The Pros and Cons of Buying Used Outdoor Gear Over New Ones


With so many website platforms devoted to the buying and selling of secondhand goods, it can seem like a very good idea to obtain used outdoor gear online instead of getting it new (and costing more) at the store.

Why should any outdoor gear enthusiast buy pre-loved products? And what are the pros and cons of choosing used outdoor equipment over new stuff? Carry on reading to find out that there are a lot more pros than you think!

When is it a Good Idea to Buy Used Outdoor Gear?

Buying used camping and hiking gear means more than just finding a famous outdoor clothing brand parka on sale at a thrift store for a dollar. The reason why people who love outdoor activities are always looking for a gear bargain is because all the equipment they need can add up to costing quite a bit.

This is why I would highly suggest reading quality reviews on products when you want to buy them new, for example an ultraviolet flashlight can be pricey, but you may find a bargain and good dose of valuable information beforehand as can be seen here.

If you see an online garage sale that has used outdoor gear listed for sale or spy a local notice saying someone is moving and has equipment they can’t take with them, don’t hesitate to contact the seller.

Be sure to do the checks before committing to a sale: see how long they have belonged to the site, check the reviews other people have written about them, and also look into packaging, delivery, and weight.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood where garage sales, pawn shops, and secondhand stores are within easy driving distance, it’s always a better idea to have a look at any equipment closely before deciding to dip your hand into your wallet. In advance of you making an offer to buy anything, remember to factor in transport difficulties or the cost of hiring transport if the gear is bulky or huge: canoes, inflatable dinghies, SUPs.

Don’t forget to ask questions, such as:

  • How long has the gear been in storage?
  • Why are you selling?
  • Are you the original owner?
  • Has it even been damaged?
  • Do you still have the receipt, instructions booklet, or warranty?

If you can’t see the gear in person, but it seems to be in very good condition from the photographs, remember to ask the seller if the equipment is odor-free. This is very important in the case of buying sleeping bags or tents for your camping trip. Mildew smells can be very over-powering, especially when you have to inhale it all night.

Make Sure the Seller’s Garage or Storage Looks Like Bottom Image – Not the Top One

Pros of Buying Used Outdoor Gear

The best thing about buying used outdoor gear is the great reduction in price. There are some really good bargains available if you keep your favorite stores and websites under constant observation. You can always enter “Used tent or kayak” into a search engine and it will sift through what’s available that day.

Don’t get too excited when you get dozens of hits though, as there are plenty of buyers who post items for sale and then forget to take the ad down when it’s sold. However, it’s the affordability of these items that brings the most benefit. The more you save on gear and equipment, the more you can spend on your actual break or holiday.

Even though it’s sometimes hard to find someone who’s offloading a high-quality outdoor activity item that’s hardly been used, if you keep looking for bargains on a fairly regular basis, you will in most cases be the first to find them, and the first to take home the prize. Don’t forget to enter the words, “Near Me” into your search engine enquiry if you don’t have time to wait for the courier to deliver the item.

The Environment

Spending time outdoors really brings it to mind that any form of recycling is better than chucking something in the dumpster. What better way to reuse outdoor gear than to buy it from someone who no longer has any use for it? It’s a very socially responsible thing to do, and just as old clothes are being turned into materials that are then used to make the next batch of sweaters, so can buying a used kayak or air mattress save it from ending up in a landfill.

Famous Outdoor Gear Brands for Cheap

There are some highly desirable famous brand outdoor clothing labels and equipment that can cost a fair amount of money. If you can afford them, you will have the advantage of knowing the items are of the best quality, durable, and usually with a convenient warranty attached.

If you can’t afford to buy famous brand outdoor gear first hand, used items are a sure-fire way of obtaining those benefits without paying the full price. Alright, you won’t get the warranty unless the gear has been bought recently, but you will always have the surety of knowing your gear is of the very best quality.

Taking Baby Steps into the Outdoor Activities Scene

If you don’t know yet if the outdoor activity you are trying out is going to become a life-long passion, then buying used outdoor gear is the only thing you should consider. The same can be said for kids who are begging for outdoor equipment because their friends have it. If your children grows out of the gear or loses interest in the pastime, then you will be glad that a serious amount of cash wasn’t spent on it.

The Cons of Buying Used Outdoor Gear

First up, never purchase used safety equipment, a bargain is no good if it comes with the danger of an apparatus failure attached.

No doubt, there are some sellers out there who are posting used outdoor gear for sale when they don’t even know it’s damaged or faulty, or they do know and just don’t care. That’s why it’s such a good idea to buy items close by or from a verified online seller.

As for buying from pawn shops and secondhand stores, if you build up a good relationship with a local dealer, they can even keep you in mind for when an item comes in. Some store owners will even call you to see if you are interested in buying it.

Posting a flyer at the local bulletin board to alert people that you are in the market for good or medium quality outdoor gear will also bring you to a lot of sellers’ attention. There might even be people who suddenly remember they have an item taking up space in their garage at home that they don’t use, and give you a call.

The downside to this is that your phone will be constantly ringing with a fair amount of timewasters. That’s the real price you pay for letting it be known you want to buy used equipment. You will eventually be able to tell who’s a genuine seller and who is blowing smoke in your eye.

If you ever do decide to visit a seller who has contacted you, always practice the proper precautions and take someone reliable with you, and let someone else know exactly where you are going. Never meet up with a seller at night in a remote location. If the item still has the price tag on it, you should be able to ask to see the store receipt.

If you want to buy sleeping bags or outdoor clothing, it’s better to take it for a dry cleaning or to the laundry before using the items. You never know if the materials have had an infestation of something setting up home in the fibers. Factor in the cost of doing this into the final price. If you are unsure how the item is cleaned, and the seller has lost the manual, check inside for a label and/or online for the manufacturers washing and cleaning instructions.

At the end of the day, what’s a few scratches or tears when there’s a bargain to be had. There’s the added bonus when you buy used outdoor gear – such as hiking boots – that they are nicely worn in and ready for a full day’s hike.

So, following the guidelines listed here, you should now be equipped to go out and buy used outdoor gear at the best prices around.

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