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Idea for Used Gear

Just a heads up for an idea to share. I moved during Covid. Had over 30 years worth of REI backpacking, camping, hiking, canoeing gear....could have taken much of it to the "garage sale" with REI store. But decided to make another decision based on my values. I value the out of doors. I value nature. I value our landscapes. I want the next generation to love to be out of doors, but most of the twenty somethings I know don't have funds to purchase REI equipment. SO, I invited some I know to over to my home (masks on, socially distanced) and choose what they wanted according to  their interests. Some took the backpacking gear; others took the camping/hiking gear. Still others took the canoe gear....all in all, I was thrilled at their stories about longing to get out into the backwoods but not having proper equipment. After almost all the equipment was given away, I felt such a sense of excitement that these young people might perhaps begin their own love affair with nature like I have had for almost forty years....what a thrill!

5 Replies

Hi @SkyeBoyd46 - Wow. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It sounds like you really impacted people and their access to the outdoors with your gear! That sense of excitement is well earned. 

We're so glad you have joined this community. With forty years of camping, hiking and canoeing adventures, we imagine you have many stories to tell yourself! It would be great to hear some highlights, especially around sustainability, if you're willing to share. We imagine you will find many other community members that are great to engage with, learn from, and share your expertise with too!

Welcome to the community!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I don't know that I know much about sustainability in formal terms. My spouse and I work to recycle, use less water, take care on trails, support non-profits that are climate change oriented, etc. But I'm not a farmer or grower, etc. My focus, as an educator, has been on influencing the next generation to love nature and being out of doors so that when they are old enough to vote, they will support candidates who work to protect our natural resources, limit oil and gas damage, and work on climate change. This has been my focus for most of my professional life---impacting the next generation to care about the land.


I regularly "gift" used gear to people starting out. It's expensive to start from scratch so give, give, give. 

I have done versions of this in the past. Currently I find homeless people to take most of my gear, or I bring it to homeless centers.

I recall one gear dump years ago in Lake Tahoe where I did similar in that I went to a friend's house for a party that I knew there would be a bunch of backpackers and we did a giveaway for donation. I told them I didn't want to take anything home so you couldn't bid too low.

I went home with gas and food money for another backpacking adventure. 


What a great idea.  Nicely done, all of you who donate gear to those starting out.  I've done the same sort of things.  Anything I don't need anymore, or don't want to display in the study for sentimental reasons, goes to folks who could use it to get started.  Free or cheap on Craigs List, pennys on the dollar, on eBay, garage sales, Boy Scouts, things like that.  Some of that stuff are old friends;  no reason for it to just go to waste when someone else can learn from all the good vibes I've put into them.


Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.