"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gear: a Blessing and a Curse

There is one constant in the world of endurance sports, GEAR.  No matter what sport/sports you are into you can end up paying a small fortune for the tools (toys) of the trade.  I have heard people exclaim that running is the least expensive because all you need are a good pair of shoes.  Now ask yourself how many runners do I know that just buy shoes?  I'll bet the answer is none.  In fact last winter I was out on a run and started to add up the dollar value of everything I was wearing and had with me, and was surprised to find that the grand total was close to $1000 (shoes, garmin, iPod, etc).  Yeah running is cheap!

Awesome light but out of my price range...or is it?
Gear can be very expensive whether it be for running, cycling, paddling, and the list goes on.  I always look for deals, and sales.  One website that I am always checking is Gear Trade.  This site has everything.  The interface isn't that great the deals are out of this world.  My biggest score from Gear Trade was my bike light that I purchased as part of my required gear for the Berryman 36hour adventure race.  The light is a Princeton Tech Switchback 3 and Gear Trade said it retailed for $350 but it was being sold for $102, that's a 71% discount.  There was a small problem with the light when I received it though.  The screws holding the mounting bracket were stripped.  I solved this with a little epoxy and you would never know anything was amiss.  The light worked so well I was able to provide enough light for 8riders on the gravel roads during the race.  I couldn't be more pleased about my purchase.  
There is no way I would have paid $350 for a bike light, so had I not found this deal I would have been stuck with the crappy light I already had.  

Gear Trade works in one of two ways.  A person like you or I has something to sell, puts it on the site and when it sells Gear Trade takes its cut.  I don't know what their cut is because I have never sold anything through them since I am a gear hoarder.  The other way it works is as follows.  John Q. Public buys something from a retailer, like Back Country and finds for whatever reason that the item is not what he wanted and returns it.  Now Back Country cannot sell the item as new if it has been used or the tags are missing so they offer it for sale on Gear Trade at a steep discount.

I prefer to buy items through the second method because Back Country does a really great job with the descriptions to give you a good sense of what you are buying and why it is being offered so inexpensively.  I feel as though buying from an individual is more of a crap shoot.  There is a 72hour period to inspect the gear and report any issues, but who wants to hassle with all that?  

The next time you are looking for some new gear do what I do and check Gear Trade first.  Just think of all the gear you can buy with the money you will save.


  1. I've always been more of a minimalist when it comes to running, I can't stand having a bunch of junk flopping around. I have a one item limit; and that usually means a watch or an ipod, but I can't handle both.

    But cycling is a different story. I'll definitely be using this site to continue my search for a cheap powertap. Thanks!

  2. This is really cool. I'm going to pass it on to my brother, too. We definitely need to gear up.

  3. Yeah, well said about the website you mentioned. They have some best deals on men's hooded winter jackets, spyder winter jackets and many others out of the market always.