By Hailey Hirst
Having the right equipment for outdoor activities is important for safety and preparedness, but not only is new gear expensive, always buying new outdoor clothing and other goods is worse for the environment.
Embracing slow fashion and shopping used goods can significantly reduce these impacts. ThredUp reports that “Buying used extends a garment’s life by about two years, which cuts its combined carbon, waste and water footprint by 82%.” That feels significant, and all the pieces add up.
Geartrade also points out that “There’s a lot of money piled up in your gear room.” So if you have clothing or gear you seldom use—why not swap it in for something you need? These circular systems are so good for people and the planet.
Gearing up doesn’t have to mean spending a lot on brand new equipment. — photos by Tori Duhaime
Whether you’re looking to refresh some of the gear in your collection or get equipped to try a new outdoor activity this spring and summer, used gear and outdoor clothing is an amazing choice both to save money and reduce your environmental impact. But where to look?
Editor’s Note: Thanks to a commenter on Instagram, we’d like to acknowledge the limitations that can exist for plus-size people searching for used outdoor gear and apparel (the majority of the population here in the United States). Many outdoor retailers and wholesalers are still not selling and manufacturing gear even though a real need is there, which can make it more difficult for plus size people to benefit from the used gear market. That said, Jenny Bruso, founder of Unlikely Hikers, has written up a great guide on plus-size active wear (and is collaborating with Gregory Packs on a range of plus size backpacking packs!) – as you search through used markets like Poshmark, Thred-Up and the REI Gear Garage + Good & Used, you can filter for brands and sizes that might be a good fit for you. If you’re straight-size and reading this, check your favorite brand to see what sizes they carry. If they aren’t creating gear for plus-size folks, reach out and demand it. We’re all responsible for making the outdoors a welcoming place for all bodies to move through.
With clothes for women, men, kids & babies, plus packs & gear, Worn Wear is a great hub for finding worn, repaired, and recycled Patagonia garb. This gear is higher on the price point, but it’s built to last.
Similar to Patagonia’s model, REI has a system of gear recycling where you can trade in your own gently used gear and shop top brands in a large catalogue of used options.
Founded in 2009, ThredUp revolutionized online thrifting to address the massive issues of waste within the fashion industry. Predominantly dealing with clothing, they’ve nailed the system and have a massive catalogue of options. Shop, sell, and circulate.
You may be familiar with this one too, well known for clothing consignment. Poshmark has TONS of outdoor clothing and gear, including day packs and skis.
This one is a huge hub for all kinds of outdoor gear: ski, snowboard, hike, camp, climb, paddle, bike… it’s easy to buy, sell, use and wear things out.
This is a smaller marketplace based in Vermont, but they still have a pretty decent selection and a retail store if you’re able to shop locally.
You’ve probably already bought or sold things here before, like furniture. But don’t overlook it as a place to source outdoor items—especially gear.
There are so many niches of Instagram (hello Bookstagram, etc.) but if you haven’t yet discovered thrift, vintage, and secondhand clothing accounts, we encourage you to look here. These thrifters do the hard work of scouring shops and curating selections for us & sometimes offer bidding opportunities—which means chances to find great deals.
As always, local ski swaps and garage sales, along with facebook groups for your specific community, sports, or interests, all have great potential for finding clothing and equipment too.
Photos courtesy of Tori Duhaime
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