How I Saved Hundreds on My AT Thru-Hike Gear List
As a brand new blogger for The Trek, I was so excited to use the gear list feature. I know I’ve spent many hours this past year diving into any and all AT gear lists I could get my hands on. Now I love that I will finally be able to put mine out there, which you’ll see below. One thing that stuck out to me was that the gear list populated all of the original prices for the items I have and it made me realize.. I saved a LOT of money. Take a look at the top three ways I saved hundreds on my gear.
Buy Used Gear
Buying gently used gear was the number one way I saved a ton of money. While there are a few different ways to buy used, my favorite was through REI Co-op Good & Used. All of my used gear arrived in great condition at a highly discounted price. Some of the things I bought used include my sleeping pad, rain jacket, pillow, and down jacket. On these four items alone, I saved at least $400! The rest of my hiking team also bought some items used as well and saved a ton.
Plan Ahead for Sales and Promotions
Being able to take my time buying gear and looking ahead for deals was definitely a huge financial benefit. I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in late 2019, giving me over a year to collect my gear. This was crucial for me as I was starting from scratch and had to purchase all the necessary gear. The main sales I took advantage of was with the REI Co-op holiday promotions. They always send out a catalog prior to the sale so I was able to decide which items I needed and be prepared to make those purchases. I bought my tent and sleeping bag at 30% off along with a ton of other sale items for the 2020 4th of July Sale. I also utilized the Black Friday Amazon deals to get a lot of odds and ends up to half off. Just in sales and utilizing coupons, I saved at least $200 on gear.
Become an REI Co-op Member
I am sure that most reading this are already well aware of the REI membership, but I will go on for those who aren’t familiar. For only $20, you can become a lifetime member of REI Co-op. As a member, you get a dividend return of all full-priced items you purchase. This was a great incentive for me to buy an item there when I couldn’t find it on sale. I knew I would at least get my 10% back. Buying used and shopping sales are my preferred method, but being a member still has awesome benefits to save you money.
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