Would you like to pay 30-60% less than retail every time you buy travel clothing or a new bag? Or get your shoes for half price? Buy $18 hiking socks for $7? It’s not very hard.
A while back on this cheap travel blog I did a post on how to play the retail buying cycle on clothing and gear. You see, every year I go to this huge trade show called the Outdoor Retailers Market. There the manufacturers like North Face, Columbia, Outdoor Research, Teva, and a few thousand others are showing off their new stuff to buyers. What they’re showing to buyers will not be on your local store shelf for another 9-12 months though. That’s how far ahead retail buyers are making decisions on what they think you’re going to purchase for your adventures.
These decisions are never more than an estimated guess, of course. Sometimes the fashionista designers say, “Orange is going to be hot next year!” and instead everyone wants plaid. A charismatic trends guru manages to get everyone to believe that there’s some pent-up demand for retro backpacks. A year later, it turns out they’re wrong. (They didn’t ask me…)
The result is an inherently inefficient system whereby lots of outdoor apparel, travel clothing, luggage, and gear has a short time in the spotlight. Then it is then cast aside. By “cast aside” I mean marked down to get it out the door. Sometimes those markdowns are drastic, below the point of anyone making a profit. That’s where you step in and find a deal.
Since I’m editor at Practical Travel Gear, I get e-mails every week from online retailers I have affiliate programs with begging me to talk up their new half-off sale so they can move the old inventory out the door. Sometimes this is seasonal: you can find an incredible deal right now on a snowboard, set of skis, or down jacket. When the heat is highest in August, bathing suits and shorts go on sale.
Often though, you can get exactly what you need for your upcoming trip, just in last year’s model instead of this year’s. At this point in the innovation cycle where it’s hard to make fundamental breakthroughs in technology, there’s not much to be gained by buying the 2014 model over the 2013 one. It’s probably just a different color or maybe a pocket moved.
Hunting around at 10 different online retailers every time you are in the market for new travel gear can get tedious though. Lucky for you, there’s one simple e-mail newsletter you can get that will put all the sales, deals, and coupon codes in one place. It comes out an average of one time a month, whenever the timing is best with loads of markdowns happening at once. You can sign up for free here and you’ll also receive a report on “10 Travel Gear Gifts for $20 or Less.” (And maybe you need those gifts yourself.) Sign up here: