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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

How to Buy (and Sell) Used Gear

Save and make money with these tips from experts at the country's best secondhand gear shops.

by: Kristy Holland

Use our online database, GearFinder, to search more than 5,000 products for the perfect pack, tent, bag, boots, stove, and more. Sort by price, link to reviews, and instantly see the best deals on the web. Go to

Second Ascent
Seattle, WA

“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.” “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.”
Next Adventure Portland, OR “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.”
“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.”
Switchback Gear Exchange Marquette, MI “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.” “Keep an eye on the weather. 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.”
*See more results of our best-used-gear-store survey at

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