Fall is a great time to pick up deals on gear as outdoor shops transition from their summer stock to their winter selections. But don’t be fooled into just picking up the first tent that catches your eye on the clearance rack.
Too often, discounted gear ends up taking space in the garage next to the plastic Christmas tree and that drum set you told yourself you’d learn to play but never did.
Here are a few tips to choosing gear that will last a lifetime of good adventure.
Do some research:
Most gear companies explain their product specs on their website. Reading up on fabrics, insulating fills, and design features will make you more knowledgeable about your options. This will give you a better idea of what is available—including colors, sizing, fill density, and fabric choices. This info will help you make a more informed decision of what gear will work best for your needs. At Brooks-Range, our specs are found by scrolling down to the Description and clicking on the Specs tab.
Make Sure it Really Fits:
Whether you’re choosing clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, or shoes, try on your gear and make sure it fits you completely. Every little annoyance in the dressing room (e.g. too short of sleeves, riding up, too tight or loose, etc.) is going to annoy you one hundred times more when you’re taking it in the backcountry—especially if it is a piece of gear your life may depend on, like a jacket to keep you warm in sub-zero temps. It’s worth paying a little extra for gear that is comfortable and built for your frame.
Check for Quality
A lot of the stuff on the sale rack makes it there for a reason. Check for stitching on clothing, packs, and tents to make sure there is nothing loose and no snags in the fabric. Consider how sturdy buckles, toggles, and other “hardware” look. Check the zipper.
At Brooks-Range, we avoid stitching and fabric problems altogether by using tight, straight seams that are double-stitched, over-lock stitched, or bar-tacked at high stress zones. Brooks-Range uses the highest thread count available of the lightest fabrics, minimizing the chance for snags or tears. For outdoor enthusiasts, investing in quality is key because the last thing you want is your pack busting open when you are miles from the road and 1,000 feet up a climb.
Consider Your Needs Relative to the Other Gear You Own
If you’re thinking about buying a backpack, before you go to the store, figure out how much and what gear is going in your pack and then buy the backpack—not the other way around. Knowing about how much space your gear will take up in a pack ensures you don’t end up carrying a pack that’s way too big. A half-empty pack won’t support your load well and can encourage you to jam in extra items you don’t really need (like the kitchen sink). Assessing your current gear and finding out your gear capacity beforehand also prevents you from buying a pack that is too small to fit all your gear. Don’t just consider the volume of your gear, but its weight, too.
If you’re like most people, you need more than just 2 minutes in the store to decide whether your gear will fit in a pack. If you don’t want to be stuck with the bad fit you brought home, look for gear that has a good return policy, like Brooks-Range No Hassle Guarantee. That dodges being out of luck if you change your mind on the drive home.
Wait for the Good Stuff
When the equipment you’re seeing on the sale rack isn’t 100% perfect for you and your needs, hold out for your dream piece of gear. If a certain store doesn’t have your size or color, ask if they have one in stock or at their sister store across town. Keep this in mind: You’re going to enjoy one high end piece of gear and get a lot more use out of it than three lower end pieces of gear. Holding out for the right one is worth it.
Now that you are armed with the tricks for making the best of a seasonal deal, check out Brooks-Range Closeout section to find the clothing, survival tools, and even ski accessories for sale at more than 50% off!