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How to get quality gear for less.

Submitted by maculated on 2004-02-15

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I want to start this off by giving you a good argument for paying full price: the local shops you've got around you need to stay in business. They most likely support your community of climbers, ARE your community of climbers, and they often provide invaluable advice when you need it. It's a place to try stuff out, on, or what have you . . .

BUT, sometimes you just can't afford a $70 cam, but you really need it, right? Or that windshirt you've been eyeing is just too costly for your needs?

Well . . . there's some surefire ways to get what you want, and with a little effort, you'll save some money.

Climbing Gear

Climbing gear is kind of tricky to get cheap. If you're looking for top of the line stuff, you'll usually pay the same price across the board for it. But, even then, you can find ways to get stuff cheaper.

There are a number of cheaper websites out there that are great to check on periodically for deals.

Some of these include: Bittersweet Gear, Gear Express - a liquidator of blemishes and over stocks, Overstock, Sierra Trading Post, and REI Outlet.

Keep an eye out for great deals, too. Many times some of the better websites will have sales: Backcountry Store and AlTrec.

Another option is to buy stuff out of the country. This of course precludes problems such as exchange rates and customs costs, but when I bought my first set of cams and shoes, it was worth it for a $15 fee.

A good website to check out if the Euro ever falls again: Barrabes.

Also check on Canadian and Australian stores. All of these are great buys if you can swing it.

Soft Goods

Getting clothing for cheap is way easier than gear. The same sites you'd find gear at, you'll find discounted clothing. In addition, if you buy stuff out of season, you're always guaranteed a deal.

This is a great time to patronize your local shops, too, they'll be liquidating as well. Look for sample sales by reps based in your area, oftentimes you can get stuff for below cost this way.


Ebay is also another great place to get stuff. Word to the wise, though...figure in shipping when you bid. A brand new cam for $40 might be good but when the shipping is $12, not so much any more, is it?

Be careful about purchasing any used gear. Know its history, and be prepared to look it over upon arrival with an educated eye. Flaws are bad and not worth saving money.


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