December 2, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Theo Ollier | Photo by Katherine Beard

With colder weather rapidly approaching and an influx of students who may never have experienced a Colorado winter, I thought that it would be appropriate to create an accessible guide to buying outdoor gear in Colorado Springs.

It is easy not to know gear stores in Colorado Springs, especially as an underclassman, when campus has enough going on and access to a car is nonexistent. Colorado Springs offers a wide array of options in terms of outdoor gear stores, from retailers like REI to used options like Mountain Equipment Recyclers, and I will be discussing the affordability, quality, distance from campus, and other notable attributes of these locations.

Even if you are not going to be frequenting the ski slopes this winter, an adequate insulated synthetic or down jacket, snow boots, insulated gloves, and other warm articles of clothing are essential.

When looking for new high-quality gear, REI is a great option that will likely have all the items that one could hope for. Singular down jackets or waterproof hard-shell jackets will cost hundreds of dollars but will last for years and there will be an ample supply of brands and sizes available.

Another option for new winter gear is Mountain Chalet, located in downtown Colorado Springs. Mountain Chalet has all the winter gear that one could want, as well as a wide selection, at a steep cost. This gear shop has all the popular high-quality brands of jackets, boots, gloves, and virtually any other gear necessary for the Colorado winter.

However, the prices are similar to that of REI and Mountain Chalet is best for students who have no problem spending hundreds of dollars on a jacket or upwards of $100 on a pair of gloves alone. On another note, it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for here and it is only a short PikeRide away from campus.

This pricing is not realistic for students who do not have unlimited money to spend on name-brand gear, and the Colorado Springs REI is located about eight miles from campus. One way to avoid the prices of new REI gear is to shop on the REI Used Gear website. This portion of REI features used gear originally bought from REI, refurbished, and sold at a discounted price. For someone looking for high-quality winter gear without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money or travel to a physical store, the used gear website is a great option.

Additionally, Patagonia features a Worn Wear website with a vast collection of used clothing at a fraction of their main site’s prices with helpful descriptions of the clothing’s condition.

Mountain Equipment Recyclers, on the other hand, is perfect for someone who is looking for good deals as well as top of the line gear. MER is a healthy blend of new and used gear, primarily made up of used clothing, shoes, and ski gear with new items like sleeping bags and backpacking backpacks.

The main positives of MER are that it has items of similar quality to stores like REI or Mountain Chalet, the prices are extremely discounted, and there is an ample supply of necessary winter gear like insulated coats, hard-shell jackets, and snowpants. The only downside to MER is that it is a bit further from campus for those without a car, but for the quality and deals it is worth the longer bike ride. Lastly, finding every single item needed for winter may be unrealistic here but there is a high chance of finding a few unexpectedly great things.

Another used gear store in Colorado Springs is Gearonimo Sports, located roughly three miles from campus. If you are looking for discounted ski gear as well as winter clothing, this is the place to go. In addition to a large supply of used skiing equipment, Gearonimo’s has more than enough winter gear at affordable rates similar to MER. There is also Pure Bouldering Gym connected to the store, which is a small climbing gym that has indoor and outdoor climbing options.

For those new to Colorado Springs or those simply looking for some last-minute winter gear options before it gets too cold, there are multiple accessible routes to take. To do almost any outdoor activity in the winter in Colorado, obtaining at least a few quality pieces of warm-weather clothing is a necessity. If nothing else, I wish to help increase knowledge of what outdoor gear options exist in Colorado Springs as well as make the buying process less of a burden timewise and financially.

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