We have previously discussed the question of buying a new vehicle vs. a used one, in this article, I would like to discuss buying used camping equipment. You could be on a budget or simply not a regular outdoors person and you decide to go the second-hand route.
This is quite often a good way to go as places like Facebook have community pages where people sell stuff as well as their popular “marketplace”. You can often find a bargain at a fraction of the new price. So you will undoubtedly save on your outlay as well as reducing your carbon footprint.
Don’t be scared of buying footwear, footwear loses value as it walks out of the shop. Be objective, no one wants to buy a well-used pair of hiking boots but quite often they were bought and only worn once and found to be unsuitable or the sizing was incorrect, in these instances, you can pick up a bargain. Check the uppers, insoles and soles (tread) for damage or excessive wear.
Then check the smell, if you can not get your nose to the item it may have been wet or have mildew which damages the fabric and leaves ugly stains on it.
Then if it has a tear or a scratch don’t be afraid, a tailor can repair a garment and it can be re-waterproofed and tents can be repaired by numerous specialists.
No matter what the condition, if you buy something, take it home and wash it or clean it to your standards. Then if you bought a tent, pitch it to check for damage and leave it out to air before packing it, this also helps to check that you have all the poles and bits and pieces.
One should carefully evaluate buying down products as over time they lose their inherent warmth as they lose weight. If the jacket or bag is thick and fluffy it’s likely to be warm and in good condition. If it’s flat it has more than likely been stored and compressed into a stuff sack.
If buying a torch, headlamp or battery powered item, take batteries so that you can test that the item actually works. The same applies to gas stoves and lights, take the appropriate cylinder or canister so that you can test it. For a GPS, ensure that you get all the parts, any codes and plug it in to see that it powers up and functions.
If you are buying a tent check the condition of the poles as they may have been bent at some stage and could snap when used, research the make of tent to ensure that you will be able to get replacement parts, avoid no-name brands if at all possible.
If someone advertises recovery equipment check the straps and ropes and the stitching and cuts which could weaken the item with disastrous consequences. Binoculars are risky as lenses may be out of alignment if they fell, so look through them carefully to check the picture and focus, well-known brands can always be serviced by the agent.
Lastly, be careful of buying certain items that are safety critical as you may not be able to ascertain the damage. Here I refer mainly to helmets used for rafting, climbing and cycling as well as ropes and harnesses used for climbing. So if you are looking for gear visit the charity shops and browse Facebook, you never know what you will find out there. Happy hunting from all of us at All Terrain, buy in person and check items, don’t just buy sight unseen.