Shop Smart: Smart Gear-Buying Habits

Four handy tips for getting the most for your money.

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» Don’t splurge. Shop with a list of equipment needs in-hand to focus your spending and avoid impulse buys. Prioritize backpacking essentials (like a tent and sleep system) and key upgrades (like an ultralight pack).

» Avoid last-minute buys. Plan ahead to take advantage of discounts. Wait for close-out sales, clip coupons, search online for promo codes, and take advantage of incentives like free shipping, discounts for big spenders, or membership deals.

» Stock up. When retail price is discounted by 50 percent or more, snap up your favorite high-wear pieces like trail shoes, socks, and baselayers. But be cautious about hoarding new/untested styles or off-season gear for fast-growing kids, who may outgrow shoes, for example, before they can wear them out.

» Shop off-season. Look for clearance winter gear starting in late January, and summer equipment close-outs starting in mid-July. Check stores’ and manufacturers’ websites.