Arc'teryx sells pre-owned clothing at a major discount - I bought a $140 jacket for half the price and there was no difference in quality
- Arc'teryx has introduced a used clothing program - Rock Solid Used Gear - making its high-end outdoor clothes more affordable.
- Clothes are inspected and refurbished before being resold, and come with a great warranty.
- I bought two of the same jackets - one new for $140 and one used for $70 - and couldn't tell the difference between them.
- There are limited sizes and colors, and inventory is usually a season or two behind, but I think buying used gear is a good value and a great way to recycle and keep clothing out of landfills.
Outdoor enthusiasts like myself know that the clothing we wear while hiking, skiing, camping, and more isn't just about personal style. Getting frostbite at the top of a mountain peak isn't fun, so my cold-weather gear needs to keep me dry and cozy, and be durable enough too when I'm wearing it out in the woods.
There are a whole host of brands that make high-quality and technically advanced cold-weather gear, and Arc'teryx is one I especially like and trust. Unfortunately, its clothes are quite expensive, so I was thrilled when I saw that the brand introduced "Rock Solid Used Gear." It's a used-gear program that sells pre-owned clothing for a fraction of the original price.I compared a new and used version of the same product - a fleece jacket that's ideal for layering and retails for $140 new. Here's how the used version compared to the new one, and what you need to know about the pros and cons of buying used clothes from Arc'teryx.
I wore a new and used version of the same Arc'teryx jacket, and I couldn't tell which was new and which was pre-owned
To test out the Rock Solid Used Gear program, I bought a new and used version of the same midlayer - the Delta LT jacket ($140 new). Arc'teryx describes it as a "versatile, lightweight, microfleece jacket that works as a midlayer or as a standalone in cool weather," and that's pretty accurate.
On a recent camping trip to Banff, Canada, I wore it under an insulated jacket while hanging out at night and was as toasty as can be. And during the day, I threw it over a T-shirt when the weather was around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was the perfect layer to keep me warm and still look cute in photos. It was very breathable too, I didn't find myself sweating through it during the day. I plan to layer it under a waterproof jacket for skiing and hiking later in the winter.
The jacket has a trim fit; I found the mediums I bought to be flattering but not at all tight. I especially liked the tall collar as it makes it easy to layer under jackets that already have hoods (though there's a version of the Delta LT that comes with a hood). There's also a zippered pocket along the arms, a safe spot to hold keys, credit cards, or lip balm.
It's a discount that feels like a real steal since the pre-owned version doesn't seem any different from the new one. The used version was just as warm and comfortable as the new one, and I like knowing that I'm helping to keep a piece of clothing out of a landfill. When the two jackets are side-by-side, it's impossible to tell which is new and which is pre-owned.
Pre-owned items are inspected, refurbished, and covered under a limited warranty
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits and savings, buying used gear through the program comes with another perk - it's covered under a limited warranty. If anything is technically wrong with the product (as in, not related to normal wear and tear), Arc'teryx will fix it.
According to Drummond Lawson, the brand's director of sustainability, the program was created by a handful of Arc'teryx employees who wanted to keep using products longer. "In the past five years, Arc'teryx has made a series of efforts to keep its gear in good condition, such as launching care products like technical detergent and reproofing sprays, hosting wash/dry events at our stores, and publishing user care guides," he tells Insider Picks. "Selling used gear was a natural move for us. It meshes well with our factory and repair capabilities that were already doing a great job of extending the life of our products," he says.
According to Lawson, new products are added to the online used inventory every day after they've gone through a refurbishing and quality control process. Products that don't pass quality control are given to a donation partner.
There are limited sizes and colors at any given time, but the prices can't be beat
For some buyers, used gear might be an issue - but not for me.
I want to do my part in keeping products from ending up in landfills, and I think it's great to see lower prices from a brand that can be out of reach financially for casual outdoor enthusiasts.
But buying used does require some patience as there's not a huge inventory to choose from for every item. Products are added as they get sold back to the brand, so not all sizes and colors will be available at any given time.
According to Arc'teryx, midlayers and fleece jackets like the ones I bought are the items most frequently added to the used inventory, but newer designs may not be available for a year or two until shoppers have bought, worn, and sold the item back. I was eyeing the insulated Seyla Coat, but the steep price tag for a new coat put it out of my budget. No used versions are currently available, so I'll have to wait a season or two before the used versions start showing up on the Rock Solid Used Gear site.
The warranty makes me feel confident that the used clothes are are still great quality and high-performanceShoppers might find that some of the items feel "worn" in some ways, so if you love the feeling of pulling on a brand new sweater, you might be better off buying new.
But for me, the Rock Solid Used Gear program is a great value. The warranty makes me feel good that the clothes have passed quality control, and gives me confidence that they'll perform like new when I'm outdoors.
If I saw something I was really passionate about and thought it was something I'd get heavy use out of for years and years, like a new ski jacket, I might buy it new. But for layering pieces, sweaters, and everyday cold-weather gear, I'll definitely browse the Rock Solid Gear site first.
If you like the idea of buying used but aren't concerned about the brand, consider checking out the REI used-gear site. It carries clothing and gear (unlike the Rock Solid program) from lots of different brands at many price points, but without warranties
Buy used clothes from the Arc'teryx Rock Solid Used Gear program
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