A good gear setup/collection is not the result of one trip to MEC (unless you have WAY more money than me…), its not even the result of one season. It is the result of years of ‘collecting’ or buying things as you need them. To any adventurer, their assortment of gear represents a huge investment.
Good quality gear, from boots to clothes to packs or tents, will have a bigger price tag than the poorly made comparison products, but splurging for the quality product is almost always worth it. The good stuff will last you for years, if not a lifetime, of adventuring.
But that being said, there are ways to get gear for less; you can cross your fingers and wait for sales, or you can learn the art of thrift-store shopping for gear. Good gear never dies, it just goes on to a new home.
Some of my best childhood memories are of perusing thrift shops and yard sales with my parents. My dad was always on the hunt for tools or bike and car parts. My mom loves antiques and a great deal. From my parents, I learned how to judge the quality of something. My mom can feel fabric and glance at stitching and tell you how well made something is. That skill is essential when it comes to buying gear second-hand.
I have come across some pretty awesome stuff gear-wise in thriftshops or yardsales; my first ever hiking pack (an aluminum external frame/canvas pack for my first ever backcountry camping trip in grade 10) came from a thrift shop and my whitewater kayak was bought at a yardsale.
The ‘Frugal Gear Junkie’ is going to be a series of posts that highlights the do’s and don’ts of buying used gear and showing some of my (and your!) best gear finds. I want to see the gear finds that you have made! You can message me your photos or tell me about your experiences gear shopping for a chance to be featured.
I love new gear as much as the next person, but I also really enjoy the challenge and excitement of thrift shopping. You never know what you are going to find and there are some real treasures out there!