There is no doubt that buying gear can get expensive. I personally have purchased and wasted a ton of money on gear that I have purchased and have replaced because after buying it learning that it may not have been the best solution. I have also learned not to purchase a single piece of equipment that only serves one task, unless you are buying a hurricane lantern, but even they are dual purpose providing both heat and light. If you know exactly what you are looking for, and you are looking to save money, and if you are in a metro or suburban area, Craigslist might just be your ticket.
For instance, I routinely look for a few items on Craigslist. Now, I want to try to buy locally, so I will go to http://newjersey.craigslist.org. In the search box for the For Sale section and I might type in some of the following keywords to see what might be for sale (All results below will be in northern NJ):
- dehydrator: http://goo.gl/slEB
- backpack: http://goo.gl/piP0
- generator: http://goo.gl/Y0zE
- camping: http://goo.gl/Vto7
- camper: http://goo.gl/NGVY
- camp: http://goo.gl/87L1
- survival: http://goo.gl/S5ZX
- knife: http://goo.gl/gG8O
- Coleman: http://goo.gl/s3ey
- solar: http://goo.gl/XBSr
- solar panel: http://goo.gl/1MdT
These are just a few of the keywords for products I might be looking for. To boot, this past week I found a guy selling his surplus solar panels for 40.00 each, and they are in good condition. I have emailed him and will probably pick up two of them.
Craigslist is not the only service you can use to look for gear deals as well. Here are a couple more for you to explore:
Be aware, however, that these sites may not have near as many listings as Craigslist will have. You will also have to sift through a ton of ads to find what you are looking for, assuming what you are looking for is listed there. It is a great resource for finding inexpensive gear if you are willing to be patient. Also, feel free to low ball or try negotiating the price of your future gear. People may be looking to just unload it less expensively than they listed it for.