New Year, New Gear

Shalom friends! Happy New Year to you all!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy time ringing in the New Year. I had a very distracted one because I could not stop thinking of the REI garage sale I would be going to the following weekend. Well the sale did not disappoint!

For those unfamiliar with the great fun of REI garage sales, and REI in general, let me fill you in. REI is a national outdoor retail co-op that hosts a variety of events to engage the communities around them to learn about nature and enjoy the outdoors. One such event is a Members-Only Garage Sale where you get 15 minutes to go through all the great stuff that has been returned in the past couple months and then purchase it at a discounted price. I planned to be the first one there to get the pick of the litter!

Mama Needs New Gear

The gear sale was slatted to begin at 10:00 am, I wanted to arrive by 6:30 am in order to assure my golden ticket in. I ended up getting there at around 7:00, hoping I would be at the very least in the first ten people lined up. I was the 31st person, landing me and my crew in the second wave to enter the sale room. I brought along a good friend of mine who was planning on doing a section of the hike with me and his dad. As we hunkered down to wait the 3 hours until the store actually opened we talked gear and past hikes.

That’s The Ticket! 

Finally the REI salesman came around to pass out the tickets and make sure everyone knew the rules of the sale. While we didn’t get the golden ticket I wanted, we got the next best. Even though we still had 20 minutes before our wave went it, we bee-lined it to the back of the store where we would enter the warehouse. Due to the overstock of returned items this time, the shoes were outside of the warehouse and up for grabs from the get-go. Like a hungry pack of dogs, we descended upon the goods. Ten minutes later I made my way to the line for the warehouse, my arms loaded with 3 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of sandals and 3 pairs of toe-shoes. The toe shoes I tossed to my buddy and we plopped down to try on our new digs. After trying them on we each came up with a new pair. My buddy’s dad offered to hold our goods while we went it and slung my new boots around his neck, he always wanted a scarf with good sole. I tossed the rejects back onto the table from which they came and went back to the line. My friend and his dad were having a heated pun battle that was thankfully cut short when we were called to attention and reminded of the rules for the sale.

Rules and Regulations:

We had 15 minutes to grab as much used gear as we wanted, we were warned to pay attention to the tags on the gear because they had the price and reason for return. The gear inside could be in any condition from lightly used floor samples to beaten down, ripped up gear. You can take out as many items as you want but you can only purchase 5 items. My game plan was to go in, have my buddy’s dad find all he sleeping bags he could find, my buddy all the rain gear and me anything else I could find. Dashing around, I stuffed as much shoes, clothes, gadgets and gear as I could fit into my basket. Suddenly, as quick as we had ran in, we were ushered out.

Now comes the good part, going over the gear. Half an hour later, we had gone over every seam, analyzed all the info against the number of stains and picked out what we were going to get. Here’s my haul:

My Haul:

Cocoon Hyperlight Air-Core Travel Pillow

Reason For Being Returned: “Leaks air”

Weight: 2.4oz

Cost: Original – $29.95        Discounted – $9.83

Examining this pillow for any holes, we found none and after letting it sit under a heavy box for a half an hour, we assumed the original owner either imagined the leak or that it was extremely slow. Besides, I like my pillow a little squishy.

650 Down Jacket, REI Brand

Reason For Being Returned: “Did not meet needs and stains on shoulder”

Weight: 8.8oz

Cost: Original – $99.50        Discounted – $35.83

Who cares about stains!

REI Brand Traverse Trekking Poles

Reason For Being Returned: “One section slides out all the way”

Weight: 17.6oz

Cost: Original – $89.50        Discounted – $15.83

The section that pulls out all the way isn’t actually a problem, I’ll just have to be careful not to pull it out all the way on the trail.

The Appalachian Trail Food Planner

Reason For Being Returned: “Book is battered and beaten”

Weight: N/A

Cost: Original – $18.95        Discounted – $5.83

Nothing wrong with a book that’s been loved a little too much, long as it’s still readable, it’s fine!

REI Tahoma Gloves

Reason For Being Returned: “Used, disliked size and slightly dirty”

Weight: 2.4oz

Cost: Original – $19.93        Discounted – $3.83

I needed some gloves! No matter how warm the rest of my body is, my hands always seem to be cold. Plus they fit me perfectly.

9045 Brunton Chill Compass

Reason For Being Returned: “Thermometer came off right away”

Weight: N/A

Cost: Original – $9.95        Discounted – $3.83

Just wanted it for the compass part honestly. I can tell the temp without a thermometer, it’s either hot, nippy, or freeze your butt off cold.

Verdi WP II Keen Hiking Boots

Reason For Being Returned: “slightly worn”

Weight: 25.6oz

Cost: Original – $94.93        Discounted – $20.83

Although I have my pretty Ahnu’s I wanted a pair to keep in a bounce box just in case my original pair died on the trail.

Womens Regular Marmot Pinnacle +15 Degree Bag

Reason For Being Returned: “Dirty, used, big duct tape patch”

Weight: 44.8oz

Cost: Original – $349.00        Discounted – $60.83

This puppy is a little on the heavy side but the moment I laid down in it, I was amazed by how warm and comfortable it was and for 60 bucks its a steal! She’s dirty and has a patch but I bought a small gear repair kit that should make her good as new.

Thermarest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad

Reason For Being Returned: “Display”

Weight: 14oz

Cost: Original – $44.95        Discounted – $27.83

This pad is basically new and came very highly recommended.

All in all a great haul for the day. I’m so close to having everything, I can taste the trail! Gear sales like this are such a great way to outfit any trip at a good price. I encourage everyone to check out gear sales, craigslist, ebay,, and anywhere else they could find lightly used gear for a steal.




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