Thoughts on Outdoor Gear Exchange

I’ve visited Outdoor Gear Exchange a couple of times now, and am always impressed. The alternative brand and gear selections compared to the REIs and Dick’s of the world make it a place worth visiting just in case you want to see a bit of what’s on the other side of outdoor outfitting—those cottage industry brands that are mainly online or hide out in small quantities around a passionate climbing shop. 

Even better, I also haven’t found a better consignment gear shop (I am hoping Las Vegas’ Peaks and Pedals will continue to improve as they just started last year—the owner is extremely knowledgeable and has good ambitions for that shop), which appears to accept really quality—and hardly popular—pieces that are truly functional for one’s needs. There may be a snowball effect—customers see quality used goods in the consignment section and then add their own quality goods.

Similar to what I’ve seen in Salt Lake City’s Gear Room, brand samples are available in limited quantities, usually 50% off retail price. The Gear Room had Scott, Patagonia, and possibly Salomon (or else a big Salomon fans is dropping off goods over the past few months). I believe I saw Black Diamond at Outdoor Gear Exchange. Samples are typically cutting edge, technical pieces of gear that are outlandishly expensive, but at least some trailblazer will rave on about their discounted version.

Last year I wrote about The Gear Exchange and its use of used gear to attract people to the store, but also its ability to keep people around with useful and alternative brands to the usual “outdoor lifestyle” shop. My satisfaction with the shop hasn’t changed. However, my argument about the unpredictability of used gear became outmoded as REI instituted a returned product section in many of its stores—this didn’t solve REI’s issues with brand variety, but has added a notion of randomness to its shops—any day and you could find something that you might have been looking for but didn’t want to pay full price. I’ve found a few electronics and camp chairs using the initiative—the prices are exactly what I would pay for. The Gear Exchange continues to be at the top of mixing diversity and curation; shop owners would do well to learn from its successes.