Buying cheap outdoor clothing for a family camping trip makes a lot of sense - as long as the clothing is of good quality.
And therein lies the dilemma!
Good quality gear works well, keeps you warm and comfortable, and lasts for a long time.
A single item of good quality kids' outdoor gear can cost an outrageous sum!
Kids play hard when they go camping.
They have adventures. They get dirty. Their clothes do not stay neat and tidy.
You don't want to pay a fortune for something that is going to be trashed!
I have found the perfect answer to this dilemma - one that allows me to dress my children in good quality outdoor clothing gear while not straining our budget or getting stressed.
I am amazed at the good quality gear that I find regularly, for a tiny fraction of what it costs new.
For the same amount of money, you could go to a discount store and buy a new article that will fall apart with hard use - or you could buy a good quality used article that will last for a long time.
If you've just spent $100 on your child's fleece outfit, and he spends the afternoon rolling around in the dirt, you're going to be somewhat choked.
If that same outfit cost $5, you can relax and let him enjoy his fun.
Buying secondhand isn't just good for you and your wallet.
It's good for the charity that runs the thrift store. It's good for the planet. Reusing clothes, rather than buying new, is a good use of our limited resources.
Some things are hard to find secondhand, and some things - like bike helmets - shouldn't be bought used unless you know their history.
If you live in an area where lots of people do lots of outdoor activities, like I do, you'll probably find lots of outdoor gear in the thrift stores and at garage sales.
But what if you don't?
When we make our annual trip to the big city, I always arrange to spend a couple of hours at one of the big department store-sized thrift stores, like Value Village.
I always find enough good quality cheap outdoor gear to last us for the
next few seasons. If I find a great item that is too big for my
children, I buy it anyway and store it away for the future.
Buying good cheap outdoor clothing allows me to relax, knowing that my children are dressed warmly and comfortably - and knowing that I can easily and cheaply replace any items that don't survive the trip!
(P.S. I buy good used gear for myself, too, not just for my kids!)