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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

America's Best Used Gear Stores

We tallied your votes: These are the country's top 10* gear stores. (And tips for getting the most bang for your buck when you visit.)

by: Kristy Holland

1) Second Ascent; Seattle, WA 

Next Adventure; Portland, OR 

Switchback Gear Exchange; Marquette, MI

Mountain Equipment Recyclers Inc.; Colorado Springs, CO

Second Gear; Asheville, NC

The Gear Revival; Atlanta, GA

Wilderness Exchange Unlimited; Denver, CO

International Mountain Equipment; North Conway, NH

Old Goat Gear Exchange; Ithaca, NY

Outdoor Gear Exchange; Burlington, VT

Runners Up:
Second Wind Sports Inc.; Bozeman, MT; 
Headwall Recycle Sports; Jackson, WY
Repeat Performance; Bend OR
Seasoned Outdoor Exchange; Boulder, CO
Backcountry Essentials; Bellingham, WA

Find the best bargains:

>> “Good deals on new gear happen at season’s end [see left],” says Second Ascent owner Greg Shaw. “But with used gear, it’s the opposite; you’ll find the best summer gear in May, and skis in September.”

>> “Our inventory changes constantly,” says Deek Heykamp, co-owner of Next Adventure. “Come in often to browse, know what you need, and be creative in your search for trail-worthy functionality.” 

>> “Understand how the margins work at your local used gear shop,” suggests Switchback co-owner Doug Campbell. “You may be able to bargain for 20% off of items that they’ve had longer than a month.”

Get a good price for used gear:

>> “High-end equipment holds value; if you invest in a good pack and take care of it, you could make decent money selling it four years later. Pricey apparel, on the other hand, doesn’t have much resale value,” says Shaw.

>> “Bring your gear in clean. Spend 20 minutes with it—emptying the pockets, scrubbing off the mud, getting rid of any funk with a product like MiraZyme []—and you’ll increase its resale value,” advises Next Adventure's Heykamp.

>> “Keep an eye on the weather," suggests Switchback's Campbell. "If there’s a warm spell in early March, you may sell your summer gear for a great return. If there’s no snow in December, it might not be the best year to consign a pair of skis.”

*According to a February 2013 online reader survey. Have another to add? Comment below.

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