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Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, all hikers know that gear is incredibly important. But with so many options out there, where does one begin? If it’s time to find a new pair of boots or a replacement backpack, take a look at this guide. Buying hiking gear online doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Be Aware of Your Needs
It’s necessary to think about your needs as you shop for apparel. There are hundreds of different online brands — so in this case, one size doesn’t fit all. For instance, consider the weather in your area and where you plan to hike. A light windbreaker isn’t so useful when you’re on a mountain in Alaska. Search terms like “best men’s coats for hiking in winter” to find more suitable options.
Many popular retail stores, like REI and Backcountry, compile lists of gear based on specific variables. Feel free to peruse those ideas, but don’t make a concrete decision until you read reviews. Sometimes companies will pay writers to promote their products.
Don’t Stick to a Single Brand
Maybe you’re a Patagonia fanatic or you remain loyal to Columbia. You can definitely stick to those companies if you want. But try to remember that some brands make certain pieces better than others. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on an item, look for comparable versions elsewhere. Look at gear side-by-side to choose the best option.
On a similar note, some hikers like to promote specific items. Keep in mind that just because a hat is popular doesn’t mean it’s quality-made. Again, it’s essential to check out a variety of suppliers before you make a purchase.
Think Outside of the Box
As you search for other brands, you’ll also want to take a look at different websites. This way, you can save a little money. You probably already know about Amazon and Walmart, but there are a ton of other shops that sell fantastic gear. Look for the product you want to buy on each website and compare prices.
To get even more of a bang for your buck, check Craigslist and Facebook Market. People often sell or give away gently-used gear. Remember that you probably won’t be able to get everything at these places, but you may score a deal or two. You can also check with friends or family to see if they have items.
Try to think outside of the box so that you can shop from a more comprehensive selection of items.
Check the Fine Print
Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online suppliers tend to have tricky policies. Before you check out, make sure that you understand the fine print. Can you return the item? When will the gear ship? These questions should be in the back of your mind as you browse. If you have a hike planned, you’ll want to know if your gear can make it on time.
Look at the reviews and see what shoppers have said about the size. Since you can’t try on the item in person, it’s important to get a general idea of how it will look. Consult different guides to find the perfect fit for your body. Overall, make sure that you understand the product thoroughly.
Ask for Opinions
An essential tip to remember is that you should ask around for other opinions. Leave a question on a related forum about a particular type of gear. Talk to friends and family about what they suggest. You can even inquire directly on a retailer’s website — many now have live chat systems. When in doubt, personal recommendations can put you on the right path.
Use These Tips to Find the Best Gear on the Web
You can use these tricks to find the best hiking gear on the internet! You’ll be more than ready to hit the trail or tackle whatever other challenge awaits you out there.