Recently, outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia announced a new program called Worn Wear that gives customers a chance to trade in their used gear for credit toward buying new products. The equipment that is turned in is then cleaned up, repaired, and resold online at a discount. This has the dual effect of saving customers money on Patagonia products, while also keeping more items from ending up in a landfill somewhere. Now, Recreational Equipment Inc. (aka REI), has launched a section on its website to sell used gear as well.
So how does REI’s program work exactly? For decades the retailer has been known for its liberal return policy, which allows customers to bring back any piece of gear that they weren’t 100 percent satisfied with. This has led to a large stockpile of used items, some of which would be sold off in an individual store’s semi-annual garage sale. Those events have proven so popular that it was not unheard of for outdoor enthusiasts to begin lining up outside a store hours before it opened just to score killer deals on equipment that was seeking a second life.
Now, REI is bring the concept of the garage sale online with its newly added Used Gear section. Visitors to the site will find options for women’s clothing, men’s clothing, and outdoor gear, which is where shoppers will find tents, backpacks, stoves, and other items. Because these are products that others have returned, there are limited quantities and sizes. But if you do find something you do want to purchase, it can typically be had for 20-25 percent off its normal retail price.
Examples of products that are available on the site include a down parka from Outdoor Research that typically sells for $196, which can be had for just $137. Similarly, a hydration pack from Osprey that normally retails for $59 can be purchased for $44. REI describes all of the gear as “gently used” and it is sold “as is.” Even so, all of the products come with a 30-day guarantee rather than the company’s normal overly generous warranty policy.
For now, the REI used gear site is listed as being in “beta,” so it’s still being tested. Presumably at some point it will become a permanent fixture on the website. Like Patagonia, the company is helping customers to save quite a bit of money, while reducing waste, too.