down-filled? Mountaineers who take overnight trips in the alpine can use that to stay warm enough at night to survive.
That ultralight tent that weighs less than a pound? It can be used for thru-hikers, who travel thousands of miles on a single trail, and need gear that won’t wear them down day after day.
Let’s say you are staying pretty local and planning to do a low-key backpacking trip – just a couple of nights. You definitely don’t need the most high-tech jacket on the market. In fact, you may already have everything you need for your first, short trip to the outdoors.
Don’t feel like you need to spend a lot of extra money on ultra-lightweight, high-tech gear. That can come later as you plan longer, harder, more technical hikes. Camping equipment doesn’t have to be expensive to do the job well. The most important thing is that you enjoy being outside!
Shop Opposite The Outdoor Seasons For Discount Outdoor Gear
If you’re looking for a cozy winter jacket, try shopping for it in the summer when the demand is lower, driving prices down.
In addition, keep an eye out for end-of-season sales. Many stores offer sales on gear from previous seasons to make way for the new season’s gear. So, winter gear will often go on sale during the summer and vice versa.
There is often a surplus of discount outdoor gear at the end of the season to make room for new products, so you can snatch items are a great price. It takes patience (you’ll have to wait until next year to use your gear!) but it’s worth it to save some money!
Traveling with camera gear? Study up on these essential camera accessories for travel photography, and keep an eye out for future sales!
Once You Invest In Your Backpacking Gear – Take Care Of It
Outdoor gear is designed to be tough and long-lasting…if you treat it well. Get your money’s worth by cleaning, using, and storing your gear properly. This will help you use your gear for years before needing to replace it.
Keep Your Eye Out For Annual Sales To Grab Discount Outdoor Gear
Oftentimes, big outdoor gear retail companies will host an annual sale, with huge price drops on some of their most popular camping, backpacking, and hiking gear. You can find past-season deals on many of the most popular brands, including The North Face, Columbia, Patagonia, and more.
One of the most popular times to purchase cheap camping gear is during the REI Anniversary Sale (Mid-May). This is when we purchased our Garmin inReach – a pricey satellite communicator which we got for $100, just by waiting for the sale!
Holidays with historic times to buy cheap hiking gear and cheap camping gear:
- Memorial Day (Last Weekend in May)
- Labor Day (First Weekend in September)
- Black Friday (The Day After Thanksgiving)
- Annual Sale Days (varies depending on the retailer – look up your favorite one and stick it on your calendar!)
As you start dipping your toes into the world of outdoor adventure, one of the things that can be most intimidating is finding the right gear…and then figuring out how you’re going to pay for it.
Our hope with this post is that you will feel empowered to think of creative ways to find discounted backpacking gear without feeling the pressure of needing to buy the most expensive option. You don’t need the very best gear to have a memorable time out on the trails!