With 4 constantly growing kids we often have to pass down and update clothing, footwear and gear frequently. We try to outfit our kids in comfortable, light weight clothing suitable for our adventuring. Sometimes we thrift to do that, often we will find excellent gently used clothes and footwear that will help us get thru the season without breaking the bank. Our two oldest girls are now teenagers that find amazing scores in the ladies section, they know high end brand names and often find almost brand new clothing from major companies like Columbia, MEC, Marmot, Arcteryx and The North Face. I try to take them with me, if they aren’t there to try it on then its really not a deal or worth the time and effort to return an item. For us, I really don’t see the point in spending good dollars in brand new clothing that they wear and tear on a canoe trip. Portaging can be rough and the last thing I want them to do is worry about getting dirty or ruining clothes.
- check for fit, if its too big or small it won’t be comfortable and they won’t wear it
- check for working zipper’s and missing buttons
- check for stains and rips
- look for wear on the bottom of footwear, if there’s no tread or the bottoms are de-laminating then they are no good
- often stores have a half price or .99 cent days, pack your patience and go as that’s the best time to grab items for the next season(especially extra coats/snow pants and boots for winter camping)
- be open minded look in different sections as sometimes sales associates misplace clothing what might be a girls item could end up in the boys section etc.
- we like to look for brightly coloured quick drying t-shirts for a couple of reasons 1. easy to spot a kid frog hunting by the water 2. shows less dirt than white 3. will dry on the line faster which means less clothes to bring on a trip
- when possible I try to buy gender neutral things, we have 3 girls and 1 boy it doesn’t make sense to buy pink snow pants so I look/buy blue and black.The same goes for boots
Deals don’t always jump out at you, but with some patience you can save some money to put towards larger ticket gear items.
For actual gear, we like to check out our local buy and sell pages. We have purchased things from canoe(brand new, never seen water) to kayaks to a wood stove that was used only once for our winter tent. Used items in great condition are scores! Things are usually price to sell and save you sometimes hundreds of dollars, sales tax and shipping.
Lastly think outside the box, one of my best used purchases was down hill ski bag for $4 in brand new condition, it now houses our canoe and kayak paddles. It keeps them safe and unscratched with out banging them all around when we are transporting them.