I’ve talked many times in the past about how going to the right retailer at the right time can save you a small fortune on quality travel gear. Unless you have to have the absolute latest, hot off the assembly line greatest, you can usually find an alternative from last year’s crop that will do the job for half the price. This way you can still get good workmanship (and a warranty) but you don’t have to pay prices that are on par with a plane ticket or two weeks of lodging.
When I ran Practical Travel Gear for more than six years I used to send out a newsletter a few times a year that gathered all the best sales and coupons in one place. This was a rather laborious process though that took hours, so when I sold the site I stopped doing it.
I recently found a website that does this in a more automated way though, gathering up the latest promotions from the likes of REI, Cabela’s, and Sierra Trading post. It’s got the short name BC25.com and it’s nice and easy to navigate.
On the home page there are a slew of current coupon codes and deals. When I looked there were a few big overall ones and a few very specific ones (25% off at Under Armour Canada and 30% off Keen boots). These are going to vary a lot according to the time of year. We’re kind of in an in between period as I write this, between Labor Day and the start of the mad Christmas rush. When we get into late November the big sales will come out in force. Then as soon as the decorations get put away, the major clearance sales will begin when it’s obvious which items didn’t move.
You don’t have to leave it to chance though. If you’re currently in the market for a new bike, for example, search “bikes” and you’ll get bike deal coupons from the likes of Nashbar, Competitive Cyclist, and JensonUSA. Under the Coupons drop-down you can select hiking and camping and end up with 25-60% at retailers such as RockCreek and DepartmentofGoods.
You can search by brand if you really love Osprey or Patagonia and see who’s got those items on sale. Or you can go straight to your favorite place to shop for gear by just selecting that name and you’ll see all their current offers.
There’s one flaw I ran into a few times and it goes back to that word “current.” Whoever should be going in and removing old/expired deals seems to have gotten lost in the woods because I saw a few that had expiration dates listed that passed months ago. Also some searches brought up advice stories syndicated from review sites rather than discount deals.
Overall though, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to peck around at 10 different websites trying to find the best deal on hiking shoes or a new backpack, BC25.com is worth a shot. It won’t cost you any more by going through their links and since they make a commission cut as an affiliate, they’re inclined to bring you the best bargains out there, no matter what you buy.
It’s worth it to buy quality travel gear that’s not going to crap out on you while you’re running through an airport, on a biking tour, or hiking through roadless villages. And as I’ve found many times, having good gear that’s really warm or waterproof can be the difference between being a little inconvenienced and being miserable when the weather turns. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it though just because of the brand name.