The secondary market for outdoor gear like hiking boots and backpacks is robust, but those are far from the only travel goods you can score at a discount when you buy used. Everything from uber-chic suitcases to good-as-new AirPods are yours for the taking, if you know where to look.
In the past few years, many businesses have emerged to help consumers offload travel goods they no longer need, allowing someone else to scoop them up at bargain prices and help the circular economy keep growing. And while sustainability is always on our minds here at AFAR, Earth Day has us thinking extra hard about how we can reduce our carbon footprint, even if we’re still hopping on that plane.
Plus, anyone researching airfares lately has likely experienced a bit of sticker shock. Inflation has hit the travel sector as hard as it has affected every other arena in life, which means we’re spending more than we’ve budgeted for (even compared to last year). And while we can’t help you with a return to pre-COVID prices, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to purchasing discounted travel gear. Because, let’s be honest, for how often you use that hiking backpack, do you really need a brand-new one?
Read on to discover five of our favorite places to shop for gently used everything, from hiking boots to luxury luggage.
Buy now: Apple AirPods, from $75 (new from $129), backmarket.com
The tech equipment on Back Market, a Paris-based resale site, isn’t referred to as used, but “reborn.” Every item here, from cell phones to laptops, has been thoroughly checked, cleaned, and restored by experts and is graded fair, good, or excellent, depending on the appearance and technical condition of the device. Each purchase also comes with a one-year warranty, so your new-to-you earbuds should definitely make it through your vacation. And finally, sellers also must undergo a fairly rigorous onboarding process, with only about one in three making the cut.
This is one of the best sites to find verified Apple AirPods, with generally both regular and Pro wireless models available, as well as the super-sleek over-ear Max version. Other tech items available that are ideal for travel include Apple Watches, portable gaming devices, and refurbished cameras.
Patagonia Worn Wear
Buy now: Women’s down jackets, from $42 (new from $99), wornwear.patagonia.com
Patagonia hiking and ski gear is on the expensive end, but the sturdy construction of its pieces means they last for years, if not decades. So, it’s no surprise the company has an entire section of its website dedicated to recirculating gear to new owners. Patagonia Worn Wear allows shoppers to both sell preloved Patagonia apparel and gear or buy at prices that are a little more palatable than the brand’s retail. Sellers can score up to 50 percent of the resale price in Patagonia credit. If items aren’t accepted into the program, Patagonia will recycle the gear so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.
While the selection here includes items for men, women, and kids, size availability can be quite limited. But because the merchandise is constantly being refreshed, it’s worth checking the site frequently to see what’s been added. Ski jackets, which are one of the most expensive items to buy new, are luckily in abundance here.
REI Used Gear
Buy now: Osprey backpacks, from $52 (new from $65), rei.com/used
Unlike Patagonia’s site, the REI Used Gear section online encompasses a wide variety of brands and includes men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, plus gear ranging from tents to snowshoes to cycling accessories. The team inspects gently used items and selects the best for the site, with sellers getting credit for REI, and buyers grabbing discounts on some of the best outdoor brands, including the North Face, Marmot, and Columbia.
For those planning a backpacking trip, or anyone who prefers to travel sans wheels, the selection of packs here is fantastic. There are often dozens of models available from top-tier brands like Osprey or the North Face, in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Buy now: Rimowa luggage, from $507 (new from $845), therealreal.com
Luxury label hunters know the RealReal is a fantastic repository for deep discounts on used items from brands like Prada, Hermes, and Gucci. And while clothing, handbags, and shoes may be the site’s bread and butter, don’t overlook its luggage section. There is a sizable selection of everything from posh Louis Vuitton carry-ons to Tumi duffels and sleek hard-shell Rimowas, including some of the coveted pieces from the brand’s collaborations with Supreme and Dior.
The RealReal also prides itself on having one of the most rigorous authentication processes and quality checks in the market. Every single item on the site is checked by one of over 100 brand-specific authenticators before it’s listed for sale.
Buy now: Merrell hiking boots, from $9 (new from $100), poshmark.com
With over 200 million items for sale, it’s easy to get overwhelmed perusing the listings on Poshmark, a social marketplace for selling items from person to person. Understandably, that means there’s no intermediary checking quality or authenticity, but the flip side is that it’s possible to find incredible deals on, well, almost anything.
Merrell hiking boots, for example, which are one of AFAR’s favorites in the category, can be had for under $10 in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes (of course, less-used models will cost more). All of the listings also come with a “make an offer” option, which can drive the price down even further. (Hint: Sellers often accept lowball offers more readily when the item has been on sale for weeks.) In short, what you’re looking for—gear-wise—is probably here; you just have to hunt for it.