Get the gear to get out.
by David Tucker
Getting the right summer gear on the cheap isn’t always easy. But whether you’re in the market for a lighter fishing rod or a slick new tent, killer deals on good products do exist. Here are a few places to look.
Local Sales & Discounts
Our local retailers know what we want, what works in Montana, and they provide great service and support to boot. They’ll often display last year’s inventory on clearance, and for the most part, you won’t be getting shortchanged with year-old technology. And as the summer season eases toward fall, look for end-of-season sales as gear shops try to purge inventory. Expensive items such as mountain bikes can be up to 50% off, and you can still get a few months of riding in before the snow starts to fall. For a town-wide sale, add Summer Crazy Days to your calendar (July 22-24).
Don’t let the marketing gurus fool you—unless you’re climbing Everest or biking the Continental Divide, you don’t need the best and the newest. Let some other poor sap keep buying new gear every year, and swing by the second-hand stores in town and pick up what he discards. For gear, Second Wind Sports and Nu2u are great options, and thrift stores like the Salvation Army and Goodwill (with a new location in Belgrade) are dependable resources for affordable layers and smaller items. These are all good options for purging old gear as well, and you might even make some money doing so.
The myriad online options can be intimidating, but some are worth mentioning. Daily-deal sites such as the Clymb offer top brands at severe discounts anywhere up to a few days at a time, and eBay and Craigslist are useful if you’re willing to scroll through endless bad photos and misleading product descriptions.
Outdoor gear is expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Use these tips, and remember—it’s about the experience, not the gear. Have fun out there.