You must be in shock when you first see the price tag for outdoor equipment, it does come as a shock and your probably wondering how you’re ever going to afford it all. But not to worry, I’m here to help you!
Buying travel gear for your backpacking adventure can be purchased for a lot cheaper, here are some shopping tips:
Outdoor equipment is built to withstand the test of time and you want to put 100% trust into all of your equipment to ensure it works when you need it to. This is why I would never cut corners and buy cheap knock off’s as tempting as it is to save money. If your travel gear fails during your journey it could be hell, You want to remain dry and you don’t need straps falling off when you’re hiking up a volcano.
If you’re spending hours on end searching around the web for a cheap flight, why are you not doing this for other aspects of your trip?
Travel Gear or Outdoor equipment can be expensive because it’s made of material that’s meant to last and withstand the elements. But just like all other shops there does come a time when the sale period starts and you can grab yourself a bargain.
This blog post is all about how you don’t have to pay face value for outdoor equipment if you follow these few handy tips I’ve picked up over the years.
Sales normally occur around midsummer at the end of July when most people have already been on their big trips May/June so no longer have any need to buy any outdoor equipment as the weather starts to change towards autumn. This is also the same for Winter Skiing equipment in January during the Christmas sales.
Makes this a good time to bag a bargain in an outdoor store.
From my past experience of working in an outdoor store most of the items that go on sale are of top notch quality. Every year popular brand’s update product’s with more trendy designs and minimal tweaks to the actual features of the product.
What might be marked up 50% off because a newer version is going to hit the store soon, is actually pretty much the same as the last model. Maybe an alteration to the color or a small adjustment to a Zipper design, but never a major re-design of the product. But because as Consumers we all want the latest thing the older version simply has to go to make way for the newer version.
It’s hard to notice the difference each year as each model gets upgraded slightly, but for the average consumer who is new to outdoor equipment I honestly can’t see them noticing a thing at all. Its mostly trendy designs that fit with the current time that calls for an upgrade, but only a years difference is not going to be of dramatic change in the product.
Sure, you can spot the difference in design on a product 10 years back, but 1 year, highly doubt it, so pick up that out of season product, get all the same wonderful technical features you need from the product and enjoy your adventure for half the price!
Rule one, only buy what you need!
Sales are like a candy shop for adults, be extremely careful, only buy what you need. If you need a backpack, Don’t end up buying a sleeping bag because its cheap, stick to your budget and stick with what you’re after, otherwise you’re not getting value out of the sale at all.
To keep an eye on daily deals for outdoor equipment I check weekly on: HUKD a UK consumer site that alerts followers about crazy deals in UK stores, also Outdoor stores.
Every year I try to rotate one item that is in need of upgrading so I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket and can do research over the year to keep an eye on the products I’m looking for. The best thing about Outdoor equipment is they’re designed to withstand the elements, and for this reason built to last. Many major outdoor equipment companies will put this to the test and will repair or replace outdoor equipment when something faulty has happened to the product.
I once returned a pair of outdoor gloves to a popular outdoor company because the stitching come undone after a year of solid use in Finland, the problem was already known by the staff and they immediately replaced my gloves with a new pair, now that’s service. It is tempting to buy knock off brands, but if you Invest in good quality equipment it will last you a lifetime.
When I was working for an outdoor company one guy returned his jacket after 20 years of use with a zipper problem, it was sent away free of charge and repaired and returned to the customer. After using the same jacket for 20 years and it still works like the day you purchased it, that’s a great long term investment.
As you can see the jacket that I was after could be found within the Perry outdoor sports department for 50% off, it was €149.99 online, marked up in store at €129,99 and the buying price was €60.
I’m already aware of the Norwegian outdoor brand Helly Hansen and after a few google searches about the technology behind its Oden Series (which the jacket was a part of) I discovered that the jacket technically was what I was after. Best to do a little research online about the product before you buy, you can even do this in store on your smart phone. Search for product reviews to make sure the product doesn’t have a history of problems and compare the price on Google marketplace to see if it is a bargain after all.
Try and not be picky with the colour as well, try new things because if its a massive discount and only the colour is putting you off, then that’s the wrong way of looking at the product as its still as advanced as the other jackets just not a great colour and that’s normally why its not sale. The colour of the jacket I was going for was not one I would normally choose, but looking at the saving, I can live with it.
As you can see, just for the colour alone, you’re saving €40! Its the exact same product with the exact same technical features. Black always stays in fashion so that’s why its premium, but for the sake of grabbing a bargain I can live with the Blue colour.
Another way to save is keep an eye out for buy one get one free deals which are very common in outdoor stores. Then, if your friend is also going travelling you can shop together and save even more. In my case as you can see from the image above, the deal was indeed buy one get one free, So a friend that was going travelling also purchased the same jacket and we both paid €30 each. Yes, that’s correct, €30 for a €129 jacket!
If you don’t happen to have any friends that are backpacking any time soon, you can always buy two and then sell one on Ebay, it would still save you money and you might end up with a free jacket all together if it sells well.
Sign up to mailing lists.
Normally, each country has a handful of outdoor companies or stores that are very popular, the bigger the company is, the more possibilities they will have a sale, by signing up to the mailing list you can keep an eye out for sales that come along and do some online research before you enter the store, at least you know what’s on sale and what’s not and can work out what you’re looking for more easily.
Advice from staff
The best part of the deal when buying in a sale is the excellent support and advice you can gather from the Outdoor store staff, they have most probably (very common) been doing a lot of hiking and travelling themselves and able to give you great advice on the products that they sell based on the training they get for each item, they can help you out with location climate advice as well as help you seek what you need. Normally, all good outdoor stores will have test facilities such as boulders you can walk on with boots or weights and measurements to make sure your bag fits perfectly before you walk out the store, you can’t pay for this advice on the internet but in store its free!
Use Discount cards
The last step is at the till, ask if you get any further discount for signing up to the stores, outdoor club which is normally free as its normally a basic detail form you fill in that allows you to contact you for other offers (Which of course is great as stated above). Also, if you’re a member of a club such as the Scout Association, Youth Hostel international, Student Association, Rambling/hiking club or Milatary or Police, inquire! The worst they will say is no, but Imagen if they say yes? Even more savings on top! It’s worth ago, you never know.
Final Bonus Tip: Travelling soon?
Did you know you can get Tax back when you shop in some countries? Why not do some research to pick up some of the gear when you reach the destination you’re travelling to? They might also be having a sale and you could save even bigger. For example, in the UK, Silk Bedding sheets are expensive, but in the USA I managed to pick one up a third of the price. You can even order online and have it delivered to the first hostel you will be staying at, simple!
There we go, you never have to pay top dollar for top of the range outdoor equipment that will last you a lifetime! Be Frugal, shop around, keep an eye out for deals, Don’t be ashamed to try out a new colour or last seasons gear and in return you can save yourself a large fortune that can be put towards your overall travel fund pot.