1. Eric Tuma
    Eric Tuma March 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Ray! I really get a lot of great info from you! I’ve been backpacking for 50 years but I always enjoy getting pointers and others points of view!
    I wanted to ask you though, which used gear outlets do you prefer. I am usually skeptical about places like that.
    Thanks !

  2. Linda Selover
    Linda Selover March 6, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I do enjoy shopping at REI, and I try to go to their big sales and their garage sales. That is where I got my backpack that I used on theJMT. Now I am ready to shop for a UL pack.
    At our REI in Santa Rosa, CA, many of the staff have hiked the JMT so they are great resources for answering questions about the JMT and helping people to select appropriate gear. They will also tell you what they know about UL gear and where you can get it.

  3. John Nouveaux
    John Nouveaux March 7, 2018 at 6:02 am

    Another Santa Rosa REI shopper here. One of the reasons my wife and I love REI: I’ve been packing off and on most of my adult life. My wife just started 3 years ago. The staff at REI spent a combined total of 6 hours with her making sure she got the backpack best suited for her body frame and comfort. She has since been out with me 7 times over the last three years and the pack they helped her with: she loves it! Worth a few extra coin I think for her. Being miserable on the trail would sort of defeat the purpose of getting out there. 😉

  4. Dale Bates
    Dale Bates March 9, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Love your site and I recommend it to my customers who shop at the Sacramento REI where I “work” (can’t really call it work). You are right about the EXOS price but we (REI) were selling last years model for $135, which I use, and the new EXOS is priced at around $220. The garage sales are a great place to pick up used gear, especially at the end of the season. Again, thanks for the informative blog.

  5. Jim Charles
    Jim Charles March 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I’ll second and third some of the other comments about REI. While their retail prices are steep, they usually come with some pretty knowledgeable folks. And the garage sale can have some great deals. I got my Osprey Atmos 65AG for $135ish. It was used once, smelled brand new, and was still clean. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but if you know what you’re looking for and get there early, you may get it like I did.

    Another option is to use Active Junky. It’s an Ebates type site for athletic/outdoor gear. So, if you buy something at Backcountry during a sale, you can usually stack another 8-10% back on top. They send out checks quarterly.

    I’m planning for next summer to take my trip, permit willing. I splurged on an Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt since my bag is relatively heavy. (The mesh back was a must for me because I tend to sweat uncomfortably with a bag that rests directly on my back.)

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