Contact Us

Choose to Reuse Logo

Waste less, live better.

Back to home

Used winter gear

Getting used winter gear is both good for the environment and a better deal than purchasing new items at full price. If you know where to look, there are plentiful secondhand options to outfit you for all the winter activities you want to enjoy. From online outdoor retailers and local specialty stores to organized swaps, find what’s right for you this snowy season to stay cozy while adventuring outside.

Used REI backpack and jacket

Outdoor brands with used options

We have a long way to go for regular retailers to join the secondhand economy, but two large outdoor companies have expanded their sales to include used clothing and gear. Patagonia (Worn Wear program) and REI have made it easier to buy used clothing and gear online, including sell-back programs and repair services. While you will see a more limited selection of items, colors and sizes than you would expect when buying new, it’s the same experience and just as easy to browse as other online shopping sites. You also get the benefit of knowing the used clothing or equipment is in verified good condition without seeing it in person. Both companies have repair services if and when you need them, and Patagonia even has a suite of care and repair videos for things you can do at home to extend the useful life of your clothes and equipment.

Used winter gear

Shop locally

If shopping locally or getting out in person is more of your style, you have a variety of options. It is easy to find simple outdoor gear such as jackets and hats at regular secondhand stores to fill out your winter wardrobe. If you’re looking for a brand or specific item, you may be able to search online and buy directly from another person through places like Facebook Marketplace (you might even try your neighborhood Buy Nothing groups, too!). For gear and winter sports equipment such as hockey gear, skates, snowshoes, ski goggles or a broomball stick, check out specialty secondhand stores such as Play it Again Sports or Instant Replay Sports. Repair Lair offers general outdoor clothing and recreation items like sleeping bags and tents. Repair Lair and Play it Again Sports stores will buy or consign your old items, too.

When to rent and not buy

If you are new to a sport or just testing out a hobby, try a rental program before you invest in your own equipment. These are especially useful when trying sports that rely on specific snow conditions or when enrolling your growing child in a winter sport.  Some of the local ski trails offer rental equipment right at the trailhead. Three Rivers Park District rents cross country ski equipment at several of their trails, and the Loppet Foundation rents skis at Theodore Wirth Park. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board rents skis at the Hiawatha Golf Course. If you want to try out some other trails or rent skis or equipment for longer, try Hoigaards, the REI in Bloomington, or the University of Minnesota Center for Outdoor Adventure (which is open to the public!). Erik’s Bike Shop even has a kids’ ski and snowboard leasing program so you can use your gear all season long.

Used skis

Plan for next year’s ski and gear swaps

If you’re interested in taking advantage of winter’s skiing season, it pays to plan for it far in advance. There are many ski and equipment swaps that happen in late fall and have a huge variety of skis, shoes and gear in different sizes. Some start as early as September, and others are held in October or the beginning of November. These sales are often organized by high school teams or other youth skiing programs and can be good places to get rid of your kids’ old gear, too. Once the snow flies it’s too late to swap, so find an event or two that interest you and get on their mailing list or set a calendar reminder to look them up next year. Some large swaps are:

Skinny Ski is a website to keep in mind as it lists many different swaps for you to check out. Take a bit of time to research the gear you want in the time before next season. Once you make it to a swap, you may also have access to knowledgeable volunteers who can help you make the right choice.

Enjoy your new-to-you winter gear

Stay warm and cozy for all Minnesota winter has to offer while knowing you reduced waste and supported the secondhand economy. Now all that’s left is to hit the trails, hills, or even just your backyard outfitted in your used winter gear!