Going gear shopping is an exciting event; looking through multiple aisles of kayaks, boots, climbing ropes and my personal weakness--knives. The next outdoor trip is always around the corner, but gear gets old, breaks or just simply isn't as good as the newer stuff. Although buying new stuff for your next trip sound exciting, going all-out at the gear shop can do some damage on your bank statement.
REI and Patagonia are two brands that want to change the way consumers shop for gear by giving them the choice to buy used instead of new. REI has been selling used gear at their stores and now some of that used gear will feature on their website under their new Used Gear Beta program. Just doing a quick browse revealed some amazing deals like Marmot down jackets and Osprey packs. Selling used gear at brick-and-mortar stores is good for shoppers, but online, more of those used items are available.
"Despite REI’s growth in store count, members often live far from a physical store but are always connected to REI.com," said Vik Sahney, REI's Divisional Vice President of Sustainability. "These trends have resulted in stranded product—lightly used, niche items up for grabs in a Garage Sale event—but no interested customers in that market. For example, take a lightly used size 13 waterfall ice climbing boot. The audience is very narrow."
Now, niche items won't be relegated to be forgotten on the bargain bin, but instead placed on a website where thousands of people might see it, and maybe find a new home. The new initiative is aimed to start small and scale up based on community response, according to Sahney. With deals like that, however, it would come as a surprise if the program was shuttered.
Patagonia, not one to be left behind, has long been a champion of used gear, from famous ad campaigns that told consumers not to buy their products to their traveling van repairing garments all across the nation. Right now the selection on the Worn Wear website is nothing spectacular and garments mostly exist in one size, so that Houdini pullover may be a size too big or small, and that is a major bummer. On the other hand, it's better than paying the full price.
Both companies are striving to get adventurers to stop spending on things they don't need new, and while it may be bad for business, it's great for the environment and each company's social capital. Of course, most items are only available in one size or colorway, and in those cases, it might be better to buy new. But saving money on awesome used gear makes it so much more worth it.