We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
Now that spring is here, chances are you may be ready to head outside and explore. And if you want to genuinely immerse yourself in the experience, there’s no better way to do so than to sleep outside. Having an outdoor space to call home after hiking, fishing, or stargazing can help you feel at one with nature, but investing in gear can seem daunting. However, purchasing a tent, camping stove, or a simple backpack doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you consider pre-owned equipment. If you’re already a camping pro and need to upgrade your sleeping bag, your castoff can get a new lease on life while helping fund the cost of your new gear.
So, before buying everything brand-new or dropping your gently used items off at the local donation center, think about using a resale site to save or make a little money. Although you can find pre-owned adventure items on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, outdoor-specific sites can help you hone in on your needs. Here are six sites designed for buying and selling used camping gear.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or heading out on your maiden camping trip, Out&Back offers everything you need to have a successful experience. This is partly because they only accept and sell trustworthy brands, such as Mountain Hardware, The North Face, and Big Agnes. As a seller, the process is relatively simple. “All you have to do is fill out our online form,” says Barruch Ben-Zekry, founder of Out&Back. “We give sellers an instant cash offer, we pay for shipping, and we pay in cash as soon as we receive the item.”
Because Out&Back handles the gear, they guarantee the quality of their products, offer free returns, and ensure that each item goes through a hospital-grade cleaning process. As a purchaser, you can also feel good about reducing waste. “By purchasing used items, you’re not only helping our environment, but you’re saving tons of money,” adds Ben-Zekry. “Used gear performs just as well as new, so save the money, save the planet, buy and sell used outdoor gear.”
The name REI is synonymous with quality outdoor equipment. Although their main website sells everything from hammocks to lanterns, REI’s used section is where you can save money on camping items. “The inventory is returned REI gear, and most of it is in excellent condition,” says Ian Swallow, who produces adventure guides with his wife, Emily. REI also backs its used product line, which is a significant point for those cautious about buying pre-owned things.
Another perk is that sellers also have the opportunity to get store credit toward future purchases. “They also just added a new feature where you can trade in old gear for REI gift cards,” adds Swallow. Trading now and buying later is the perfect option if you aren’t sure what you want to purchase or if you’re going to swap camping for a different hobby, such as biking or snowboarding, as REI supplies products for a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Patagonia is known for its clothing. Of course, you may want to outfit yourself from head to toe for upcoming adventures, but by keeping an eye on the Worn Wear section of their website, you can score equipment at about half of the original price. “Although they focus more on clothing, you can find some great Patagonia camping gear (sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.),” offers Swallow. Like REI, Patagonia has a trade-in program where you can receive gift cards for gently-used items.
Additionally, purchasing from a well-known brand offers the security of using a retailer you’re already familiar with. Gaby Pilson is an outdoor educator and prefers to use retailer sites like Patagonia when purchasing used gear. “I like these manufacturer-specific sites because they give me confidence that whatever I’m buying will be in good shape, even though it’s used,” she advises.
If having used camping gear at your fingertips via your smartphone sounds appealing, the Rerouted app is the way to go. Although they have a website where you can purchase pre-owned things, downloading the app is a must if you want to sell your castoffs. Like eBay, Rerouted lets you upload and list equipment to sell directly to buyers.
“One of the coolest new apps out there for buying and selling used outdoor gear is Rerouted,” recommends Kevin Callahan, who co-founded a campervan outfitting company. “The app allows users to upload pictures of gear they want to sell and lists it in just a click.” Additionally, because folks are constantly listing new items, Rerouted allows you to create a custom profile to help find exactly what you need as sellers list equipment on their site.
Although Outdoors Geek is known for renting outdoor supplies, you can score big by watching their preowned section. Mikaela Ferguson is a former wilderness guide who recommends scouring the gently-used area of Outdoors Geek’s website to purchase items. “Outdoors Geek has a gear rental program, and they sell the used gear when they’re done with it,” she says. “If you don’t mind using gear that’s been used by many people (appropriately cleaned and in working condition, though), they have some good prices — especially for sleeping bags and pads.” Another interesting point about Outdoors Geek is that you can rent items prior to purchasing to give equipment a road test before making a total financial commitment.
If you have items to sell, Geartrade offers a variety of options depending on your preferences. Either send them used camping goods or list things yourself — either way, you don’t have to pay for shipping. “One of the coolest features is that they give free shipping labels to either send the gear to them for listing or shipping if you want to sell it yourself,” advises Mark Joy, who is an avid outdoorsman. “They offer everything outdoor adventurers need to get outside at a discounted price.”
Joy also recommends Geartrade due to how user-friendly the site is. “It’s organized really well by activity, type, and brand, and you can also do general searches,” he says. In addition, using a reselling site like Geartrade encourages reducing waste while helping you clear out things that may otherwise go unused. Whether buying or selling, one person’s pre-loved item can become someone else’s next great camping find.