Kirstie and I were leaving for Washington in 3 days. Kirstie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and would be at home there, but I knew that I wanted to fit in I needed to do three things, eat lots of granola, get some Chacos, and buy a Patagonia jacket. I had cruised eBay for a Patagonia Torrentshell (a rain jacket) for weeks but hadn’t been able to find a color I liked in my size. The few that did come up were selling for over 75% of retail! Imagine buying a used jacket for only 25% off the new price! The thing is, I gladly would have paid that amount if I knew it would be there in time. Instead, I ended up buying from an outdoor website for full price and paying $25 for two day shipping. If only some eBay seller had come through for me…
As my Patagonia jacket search shows, many outdoor brands are notorious (notoriously awesome that is) for holding their resale value on the used market. I’ve seen beat up down jackets covered in patches sell for over $100 and even rain shells with broken zippers that were able to bring in $50+ Now all we need to figure out is the best way to get you a piece of that pie!
NON-BRAND THINGS TO LOOK FOR
If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you may be surprised to find that people pay just as much for outdoorsy clothing as high-end fashion clothing. Well, maybe not quite. But $400 snow-pants or $800 jackets are all within the possibilities for finding and flipping from both thrift-stores and places like Craigslist. Given that, several items that you can find for resale will be valuable no matter what brand they are. For example, a cute St. John top will always be worth selling on eBay. A top of the same cuteness made by Merona is worth absolutely nothing. While brand does matter for outdoor items, it matters far less. For example, Gore Tex is an expensive fabric. While a Patagonia Gore-Tex shell will be valuable, so will a Gore Tex shell made by Merona. So let’s talk about some of the non-brand things and types of items you should be keeping an eye for for while sourcing:
Gore-Tex is a stretched teflon fabric which allows water vapor to pass through but stops liquid. In other words, it stops rain from getting through but, when you sweat, it allow the fabric to breath so you don’t overheat. Gore-Tex was a proprietary fabric and had a corner on the market for almost 40 years. During that time, nearly every brand used Gore-Tex Fabric to create their apparel (The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Arc’Teryx, Oakley, etc.) This use was always noted by a large “Gore-Tex” brand logo on the inside of the clothing. Because Gore-Tex was a monopoly market, clothing using it was very expensive and you should look up anything you see made from Gore-Tex including coats, pants, shoes, hats, etc.
Now that the main patent has expired other companies have been able to develop their own similar fabrics but many continue to use Gore-Tex as it is recognized as quality by so many people. Also be on the lookout for other “Gore” fabric types such as Gore Windstopper.
|Anytime I see a puffy coat or jacket on the rack at a store I stop to check if it is down filled. With very few exceptions, down filled coats are almost always worth picking up. High quality jackets are often sold by “Fill Power” which you should be able to find somewhere on the jacket. Top put it simply, Fill Power is a measure of how fluffy the down is. High numbers are better. Flufflier down is warmer while not being heavier. 700 fill down is the standard of high end outdoor gear but you may find fill powers up to 900 if you’re lucky!|
|While this might be blurring the line between clothing and hardgoods, protective gear is wearable so I’m going to include it here. |
Any sort of sport specific gear has value but be on the lookout for padded snowboarding/skiing gear, padded cycling shorts and bibs, helmets, etc.
I can never figure out why thrift stores price snowsuits so low. I mean, pants and coat in one? Yes please! Let’s be honest though, average people don’t wear snowsuits. So profitable suits fit in one of two categories:
These are the brightly colored suits that are worn by teens or crazy fun loving people on exhibition ski days. They don’t have to serve any real technical purpose other than looking as rad as possible. It should go without saying that the crazier the colors and patterns the more you can get!
There are actually highly techincal snowsuits meant for serious use that sell for thousands of dollars. Worn by mountain climbers, snowmobilers, backcountry skiers, etc. they are more difficult to find but typically more valuable than the “fun” variety. While we haven’t found any super expensive ones, we have found suits made of both Gore-Tex and Down which sold for several hundred dollars.
|LOOKOUT FOR LOGOS!For some reason, every company that decides to make promotional jackets for it’s employees chooses an outdoor brand. At least half of the time we pull a Patagonia item on the rack it has a logo on the sleeve or chest. While these usually does decrease the items value a small amount, it is rarely a deal-breaker. We still pick up logo-ed items and just make sure to include “*LOGO” in the title and snap a close-up picture of it.|
OUTDOOR GEAR TERMINOLOGY
Outdoor peeps are a particular lot and want what they want. The better you can understand and describe the items that you’re sourcing and listing, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to get eyeballs on your listing and money in your pocket.
Soft-Shell jackets are typically not waterproof but are highly breathable. They function more like a fleece jacket than a Hard-Shell and tend to feel softer, hence the name. Softshells tend to be made of less technical fabric and are usually worth less than hard shells.
In the simpliest terms, Hard-Shells are coats or jackets that are meant to keep the rain off. They usually have hoods and are made of an expensive stiff fabric such as Gore-Tex.
Puffer jackets are the easiest to recognize…they’re puffy. “Puffer” can be used to describe both down and polyfill jackets but, if you’re jacket has goose down in it be sure to include “goose down puffer” in the title.
5 THINGS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR TITLE
More that perhaps any other clothing item, your title is incredibly important for selling outdoor clothing. You may get away with a title like “Super Cute J.Crew Top Blue *FREE SHIPPING*” normally but that won’t cut it here. (For more help in writing title for normal clothing check out this article) For maximum exposure (and more sales) be sure to include the following in your title.
- Brand & Style – It seems like it should go without saying but the Brand should be the very first thing in your title. Outdoor folks are very brand loyal and often want a specific thing.
For example, when I was looking for a rain-shell, nothing but a Patagonia Torrentshell would do (silly I know). However, after looking at them on outdoor websites I went to eBay and typed in the exact brand and model of what I wanted. I had money in my pocket ready to spend right then but If someone hadn’t included it in their title, their listing didn’t come up. Model is included for much the same reason. People want what they want. You can typically find the model by either typing a description of the item into eBay and hoping that someone else’s listing has the style name, or by googling the style reference number (typically found on or by the materials tag)
- Material – Whether you item is Gore-Tex, 700 Fill Goose Down, Merino Wool, or whatever, people want to know about it. When I was looking for new baselayer (a fancy word for outdoor underwear) before a mountain climbing trip this past year I knew I wanted something made of Merino Wool because of its specific properties. However, I didn’t really care about brand in this case so I simply wanted the cheapest baselayer made of Merino.
- Special Features (hood, etc) – By way of another personal story, I hate jackets without hoods. I know it’s all crazy irrational preference but in my opinion, outdoor jackets without hoods are less useful and just look plain dumb. So when I was looking for a down jacket this past winter I, of course, needed one with a hood. Much to my annoyance, most people selling down jackets didn’t include in the title whether they were hooded or not! So I had to inspect the pictures of hundreds of non-hood-jacket listings to find what I was after. Whether the item you’re selling has a hood or a pair of pants, think to yourself, what are its selling points? If something wanted this specific article of clothing, what would they type in that would distinguish it from another item. The more specific you are the less competition you have and the more likely it is that someone who is looking for what you have will find your listing.
With all this focus on titles, don’t forget to take great pictures! While pictures are always important however, they are less so with outdoor gear than with normal clothing. If people are looking for something specific they mainly want to see that it is the correct thing and in good condition. So spend your time finding great things rather than tweaking your backdrop and ISO! Speaking of finding great things, I think we’re finally ready to talk about some of the best outdoor clothing brands for eBay. Let’s do this.
Kirstie has got to be sick of me finding Kuhl items to resell. Every time I come home from thrifting we have the same conversation,
“Hey I found some Kuhl pants today?
“Why are they cool?”
“I don’t know…they’re just Kuhl…” hahaaaa…
Specific BOLO Items:
- Outdoor Pants. Kuhl pants are some of the easiest outdoor items to find and we typically pick up a couple pair a week. They retail for $80-90 so don’t be tempted to short-change yourself. Price them at $30-40+shipping and just wait for them to sell.
- Every Kuhl item has a specific model name that will increase its resale value. You can usually find the model name by searching solds on eBay or (in the case of pants) simply printed on the inside.
Several brands have changed their logos or re-branded at some point in the lives but, in the case of Kuhl, they actually changed their name. Pre-KUHL they were called ALF. ALF items are still work picking up but typically don’t have the brand recognition and aren’t worth quite as much as new pieces.
Specific BOLO Items:
- Bogner makes some EXTREMELY expensive outdoor clothing. Look for embroidery, unusual patterns, and bright colors. While these are difficult ot find, some of these items can sell for $500 or more in used condition. This past winter we found matching snow pants and coat in a small girls size that sold for just under $300.
We like to think of Napapijri Geographic as the European version of The North Face. They originally produced casual wear and high quality bags but have since branched out into all types of outdoor clothing. The pullover above is by far the most common article of their clothing to be found in thrift stores.
Specific BOLO Items:
- Look for fleeces and jackets with a large flag and logo on the front. The more prominent it is the more valuable the item. Also look for normal outdoor clothing such as pants, rain shells, etc.