Exploring the backcountry is a great way to keep adventures inexpensive, however, getting all the gear and paying for all the permits needed can get pricey. Those who like to get outdoors often are usually the same kind of people who like to keep their lifestyle minimal, in order to get out as often and as easily as possible. Though, no matter what kind of person you are, those who can save a buck where they can on gear and parks would surely be happy to do so. Before you splurge, learn about how to find great hiking deals.
Hunt the Clearance Rack
Why buy an item at full price when you can pretty much get the same thing for at least half of the original? My first instinct when I hit the local outdoor store is to head immediately to the clearance rack. You’ll be surprised what kind of hiking deals you can find there. This also goes for online stores, where you can easily search for the clearance section and shop from there. Don’t forget about outlet sites that sell popular gear at great prices, like TheClymb and SteepandCheap.
Ask for Discounts
It might seem ridiculous, but don’t ever buy something without first asking if there’s some kind of discount available. Some stores offer discounts for first-time shoppers, or they have coupons available that you may not have seen. Some give discounts if you use a certain credit card to pay, if you’re a senior citizen, if you’re a student, or if you’re a group leader for a hiking squad. Heck, some even give them for your birthday! Whether or not you get lucky with this, there’s no harm in asking first!
Look Out for Special Sales
Many outdoor gear companies, like REI for example, offer 20% off your purchase. Some of these outdoor stores, in addition to sometimes offering a percentage off your purchase, have sales going on throughout the year. These sales could be for anything from Mother’s Day, to Christmas, to the winter hiking season.
Many backpacking stores offer point systems. Not all are the same, but generally they involve getting discounts every time you accrue a certain amount of points or spend a certain amount of money. These points can help you save a lot on gear in the long run, especially if you loan your point card to a friend or family member! 😉
New companies need to provide incentives to gain more customers. Some do this by offering free samples of certain products. While I wouldn’t expect to get a new backpack or tent for free, some might offer little gadgets, items, or supplies you can use while on the trail.
Friends, Family, and Facebook Groups
Lots of times, friends and family get rid of hiking gear they no longer want or need, and most of the time it’s still in very good condition. Next time someone says they are doing their spring cleaning or they’re downsizing before they move to a new house, gladly offer to help. What they want to get off their hands might be precisely what you’re trying to get your hands on. You can also opt to swap or share gear. Additionally, utilize online hiking groups on platforms like Facebook, where you can meet people and hopefully score some gear!
Buy out of Season
No one actually enjoys doing this, because the thought of trying on a winter jacket when it’s 90 degrees outside is a little inconceivable. That being said, if you have a little patience, buying gear out of season is an excellent way to take advantage of great hiking deals.
Now that you’ve got the gear, you need to get to the park. Before you even arrive there, find ways to save on transportation. Carpool with other hiking buddies, find a bus ticket way in advance, and search for cheap flight tickets on Skyscanner. Visit parks during special times, like National Park Week, when all the parks are free. Also, if you have child in 4th grade, take advantage of #everykidinapark.
Before you buy anything online, do a quick Google search of the website and write “promo code” at the end. While it doesn’t always work out, it’s worth a try. Also, check websites like Groupon to see if there are any deals available. Additionally, start up companies like to offer promotions to help make sales, providing promo codes for new customers and their friends. Right now, you can take advantage of something like this at RapidHammock, where if you buy a hammock, they’ll provide you with a 20% off discount code to give to your friends!
Before you spend too much, make sure you search out ways to save money and score on great hiking deals!