Forget trolling Craigslist for deals on used outdoors gear. As much fun as it can be meeting a stranger to buy their (hopefully clean) gear obtained in who-knows-what fashion, there’s now a better option. This week REI has rolled out an experimental, beta version of a used gear online store. Everything from clothes to packs, tents to axes, headlamps to emergency radios are available on the site, used, at significant discount. Good news for bargain hunters. This is also on the heels of Patagonia’s Worn Wear used apparel program, which became more widely available earlier this fall.
REI’s program works like this: Customers return a piece of gear for whatever reason, REI will inspect it and if still sellable, it’s eligible for the used gear store. Everything on the store gets a grade – like new, lightly worn, moderately worn, or well worn. Price is based, it seems, on level of wear.
The prices can be great. A quick search revealed a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 tent that normally retails for $380 available used for $190. A used women’s Osprey Ariel 75 backpack that was $232 new is only $81. Shoes seem to be especially heavily discounted. A pair of women’s Salomon Speedcross trailrunners were marked down from $130 to $39.
Everything in the Used Gear store is sold as is with no warranty—a big consideration when buying any piece of outdoor gear. There is still a 30-day return period however. Sizing is, obviously, all over the place, but wading through the store should provide plenty of bargains.
This doesn’t replace the much-loved, members-only Garage Sales REI stores are famous for, either. Those will continue as normal. This program makes the same sorts of deals available to non-members, or members who live nowhere near an REI. Or who don’t like waiting in lines all morning for the Garage Sale grab-crush.
Patagonia Worn Wear offers similarly discounted stuff but with a few big differences. First, it’s only available for Patagonia-made products, much of which has been well-loved, and turned back in to Patagonia stores to be repaired and re-sold. Crucially, you get trade credit when turning in your used Patagonia gear, even if it’s pretty old and worn, a compelling reason to splurge on an upgrade. REI’s program offers a refund if the gear is within their generous return window, of course.
Patagonia’s pricing structure operates similarly—the more an item is used, the less expensive it is. Good deals are plentiful. A men’s Houdini jacket sells for $60 on the Worn Wear site, but $100 brand new, for example.
REI sells pretty much everything needed for an outdoorsy arsenal, so all of it can end up on their Used Gear site. Patagonia’s Worn Wear, for now anyway, is mostly clothes and a few technical garments. There are only a handful of travel bags offered at the moment under the “Gear” tab on the Worn Wear page, though that will likely change.
Both REI and Patagonia tout their programs as being a way to keep gear out of landfills by reducing the amount of new stuff manufactured and, when they resell well-used gear, a way to extend the life of much-loved products. As a customer, it’s a windfall. Outdoors gear is better than it’s every been before, but often at eye-wateringly expensive prices. This way, you can upgrade your kit, feel good about not contributing to the over-production of consumer goods, and save a ton of cash, potentially.
Let the bargain hunting begin.