Camino Gear Shopping Tips

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Getting geared up for the Camino de Santiago can be expensive – especially if you’re starting from scratch. After much trial and error, I’ve discovered some pretty good resources to help. Below I list the most helpful that I have found. !

REI

REI_banner.JPGThere is almost too much to like about REI. Although they have the appearance of a high end boutique store, their prices are competitive – especially when you factor in cheap ($20!) lifetime member benefits, the REI Outlet, Used Gear, and Garage Sales! They also have an industry-leading return policy.

Backcountry Edge

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Backcountry Edge has a ton of great features – even live gear experts you can call and talk to. They offer a whopping 20% Off discount on any full price item for free email subscribers. Like REI, they also accept returns in any condition for up to a year (you pay a $5 shipping fee).

Gear Trade

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A used piece of great gear is better than a new piece of crap gear. This is a great site for used gear. It has a nice interface and no membership requirements. Not only do individuals sell here, but so do companies (such as Backcountry!). You can make offers, but it’s not an irritating auction. Open a few tabs to compare current retail prices, and you’re good to go.

Moosejaw

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Moosjaw has a fun website, good prices (including retro-active price matching!), and an interesting Moosejaw Reward Dollars program that gives you 10% of each purchase toward future purchases.

Amazon

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OK, I know – DUH!, am I right? But Amazon does some pretty great things when it comes to shopping, especially if you use Prime (which gives discounts and expedited shipping) and Smile (which donates part of your purchase price to the charity of your choice). Amazon’s prices are almost always competitive, and they’ve become one of the major places to buy used items that Amazon supports. They generally have a 30-day return policy – which is not much, but it often includes nice no-hassle options like zero packaging drop offs. All this plus the ability to make your own shareable wish lists (which can include items you find on other websites!) makes Amazon a primary part of my shopping.

Special Mention: Section Hiker

SH_bannerSection Hiker is not a shopping site – however, it’s still a good place to start. This is because not only does the site have some great gear reviews, it also has a real-time Gear Discounts section that tracks major resources that are having sales or coupon codes.

Conclusion

This should be more than enough to get you started.  I didn’t include used shopping sites like Ebay, Craig’s List, or Facebook community sales pages although they can be great if you can find what you want and trust the seller.

Once you’ve researched gear, do your homework and spend some time playing the field before you buy. You can save a lot of cash that can be better spent on Camino swag!

Buen Camino!

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