If you're preparing to head off on a round-the-world trip, long-term travels or even a shorter holiday you're probably stocking up on gear. Some people shop online for the best deals but we like to actually go into a store before we purchase things so we can check things out, try packs and clothing on and compare apples to apples when we're shopping. Before our yearlong sabbatical trip last year we bought around two thousand dollars worth of gear, which sounds (and is) high.
Today we went shopping for some warm-weather gear for our upcoming move to Norway and made an exciting discovery: our local Army Surplus Store had just about everything we paid top dollar for at the big outdoor and adventure stores. At about half the price.
There they were: dry bags, gloves, packs, fleeces, camera bags, scarves, woollen socks, boots, hats, camping equipment and travel gadgets, laughing at us with their price tags: "Haha, suckers! Here we are at half of what you paid for us." The annoying thing is that we knew about the surplus stores. It just never occurred to us to shop there for travel equipment. Or that it would be so much cheaper.
Here's what we picked up (we're in Perth so prices are in Australian dollars, sorry):
insulated beanie hats: $9 each
thick warm lined fleece: $45
thick lined waterproof gloves: $14.50 each
convertible Amphibian trekking pants: $79.50
high quality thick wool blend socks: $12 - $18.95 each
Wellington boots: $29.95 and $49.95 each
balaclavas: $12.50 and $4.95
big waterproof toiletry bag: $19.50
scarves: $19.50 each
I'm curious as to how the prices at your local surplus store compare. You may not find some of the more exclusive brands at the Army Surplus Store and you probably won't find things like stylish outdoor clothing or shoes, but I'd definitely make this your first stop before you head to the other camping and outdoor stores and pay top dollar.
Where do you buy your travel gear and why?