Used Sports Equipment

Rebecca Wienbar

As recreational activities, sports and outdoor adventures have grown in popularity, so has the market for recreational equipment. Suddenly, going for a camping trip or taking up a new sport isn’t quite so simple as it used to be – now you have to be equipped. And while the irony of SUV commercials – in which people drive these gas-guzzling monsters to bike or rock-climb in environments portrayed as pristine and peaceful – isn’t lost on everyone, fewer people have thought too closely about the intrinsic contradiction of nature sports and the market that has capitalized on their increasing popularity. This market has led people to believe that before they can go out, first they need to spend lots of money buying lots of high-tech equipment that will soon be outdated and thus in need of replacement. One way to avoid filling landfills with slightly-used and oftentimes unnecessary sports equipment is, of course, not to buy it. But in our modern capitalistic society there are some things we like to buy because they make our lives easier (when camping, I myself would much prefer a sleeping pad to the cold, hard ground), or just because we feel that we need them (bike helmets are a good thing).

So what to do? One option is to buy used, from the stores such as the ones listed below, or from your local Goodwill, neighborhood garage sale or an ad in your local paper. (The sports equipment stores in this list are not necessarily Green, but buying used is in itself a “green” activity.) Many of these stores will also lease equipment like hockey/ice skates, a good idea for children with growing feet. Another option is to buy new at places like REI; even though REI has become huge, it’s still a cooperative, has a strong environmental ethic and places a high emphasis on community involvement, community service and education (they offer free clinics). Midwest Mountaineering is out of the price range of the average Minneapolitan, but they are an environmentally responsible store, they do offer classes to the public (some free, some not) and Thrifty Outfitters, located inside the store, offers used, more affordable, equipment. Lastly, if you know you won’t be using the equipment more than a few times, look into rentals – many sports equipment stores, including REI and Midwest Mountaineering, offer rental equipment.

Don’t forget – when you feel it’s time to get rid of something (though there’s nothing wrong with using something until it wears out), rather than throwing it away, sell it back or trade it in at a used sports equipment store or donate it to a Goodwill store in your area. And remember, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money or own the latest equipment to get some exercise or enjoy nature.

Where to Buy Used Sports Equipment:

Instant Replay Sports Equipment
2 metro locations including:
2117 West 90 St.
Bloomington, MN 55431

Outdoors Again
7701 Logan Avenue S.
Richfield, MN 55423

Play It Again Sports
19 metro locations including:
3505 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

REI – Recreational Equipment Inc.
2 metro locations including:
750 West 79 St.
Bloomington, MN 55420

Score Sports
18110 Highway 55
Plymouth, MN 55446

Thrifty Outfitters
(located inside Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Equipment)
309 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454

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