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SECONDHAND FUN: WHERE TO FIND THE BEST USED OUTDOOR GEAR

by Lauren Nelson on May 11, 2016

“Kayak has been used two times.”
“11′ paddleboard, never used. Original cost $1010, selling for $699.”
“Hyperlite wakeboard, used once.”

Are you the type of gear buyer that has a treadmill in the corner of your basement collecting clothing or dust? Or maybe you bought a kayak that has only seen the water a handful of times? Don’t fret- you’re not alone. In a 2009 Consumer Reports survey, found that nearly 40% of surveyed people said they did not use their newly bought gear as often as they expected to. But we aren’t here to make you feel guilty about buying new gear, we’re here to show you that buying used gear is a great option! Most used gear is lightly used and affordable, perfect if you’re new to a sport and don’t want to fork over big bucks just yet. And-bonus!- used gear purchases keep some of those treadmill/clothing racks out of the landfill.

OUTDOOR GEAR YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY USED

  • Helmets: Look, you only get one brain. So it makes sense to invest in the best possible protection for it. Helmets have a shelf life of five years, max, and once they take a hit, they should be replaced.
  • Wetsuits: Wetsuits take a lot of abuse from sun, salt and stretching. Unless you know for sure that a wetsuit has never been used, or used only a few times, buy it new.
  • Climbing gear: When you’re trusting your life to ropes and harnesses, it’s important to know they’re in top condition. Used climbing gear may be outdated, frayed or just worn out.
  • Shoes: Shoes are the most important element of your gear, because they make the most contact with your environment, whether rocky trails or salty waves. Don’t compromise that connection by buying used shoes. Invest in high-quality Cudas water shoes for paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking or any water sport.

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST USED OUTDOOR GEAR

Play it Again Sports is probably the best-known chain that sells used outdoor gear, with around 300 locations in the United States. The pros: Most stores have a big selection of gear for all kinds of sports, and they closely inspect equipment before offering it for sale. The cons: While you can find items for 40 to 60 percent of their original retail price, the deals aren’t as good compared to buying directly from sellers.

For buying used gear online, we like GearTrade, a site based in Park City, Utah that’s owned by a group of skiers, mountain bikers and snowboarders. GearTrade has a few useful features, like condition ratings and estimated savings off retail. And if you find a large item you really want, you can save hundreds even after paying for shipping. We browsed a few kayaks and found they shipped for around $100-$150. Some sellers even offer free shipping.

If you’d rather make a deal in person, there’s always Craigslist. Or, check out these apps that are designed to connect people with local sellers. Please be safe when meeting people you don’t know, always meet in a well lit and busy public place and bring someone with you.

  • Wallapop helps you find specific items for sale close to your location, in a format that’s much more visual than Craigslist. It lets you chat with sellers, too.
  • Letgo is similar to Wallapop in that it lets you search in a specified geographic radius. It’s not yet going strong in every city, however; searching for a kayak near Washington, D.C. turned up no results.
  • Carousell is a social selling app that lets you buy and sell with friends and people of similar interests
  • lose5 specializes in home goods and clothing, but you may also find some good deals on outdoor gear.

TIPS FOR BUYING USED OUTDOOR GEAR FROM PRIVATE SELLERS

Some people love and coddle their gear. Some people treat their stuff like trash. When you’re considering a purchase from a private seller, ask:

  • Where it was stored (sun and salt water are the enemies)
  • When it was purchased
  • How and how often it was used
  • If it has ever been repaired
  • If there’s an original receipt/warranty for it

Also, do your research ahead of time. Know how much a comparable new model costs, and know the exact size and style you need. If it’s everything you’re looking for, shake on it! Then strap on your Cudas water shoes and get to paddleboarding, canoeing or kayaking. Happy summer!

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