Where and How to Sell Used Outdoor Gear
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So many of us have a bunch of outdoor gear cluttering our closets and spilling out of our garages. If you’re like me, you still use a lot of it, but there’s a bunch of stuff hanging around that’s older, no longer fits, or that you just don’t need anymore. But what do you do with all this gear? Sell it! Someone out there would love to have your old stuff and you could use the cash to get different equipment or fund a new activity. I’ll tell you where and how to sell used outdoor gear, how to determine a fair value and what you can do to get the best price. Read on to learn more!
Where to Sell Used Outdoor Gear
There are many places to sell used outdoor gear. These can range from local gear swaps to online market places. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites. Hopefully, you’ll find one that works for you.
Local Gear Swaps
Local gear swaps are a fantastic way to buy and sell used gear and they are a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts in your area. Some are online forums where you can interact with potential buyers and sellers around you through a website, while others are actual physical events near you. Given the number of groups and options, there’s likely to be something within an easy drive. You can find them through Facebook, REI and even Craigslist.
One way to find these swaps is through Facebook. Just search for “gear swap” from your account. You’ll see several categories appear on that page. The best ones to look at are: Groups, Posts, Pages and Events.
The Groups category typically hosts different online communities dedicated to buying, selling and trading equipment. Most of these are made up of members relatively local to your area. The benefit these groups offer is a year-round venue for all your swapping activities. Be prepared to request access, as many communities screen membership to ensure everyone meets certain criteria. If you don’t find a group near you, try starting your own. It’s pretty easy.
- In Facebook, click the little arrow in the upper-right corner and select “Create Group.”
- Enter the name of your group
- Add some of your friends, if you like
- Select “Closed Group” so you can control access and keep out spammers
- Click Create
The other categories, Posts, Pages and Events, typically promote specific, scheduled live events. These are great opportunities to meet up with fellow enthusiasts, trade stories and swap gear. Some are free and others charge an entry fee for sellers and/or buyers. Each one will be different.
Another excellent option is REI. They host lots of member gear swaps throughout the year, all over the US. It’s free for buyers and $20 for sellers (entry fees go to charity). They have food, games and prizes too. It’s a great way to sell your gear and meet fellow enthusiasts. Plus, attendees generally know the value of good stuff and expect to pay a fair price.
One other option to consider is Craigslist. Yes, we all use it to buy and sell gear, but did you know you can also find local gear swaps? Do a search in the Community and Events sections. Often, you’ll find a local live event right in your area. You might also consider organizing your own.
Online Market Places
Sometimes, the widest reach comes from online marketplaces. You get broad exposure to a range of enthusiasts who can shop any time of the day, any day of the year. Some platforms are focused on local markets while others are nation- or worldwide. I find local markets often yield higher prices but the audience is more limited and it may take a bit longer to sell an item. The larger markets, on the other hand, have vast audiences and items tend to sell a bit faster. However, there is more competition, so prices tend to be a bit lower and you have to consider the logistics and cost of shipping. Either way, one of these venues may be best for you. These are several I use.
Craigslist is still a great way to buy and sell used gear. I use it regularly for larger items that would be too difficult and expensive to ship. It generally takes a bit longer to sell something, as you have to wait for the right buyer who recognizes the value of specialized gear and is willing to pay for it. However, I’ve had great luck selling nearly everything I’ve posted for the price I wanted.
This is a wonderful platform for extremely broad exposure. With eBay, you can sell your gear within your country or all over the world. This expands your audience tremendously. However, you have to consider shipping. Some items will be a lot more expensive and difficult to ship than others. Overall, it’s a suitable platform for most apparel, footwear and smaller hardware items.
Gear Trade is an online sales platform specializing in outdoor and travel gear. You can post nearly anything adventure-related on here and it’s free. Unlike eBay, it’s not an auction site. You control pricing and it even has the option to automatically decrease your price over time to attract more interest. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this one right now.
OfferUp is another option for selling used gear locally. It’s not my favorite platform, as many of the users will attempt ridiculously low offers. You can check the “firm” box next to your price, which reduces some of that. However, if you want to sell something quickly and you’re flexible on the price, it’s worth a shot.
How to Sell Used Outdoor Gear
Now that you have an idea of where to sell you old stuff, let’s look at how to sell used outdoor gear. The first step is determining the value.
Determining the Value of your Used Gear
Part of the selling process is determining the value of your used gear. There are several ways to go about it, but I’ll give you some that work for me.
Use eBay's Completed Listings
First, I like to look on eBay to see how much similar items sell for. You just do a search for your item. Then, scroll down and check the box next to “Completed Items” on the left-hand side. This will filter out and show only completed auctions. If the price is in green, it means the item sold for that much. It will also tell you how many bids it received, which might indicate interest. Now, it doesn’t mean you have to sell through the platform, but it will give you an indication of the going rate. If you intend to sell locally and to an audience who understands the value of the product, you often can fetch a higher price. Be sure to consider overall condition in your assessment.
Other Value Resources
If I don’t find many comparable items on eBay, I’ll look at some of the online listing platforms like Craigslist and OfferUp. With these, it’s important to remember the listing price does not mean the item will sell for that much; but if you see many similar things listed around the same price, it’s a good indication of the acceptable price range. Again, consider the condition of your item relative to others for sale.
Getting the Best Price for Your Gear
There a few ways to help you get the best price for your used gear. If you do these simple things, you have a better chance of selling you stuff faster and at a higher price.
Consider the Season
If your item is mostly used in a specific season, it’s best to sell it shortly before the season begins. For example, try to sell skis in late fall and tents in late spring. The only real exception to this is Christmas time in the US. Sometimes, out-of-season items will sell in December, as people want to by gifts. Just don’t count on it.
Repair Any Damage
Even though you might not think something is a big deal to fix, buyers don’t want the hassle. Plus, they may not be able to see past the problem. Therefore, perceived value plummets considerably. Take the time to repair anything you can yourself. If it’s something that requires special skills, consider sending it in to the manufacturer. In some cases, many offer excellent warranties. Others offer repairs (think rips and broken zippers) for a very reasonable price. We will go into greater detail in an upcoming article, Organizing Travel and Adventure Gear. So, stay tuned for that one!
Clean it Well
This is a very important, yet often overlooked step. Cleaning up your stuff indicates you care about it. Potential buyers can more easily imagine themselves using it and making it their own. Often, this is as simple as scrubbing down a kayak with soap and water or tossing a jacket through a washer cycle. Be sure to read and adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods. This will ensure your gear is in top condition for the sale.
Take Great Pictures
If you’re selling your items through any of the online channels, be sure to take great pictures. As potential buyers can’t see your stuff in person, this is the next best thing. Pictures can entice or deter interest. Give yourself the best chance possible and provide fantastic shots.
As for format, it’s nearly always best to isolate items on a plain white background, if possible. That just means putting a white sheet or piece of paper behind them when you take the picture. With larger items, it might be appropriate to shoot them in their intended use (like a kayak in water or a tent set up in the backyard). Whatever you do, pull them out of your cluttered garage and limit as many visual distractions in the image as possible. If you lack the skill or equipment, ask a friend. With today’s high-end phones, someone you know is bound to have a decent camera.
One other thing to consider is light. Properly lighting your gear is essential for a good picture. For indoor shots, I like to use natural light, if possible. All you have to do is put the item next to a window during the day (cloudier days are better). The next best thing is a fluorescent lamp. I like to put it just above and to the side of the item, shining on the front and top faces. For outdoor shots, avoid direct sunlight, if possible. It casts harsh shadows and can show all the imperfections that normally aren’t visible. Just wait for some cloud cover and it will soften the light enough for a good image.
Write Descriptive Ads
Again, selling online takes a little more work on the front end, but it pays off. Your ad copy should be descriptive and enticing, but not deceptive. For example, which one of these sounds more appealing?
Ad 1: Two person Big Agnes Fly Creek tent for sale. $200
Ad 2: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 ultralight backpacker’s three season tent. Sleeps two people, but weighs less than 2 lbs! Comes with the tent, poles, stakes, rain fly, ground sheet and stuff sacks. In great condition, spotlessly clean and everything works as new. Ready to go on your next adventure. Asking only $200.
Hopefully, you agree the second ad catches more attention. While anyone could find all the details for this model based on the information in the first ad, it requires a potential buyer to do a lot more work, which decreases the size of the audience. Well-informed buyers might see this as a good opportunity to talk you down, especially if it’s been listed for awhile. Conversely, the second ad highlights the important features and describes the condition as well as everything included with the sale. Even if your audience is less informed, it gives them enough information to see the value. You also tend to get more serious inquiries, ready to buy.
Finally, avoid any deception and disclose any problems – even if minor. This is most important when selling items on platforms where the user will not see the item before they receive it (like eBay). I find it best to point out any imperfections in the ad and to take pictures of them in the interest of full disclosure. Buyers appreciate this and generally look past things like blemishes or fine scratches. In any case, make it regular practice to be honest in your ads.
Using these simple techniques, your outdoor gear should sell faster and for more money. By selecting the right arena, doing a little price research, cleaning and fixing your gear, taking great pictures, writing good ads and being honest, you ensure the highest return while making the next owner very happy. It also frees up space and gives you extra cash for future activities. So, start dreaming about your next adventure!
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.