About two weeks ago I went on a short two-day hike with a friend. It was a great walk but as I’m writing this post one particular thing stands out in my memory. Half-way through the trip we met a guy who seemed to have all the latest gear. If you’ve done any serious hiking, you’ll know the kind of person that I’m talking about. Spanking new boots, top-of-the-range walking poles, nifty little gas-powered stove to cook his dried meals, and of course a pristine Osprey pack. The list, I’m sure, could go on.
Fair play to him, I say. If I had the money, I’d do the same. For a lot of us, however, an unlimited budget isn’t something we posses. Or we might just take satisfaction in bagging a bargain. In this short post I want to look at what I think are some of the best places to buy cheap online
At the risk of sounding obvious, you should always check eBay. You can set up notifications for newly listed items using the android/smartphone app if you’re looking for a particular brand or model and don’t mind waiting a while. It’s also worth making use of the “Make an Offer” feature on “Buy it Now” items where the seller has included it. You’d be surprised how low some people are willing to go, especially when there’s lots of the same item available.
I think Geartrade.com is a very under-utilized marketplace. It’s not an auction site, but there are still some fantastic deals to be had. The search function doesn’t always work so browse by category. You can often find brand new gear with significant reductions on the retail price. It’s also, along with eBay, a great place to sell your own used gear.
Amazon allow people to sell used products in most categories, so they’re worth checking out. Generally you’re not going to find many deals here. What Amazon can be useful for is both discovering and checking out lesser-known brands (which invariably tend to be cheaper).
Again, massively under-utilized. There’s usually a section in walking forums dedicated to second-hand gear. This is probably where you’re most likely to get a serious deal. A lot of forum users are just looking for a quick sale and are very amenable to letting gear go cheaply if you get in touch. Search some of the main forums like backpackinglight.com, backpacker.com and walkingforum.co.uk.
If you’re buying new, you should always try to take advantage of offers and loopholes with the big companies. Cotswold Outdoor, for example, have numerous schemes that allow for a percentage off the retail price (you can get 10-15% off for example if you’re either a member of the National Trust or a student) and GO Outdoors also offer a 30 day price guarantee if you can find a product cheaper elsewhere, with certain conditions of course. Make sure you look online for vouchers too.
I hope that gives you some things to be getting on with! Please share your own ideas in the comments section below.