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

Despite removing its personal ad section — beloved by some and feared by others — Craigslist remains an incredible tool for buying and selling used outdoor gear. My experience using Craigslist to find and recycle outdoor gear reminds me that the internet has delivered some victories. Craigslist’s throwback, ’90s-style site is easy to navigate and even has some hidden features that will make finding sweet deals even easier. Read on for some advice about selling outdoor gear on Craigslist.

Time your posts: Sell your gear during the right season.

Although folks who use Craigslist may seem like outliers, their interests tend to correspond with broader trends. Timing posts based on the appropriate season can help you connect with more potential buyers. Instead of posting your used bike in November, wait until spring when more people are excited about hitting the trails.

Be flexible on price.

Just because you bought a pair of brand-new skis for $900 doesn’t mean you’ll easily fetch even half of that; items depreciate quickly. Perhaps Craigslist self-selects for cheapskates. It’s often better to set prices at attractive rates and connect with buyers quickly. If you end up losing money, you can still feel good for your generous recycling.

Provide lots of pictures. 

Like people elsewhere on the internet, those browsing Craigslist have incredibly short attention spans. Take snappy, colorful photos to draw them to your post. Good pictures answer many buyers’ potential questions and help honestly convey the condition of your product.

Write compelling descriptions.

Providing plenty of details about your product and going to the extra effort of researching specifications, model year and size information will help buyers easily decide whether your item is the right fit for them. This is your one sales pitch. Tell a story with your description and you’ll soon draw in all sorts of eager outdoor enthusiasts who are flush with cash.

Be honest.

Stay true to the Craigslist peace sign logo. Craigslist runs on karma. Be honest about why you’re selling products, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

On the flip side, here is some advice for buying used outdoor gear on Craigslist.

Do your research.

If you want to maintain any of your focus, it helps to research before you begin searching. Know what you are looking for, what products are good substitutes, and what to avoid before looking. If you’re buying ski boots, it might help to try out several pairs at a local shop and see if the size that’s available actually fits. Read reviews, see what complaints other buyers have and decide if it’s worth the risk of buying used. The more you know about a product, the better you will be at assessing its value.

Ask questions.

As with buying a home, Craigslist buyers never have perfect information. Sellers may be getting rid of their bike because the whole thing is about to fall apart. Asking your seller questions about the product’s history, why she is selling it and what is wrong with it can help you gauge its condition.

Try it on!

Try items on. Just because you may feel rushed, doesn’t mean you should buy without testing the item. If you’re buying a pair of ski boots, consider doing a shell fit to see how the size corresponds to your feet; walk around, flex your toes, and try to understand how this item will feel after several hours of wearing it, not five minutes. Some sellers may let you take their bike, skis, or other product for a test ride if you leave them with collateral.

Negotiate.

Unlike most stores, many items are flexibly priced. Use your power as a buyer to negotiate. If an item has been listed for sale for several months, you have even more negotiating power.

Save your searches.

One of the joys of Craigslist is its simplicity. However, if you go to the trouble of creating an account, you can access helpful features, like the ability to save a search. Simply type in what you’re looking for and Craigslist will notify you when someone posts in your area. This feature can save the hassle of checking every day.

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