REI Garage Sale Tips and Finds

Backpacking Gear

REI Garage Sale

My Top 10 Tips to Make the Most of an REI Garage Sale

Last Saturday was REI Yard Sale day (check out the video)! If you’re a bargain hound, this is a great place to discover deep discounts and delightful deals. You could also waaaayyy overspend if you’re not careful.

Here’s I how approach the sale to be sure I spend wisely and come home with good stuff….

  1. Plan ahead. Know what you want (need?) before you go. I make a short list of products or brands I’m looking for so I can jump on those items if I see them. I also make a list of “nice to have” things that I might buy if the price is right.
  2. Arrive early. I’ve heard stories of people camping out for REI Garage sales, but I never have. Here in the Atlanta area, I can arrive about 30 minutes before opening and still find good deals.
  3. Snag, then study. Use your first pass to scoop up likely prospects of items on your list, then step aside and study your finds. If something isn’t the right model or doesn’t otherwise meet your needs, put it back for someone else discover.
  4. Read the tags. The return tags will show the list price and the final price, along with notes about any reported damage or reason for return. I find many “damaged” items are actually in good shape.
  5. Examine thoroughly.  There are no returns REI Garage sale items so know what you’re buying. Don’t hesitate to pop up a tent or inflate a sleeping pad to see if it really leaks. Check for “damages” carefully – you may find they’re not bad at all or you may discover issues that aren’t listed.
  6. Double back. The first people in often grab lots of stuff they don’t actually buy. These items may be left in odd places but most eventually get back to the sale area. I found my both of my tents on my 3rd pass at two different sales.
  7. Take your time. Following the tips above takes time, so plan to be there a while. Allow a good hour or more to explore the merchandise, test it and be sure you get the right items.
  8. Know values and sale prices. You might be able to get a better deal on sale or with a more gently used item. Know the target price for the items you want. If necessary, use your smartphone to do a quick price comparison.
  9. Be open to surprises. The “nice to have” list comes in handy here. That’s how I discovered a BV450 bear canister with no damage at all. The price was right and I decided to give it a try, knowing I could sell it later if it didn’t work for me.
  10. Have fun! Look at the REI Garage sale as a bargain-hunting adventure. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t be disappointed if you don’t find what you need. There will be another one soon!

Here or some of my best discoveries:

  NEMO Hornet 2P Tent

BV450 Bear Canister

Cocoon LIghtweight Travel Pillow

Sea to Summit Compression Dry Sack

What if there’s no REI near you?

Check out the new REI Used Gear (beta) site or another discount site like

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