When it comes to buying supplies for recreational activities, the sky is pretty much the limit. There are a number of physical and online outlets that thrive on selling outdoor equipment, and many offer the same gear for the same price. So how do you know who to trust in terms of price and quality? The answer is not an easy one, but there are some tools that you can use in order to get the best quality gear at the best price.
Take for example, the store REI. They not only carry a lot of their own gear, but also gear from other companies. Now compare that to online outlets that have nothing but gear from other companies. You can’t necessarily trust the vendor to judge their own products without bias, but that does not necessarily mean that their gear is inferior.
So who do you trust?
Basically, when it comes to choosing which outlet to go with, customers are your best bet. Many companies have product reviews to give you an idea of what you can come to expect, but the question is whether they are reliable. Some sites will actually take down negative reviews, while others will pay people to write positive reviews. So you never know what you are getting unless you find a way to find sites that are mostly free of bias.
In this instance, outdoor forums are a great way to find reviews that are unbiased. Forums, while still subject to bias, are often not as heavily penetrated as larger websites, giving you a better idea of what people like you think about the product. When it comes to finding which ones to trust, however, it’s sort of a game of deduction. Make sure you are sure that the customer is giving their opinion and not the opinion of the vendor.