Outdoor Retailer Comparison – Policies and Perks

Outdoor retailer comparison

In our endeavors, we’ve experienced quite a few outdoor retailers.  It puts us in a good position to compare them.  Below, you’ll find our outdoor retailer comparison.  We’re sticking to retailers we’ve had experience with – Backcountry.com, Moosejaw, REI, Campsaver, EVO, Sierra Trading Post, Massey’s Outfitters, Mountain Gear, and OMC.  For each, we look at five things we think matter to the outdoor gear consumer – return policy, price match, free shipping, rewards, and sales tax.  We’ll also reveal the ownership structure, so you know if you’re supporting the guy who founded the company or some investment firm.

We’ll expand this as we deal with more retailers, but for now, we’re only including retailers we have direct experience with.  Before we begin, we hope you’ll help support Engearment by starting your gear shopping at our Gear Search.  It searches all of the retailers we review below (plus over 150 others) and lets you comparison shop between them.

Backcountry LogoBackcountry.com

Backcountry.com was founded in 1996 in a garage.  They were recently purchased by TSG Consumer Partners LLC.  TSG is a private equity fund investing mostly in consumer products.  Current investments include Charming Charlie (ugh), Planet Fitness, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  We’ve had nothing but great experiences with Backcountry over the years.

Return Policy– New, Unused gear may be returned at any time for a full refund.  Used gear must be returned within 30 days, but only for store credit.  Backcountry offers flat rate shipping for returns at $6.99, but will often provide return shipping for free if you ask.

Price Matching– Backcountry will price-match any US-based retailer within 48 hours of your purchase.

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.  They also offer promotions of free 2-day shipping periodically.

Rewards- Store credit, varying per item.  On some items, Backcountry doesn’t offer any rewards.  We’re not sure how the math works.  Credits may be redeemed at Backcountry, Competitive Cyclist, and Dogfunk.

Sales Tax- Backcountry collects sales tax for Utah and Virginia buyers.  They also politely remind residents of Colorado, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Vermont that you owe sales and use tax to your state and have to file a return and pay it.

Campsaver Logo


Campsaver is another Utah company, but this one is still locally owned.  Campsaver will usually give you a 15% coupon for signing up for emails and doesn’t seem to have an issue with you signing up multiple times.  They also run sales and send 20% off coupons frequently.  Campsaver is a dandy retailer.

Return Policy– A bit complicated:  You can return new and unused items within 60 days for a full refund; beyond 60 days, you can get store credit.  Used items may be returned within 60 days for store credit.  They do have a fit guarantee program that provides free shipping on exchanges for different sizes.

Price Matching–  Campsaver will price match any US retailer.

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.

Rewards- None

Sales Tax- No policy listed, but we expect they charge tax to Utah residents only.

Evo Logo


evo is based out of Washington State and has retail locations in Washington, Portland, OR, and Denver, CO.  They like to make grammar nazis uncomfortable by requiring that everyone use all lower-case letters when referring to them.  Good experiences with evo.

Return Policy– evo will refund new and unused items within 366 days of purchase.  They do not accept returns on used gear.

Price Matching– Match + 5%

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.

Rewards- None

Sales Tax- Washington and Colorado residents


Masseys Logo


Massey’is based in Louisiana, has retail locations around the state and is still owned by a guy named Mike Massey.  We’ve only ordered once from them, but everything arrived on time and in order.  They did charge over $6 to ship two trucker hats via “economy 10+ day” shipping.

Return Policy– New and unused items accepted up to 30 days after purchase.  You’ll receive a refund on the purchase price, minus shipping, and have to pay to ship it back.  Up to 60 days – full store credit.  Beyond 60 days – current sales price.

Price Matching– Yes, plus a coupon for 10% off your next purchase.

Free Shipping- Any order over $75.

Rewards- None

Sales Tax- Louisiana only



Moosejaw, out of Michigan, has retail stores across a few states, including Colorado, Illinois, and Missouri.  They also have some of the wackiest fun of any retailer.  Moosejaw was recently purchased by Walmart.  While we’re hesitant to recommend choosing a retailer that eventually puts dollars in Walton pockets, we still link to Moosejaw because they may have the best price on certain gear.  We’ll let you decide whether or not you want to shop there, given their owner.  If Moosejaw gets infected with Walmart-itis in the future, we may disappear them from this roundup.

Return Policy– Moosejaw will accept returns at any time if the item is in “sellable condition,” which they define as “unworn (aside from trying it on), unwashed, and devoid of any stains, scuffs, tears, or mysterious smells.”  Within 6 months, they’ll give you a refund.  After 6 months, store credit.

Price Matching– Things get complicated here, so check the link for everything.  Basically, yes, they price match and toss in an extra 1000 Moosejaw points if the item is over $100.  Suunto and Yakima are excluded.

Free Shipping- Any order over $49 and, if you buy a Moosejaw logo item, any order over $12.

Rewards- Moosejaw points– 10% back on your purchases in points and redeem for merchandise at various rates.  They also run promotions for extra points.  Moosejaw is a bit mad, however, so we’re not quite sure how it all works.

Sales Tax- Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, and Missouri

Mountain Gear Logo

Mountain Gear

Mountain Gearis another company still owned by its founder – Paul Fish.  They provide a ton of outreach and conservation and generally do good things.  Great customer service and policies.

Return Policy– Lifetime (the product’s, not yours)!  Like, how REI used to be.  Don’t abuse it.

Price Matching- Yes, up to 14 days after purchase.

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.

Rewards- None

Sales Tax- Washington only

OMC logo


OMC, a/k/a Oregon Mountain Community, Inc. is also locally owned out of Portland.  OMC has good prices and random coupons.

Return Policy– New and unused only.  Refund within 60 days, store credit up to 1 year.

Price Matching- Yes, within 72 hours of purchase.

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.

Rewards- None

Sales Tax- None – Oregon doesn’t have sales tax.

REI Logo


REIis a member co-op.  We can debate what that really means, but in theory, they’re supposed to return their profits to the members.  They also participate in huge stewardship projects and education initiatives.  REI has gotten a bit big for its britches over the last few years, but they’re still a great retailer.

Return Policy–  Within 1 year for replacement or refund.  REI used to have lifetime returns, but people abused it religiously.

Price Matching- Officially, no.

Free Shipping- Any order over $50.

Rewards– 10% dividend for members.  Membership costs $20 and lasts for life.  REI also offers a credit card, through US Bank, that provides an additional 5% on REI purchases

Sales Tax- Wherever REI has a physical presence, including retail stores or distribution centers.  If you ship to store, you’ll be charged the sales tax at the store’s rate.  Ship to home and you’ll be charged your local sales tax.


Sierra Trading Post

Sierra Trading Postsurprised us by being owned by TJX Companies, the same group that owns TJ Maxx.  Sometimes we find great deals on here, but it requires sifting through a lot of junk.

Return Policy– New and unused items only.  Within 6 months for a refund.  Over 6 months for store credit.  STP offers $695 flat rate return shipping.

Price Matching-  Officially, no, but you can do an exchange and be charged the lower price.  This makes sense only if the price difference offsets the shipping.

Free Shipping- None.

Rewards- None in store.  1% back if you use a TJX Rewards Visa

Sales Tax- Pretty much everywhere.



SunnySports seems to be somehow related to Leisure Pro, Ltd. out of New York City.  It also seems to be related to Adorama Camera, another online retailer.  Their customer service is exceptionally responsive and they gave us a discount on an order when they couldn’t confirm a price match.

Return Policy– 60 days for full refund or 120 days for store credit for unused items.  You cover return shipping.  They do offer a “Pressure-free Fit Guarantee” and say that they’ll arrange a return and shipping of another size at no additional shipping cost.

Price Matching – Match plus 5% off.

Free Shipping– Looks like free standard shipping for orders over $50, but we can’t find a policy stating that anywhere.

Rewards – None

Sales Tax – No stated policy, but it looks like taxes are collected in New York only.


4/3/2017 – updated to reflect Walmart’s purchase of Moosejaw.

Leave a Reply