Outdoor Equipment Retailers
Part of Recommended Outdoor Gear by Mark
Discount / Closeout Deals:
"Big Box" e-tailers
- REI: Goliath
retailer, also sells their own brand. Well done web site. The best return policy
I have experienced.
Dividend at the end of the year for co-op members. REI is the first place I look when
I need information about a particular item. The only downside is that many of
the part time sales associates are not that experienced in the outdoors.
Most stores have a few people are serious outdoors folks. (REI
- MEC: Canada's equiv of REI..
I think MEC designs are better than REI. Often a good
value, especially when the dollar is strong
- Campmor: tend to have some of the
best retail prices and a wide selection of items. They
almost always have a nice selection of decent second tier manufacturers at
decent discounts. In house brand items aren't great, but some are a
AltRec: Very well
run internet site. The backend for number outdoor clubs. Often has free shipping.
Reasonable selection. Owner reviews. Easy navigation and lists
technical specifications. Free shipping for orders over $50.
Eclectic collection of gear with lots of good pictures. Almost as good
as seeing items in person if you are looking at tents. (was backcountry-equipment.com).
I think their pictures are a great service to the online shopper. I
encourage people to give them business as a way to say thank you.
ProLiteGEAR: Bozmann retailer which has a lot of ultra-light
clue. They reliability report weight of items.
- Only the Lightest: A
nice selection of ultralight gear. They reliability report weight of items
backpackinglight.com: Expensive, well design items. They reliability
report weight of items
- Outdoor Kids' Source
& Upside Over: clothing and gear
focused on kids.
- Down Works, 222 River St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060,
Nick and Shelley are great. They own the store and have been running it
for years. The store is small, but everything they carry has been
carefully selected. The best store in greater bay area for ultra-light
or light-weight packers. They will do custom sewing work and have great
relationships with a number of companies. For example they seem to be one of
the first in line for new products from Western Mountaineering and know the
founders of a number of companies like Osprey. Packs: Granite Gear, ULA, Osprey, Montbell, GoLite,
and ArcTeryx. Sleeping bags: Western
Mountaineering, North Face, DownWorks brand. Clothing: Montane, Montbell,
Mountain Hardware, ArcTeryx, Black Diamond, Westcomb, and Integral Designs.
- Patagonia Santa Cruz, 415 River St. #C, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, 831-423-1776
An outlet store with a minimum of 30% discounts,
and an additional 40-50% saving around Memorial Day and Labor Day. A
up the street from Down Works
- Sunrise Mountain Sports, 2455 Railroad Ave,
Livermore, CA 94550, 925-447-8330
Good selection of a wide variety of manufacturers. Family owned and has
knowledgeable staff, especially when it comes to climbing and alpine.
- Marmot Mountain Works, 3049 Adeline St,
Berkeley CA 94703, 510-849-0735.
Decent selection of a variety of manufacturers.
Trading Post, 1305 El Camino Real,
Redwood City, CA 94063, 650-363-2033
Mix of outdoor activities and survival gear. Nice, family owned place.
Carlos 650-508-2330 /
Berkeley 510-527-4140 /
Large stores with great return
policy. Doesn't stock a lot of ultra-light gear. Berkeley store
seems to have a better selection of items for
light weight backpackers.
95 Linden St. Suite 8, Oakland, CA 94607
Near Jack London Square. Unusual lightweight and high-tech
Zombie Runner, California Ave, Palo
Alto (coming soon). Running shop which carries Inov-8's shoes and other
products for extreme runners.
Other Parts of the Country
- Wilson's Eastside Sports: 224
North Main Street, Bishop, CA, 760-873-7520
Knowledgeable staff. Good mix of manufacturers. If you are in
Bishop, also stop in Mountain
Light which is down the street just a block or so.
- Pro Mountain Sports:
5625 University Way NE, Seattle, WA, 206-522-1627
Very small stock which is exclusively ultralight. Owner has a lot of ultra-light
packing and climbing clue. Gives 10% of MSRP to compete with REI.
- Feathered Friends: 119 Yale
Avenue N, Seattle, Washington, 98109, 206-292-2210
Known for their down gear, also runs a small but well stocked retail store
with knowledgeable staff. Across the street from the Flagship REI.
The Outfitter at Harper's
Ferry: 180 High St, Harpers Ferry WV, 304-535-2087
Knowledgeable staff with a lot of experience serving folks on the AT.
America Boulder: 1147 Pearl Street Boulder, CO, 303-449-5331,
Retail store for MontBell USA.
Companies I Don't Use Normally
Mountain Gear: Nice
catalog with interesting selection. I stopped ordering items from them
because they don't indicate what is out of stock and can be quite slow in
notifying customers that an item is back ordered and will take time to
Hermit's Hut: Post advertisements offering "great sales" on user contributed
forums when the prices are just slightly less than MSRP. I call this