I like REI Outlet, too, and if you live anywhere near an REI store, try to get there for their 'used gear sales' - that's where they sell everything that's been returned. Some of it is thrashed but some of it is basically brand-new, maybe worn once and I've gotten tons of stuff that still had the original tags on it so I don't think they'd been worn at all. Other times you'll find deals on their shelves. I got a $275 pair of Asolo boots for $39, for instance!
Another place I like to shop online is Campmor.com - they are also a SparkPeople advertiser so you might see their ads sometimes.
Wherever you shop, be sure you get good boots - I think it's 'very expensive' to get and wear 'cheap shoes' because they can ruin your feet, literally. It's much better and less expensive to just get good boots to start with than to deal with injuries, foot problems and possible surgery down the line. Don't forget to get GOOD SOCKS to go with your boots - sometimes those can make as much difference as the boots themselves.
As for the rest of the stuff, I often shop for the lowest-priced item that will do the job. If I was going on a long backpack or climbing steep mountains, weight and functionality might be more important than price. But for little local hikes where a few ounces aren't such a big deal and I wouldn't be 'stuck' in a horrible spot if something broke, I might shop at Wal-Mart, Goodwill or the 99cents store for gear! They all have water bottles and other items that can be used for hiking or camping and it won't cost nearly as much as using the elite brands.
Lynda in Orange County, So Calif
God Grant me Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to Change the things I can and Wisdom to Know the difference!
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. -- John Wooden
"Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."
| Pounds lost: 20.4