If you’re looking for used outdoor gear, Craigslist is always your #1 source.

October 14, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Cormac McCrimmon | Artwork by Rowan Kempen

Despite the removal of its personal ads section — loved by some and dreaded by others — Craigslist remains an incredible tool for buying and selling used outdoor gear. My experience of using Craigslist to find and recycle outdoor gear reminds me that the internet has won a few victories. Craigslist’s retro, ’90s-style site is easy to navigate and even has some hidden features that will make finding bargains even easier. Read on for tips on selling outdoor gear on Craigslist.

Plan your publications: sell your equipment during the right season.

Although the people who use Craigslist may seem like outliers, their interests tend to match larger trends. Timing messages based on the appropriate season can help you connect with more potential buyers. Instead of flaunting your used bike in November, wait until spring when more people are excited to hit the trails.

Be flexible on the price.

Just because you bought a brand new pair of skis for $900 doesn’t mean you’ll easily get even half of them; items depreciate quickly. Maybe Craigslist is self-selecting for the cheapskates. It’s often best to price at attractive rates and connect with buyers quickly. If you end up losing money, you can still feel good about your generous recycling.

Provide plenty of photos.

Like people elsewhere on the internet, those who browse Craigslist have incredibly short attention spans. Take vivid, colorful photos to draw on your post. Good images answer potential questions from many buyers and help convey the condition of your product honestly.

Write compelling descriptions.

Providing plenty of details about your product and going the extra mile to research specs, model year, and sizing information will help buyers easily decide if your item is right for them. This is your only sales pitch. Tell a story with your description and you’ll soon be attracting all sorts of money-hungry outdoor enthusiasts.

Be honest.

Stick with the Craigslist peace sign logo. Craigslist runs on karma. Be honest about why you sell products, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

On the other hand, here are some tips for buying used outdoor gear on Craigslist.

Do your research.

If you want to maintain your focus, it helps to do some research before you start looking. Know what you’re looking for, which products are good substitutes, and what to avoid before you look. If you’re shopping for ski boots, it can be helpful to try on several pairs at a local store and see if the available size actually fits you. Read reviews, see complaints from other buyers, and decide if it’s worth the risk of buying used. The more you know about a product, the better you will be able to assess its value.

To ask questions.

Like buying a home, Craigslist buyers never have perfect information. Sellers can get rid of their bike because everything is about to fall apart. Asking your salesperson questions about the history of the product, why they’re selling it, and what’s wrong can help you assess its condition.

Try it!

Try items. Just because you’re feeling rushed doesn’t mean you should buy without testing the item. If you’re buying a pair of ski boots, consider getting a shell fit to see how the size fits your feet; walk around, flex your toes and try to figure out how this item will feel after several hours of wear, not five minutes. Some sellers may let you take their bike, skis or other product for a test drive if you leave them a guarantee.

To negotiate.

Unlike most stores, many items have flexible pricing. Use your buyer power to negotiate. If an item has been on sale for several months, you have even more bargaining power.

Save your searches.

One of the joys of Craigslist is its simplicity. However, if you bother to create an account, you can access useful features, such as the ability to save a search. Just type in what you’re looking for and Craigslist will notify you when someone posts in your area. This feature can save you from having to check every day.

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