Now’s the best time to buy winter gear. The season might be winding down, but the savings are substantial. When I got into mountain climbing years ago and had to get all the equipment, it happened to be during the annual end-of-winter sales, and I lucked into some terrific prices. Plan ahead and you too can save serious money.
Updated March 11, 2021: REI’s winter clearance sale is over, but many items are still discounted. Backcountry and Moosejaw’s winter sales are still going. I’ve
crossed out sold-out items, updated pricing, and added five new deals.
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Technical Gear Deals
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- REI Flash 18 Pack for $20 ($20 off): Taking a big, bloated pack on a day hike is unnecessary suffering. For a quick “get outside” bag, the Flash 18 is one of our favorites because it’s lightweight and cheap but has enough room for a rain jacket, lunch, sunscreen, and water. This is the outgoing Flash 18, which is not made of bluesign-approved, more sustainable materials like the just-introduced model.
- Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoes for $70 ($25 off): These are solid, non-aggressive climbing shoes—good for novice climbers and those who, regardless of skill level, tackle certain types of smooth outdoor rock, such as granite slab. They’re some of the most comfortable sub-$100 climbing shoes I’ve worn. The women’s version is on sale for the same price.
- REI Co-Op Multi Towel Lite for $5 ($5 off): You should have a couple of pack towels when you’re backpacking. Condensation and mist collect on your backpack as the weather changes. To keep it from soaking into your fabric and weighing you down, it’s helpful to have a small towel handy to periodically wipe it down.
- Mountain Hardwear Crag Wagon 35 for $142 ($78 off): If you do any outdoor climbing, you’ll need a pack big enough to haul everything. A regular, little ol’ daypack can work if you’re not carrying a full rack of gear, but it’s nicer to be able to store your helmet and climbing shoes inside instead of dangling them on the outside. This 35-liter pack will swallow all of it, and the front panel unzips to make loading and unloading easier than on a top-opening pack.
- MSR Windburner Stove Group System for $160 ($40 off): MSR makes some of the best stoves in the business. The Windburner runs on MSR IsoPro canisters, which contain an 80/20 mix of isobutane and propane. The kit also comes with a 2.5-liter pot with a locking lid that lets you pack up the stove, stand, and IsoPro canister (not included) inside the pot when you’re not using it.
Black Diamond Camalot C4 Package #1-3 for 198 ($22 off): If you want to start climbing trad or need to update your rack, you’re going to need cams. BD’s Camalot C4 series is the standard many use to judge the competition, because it’s been around a long time and is widely used. The new generation is 10 percent lighter than the outgoing C4 cams. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles for $135 ($45 off): I’ve banged and abused carbon-fiber Black Diamond trekking poles over some nasty trail rocks, and they’ve held up well. The cork hand grips are cushiony and handle sweaty palms well. I’m not sure I’d want to go back to non-cork handles. Trekking poles are useful for stability and taking some of the strain off your legs and knees. Garmin Forerunner 735XT Run-Bundle for $240 ($160 off) :WIRED writer Adrienne So, who tests fitness trackers among other things, says this is a great deal. It includes an HRM-Run chest strap that measures your heart rate. The Forerunner 735XL has GPS, is water-resistant to 50 meters, and pairs with your Android or iOS smartphone. Toaks Titanium Folding Spork for $6 ($3 off) :If backpacking had a symbol, it’d be the titanium spork. Toaks is a solid manufacturer of titanium cookware. This folder weighs only 0.6 ounces and folds down nice and small in your pack.
Camp and Travel Deals