It’s Black Friday week, which in the outdoor space means, “here’s a few mediocre deals to go with the killer clearance we’ve already been running all fall.” There’s not the same doorbuster approach that goes on in the consumer electronics business, so no need to camp out for days in front of REI. Some outdoor retailers have already launched their deals for the week, while others will layer on another 10-15% later in the week. Before diving into the clearance scores that are already live, I wanted to share a few tips on Black Friday & Cyber Monday shopping.
- All 2019-2020 skis and boots use a MAP (minimum advertised price) policy, and most in-store inventory is this year’s gear where they have comprehensive sizing. As someone who got my boots fit on Black Friday a few years ago, it’s one of the most disappointing shopping experiences. You wait hours to get rushed service and ultimately pay full price. If you’re boot shopping, schedule an appointment during your lunch break on a week day and get your money’s worth at MSRP. For skis, shops with last year’s models will mostly have them online, but the discounts are still fairly small (usually an additional 10% off fall clearance prices).
- For apparel, 20-30% off is a pretty shitty discount. I keep Shit on Sale at 40% off or more for apparel and find better bargains in June than most of these sites offer on their “biggest sale of the year.” The difference is that planned promotions are designed to be profitable, whereas clearance needs to make a little bit more money than straight up torching the overstock.
- For wording like “Up to 70% off” – only a percentage of items have to hit that deep of a discount, the rest can be pretty meager deals.
- This is the best time to buy a beacon-shovel-probe package since many of the major brands do 20% off their packages. Otherwise, they only go on discount when they’re going obsolete (in which case, you don’t want them anyways).
On to the deals!
Shit on Sale is a monthly round up of damn good deals scraped from the clearance rack. I’m a huge fan of getting the best quality you can get with your budget, and finding items that’ll serve you for years to come. As an eco-conscious reminder, remember to buy what you truly need and pass along or recycle any items you’re replacing. All prices pulled from 11/25.
- Prana Halle Pants – $39.98 (MSRP $84.95; 53% off): These are a fan favorite in the women’s hiking and climbing community because they’re lightweight yet super durable. Even better, they come in long and short inseams, as well as plus sizes, and there’s no extra upcharge for their size extensions.
- Marmot Alpha Jacket 60 – $59.99 (MSRP $165; 64% off): The face fabric on this is Pertex Quantum Air, a super breathable, yet durable and wind resistance material that’s perfect for your uphill insulation layer. The insulation is Alpha, but the fact that it’s exposed on the inside of the jacket makes me 99% sure this is Alpha Direct and Marmot just isn’t taking credit for it. It’s essentially the same materials as the Outdoor Research Ascendant, which won several awards and accolades. It’s warm, light, breathable, durable, weather resistant. It features some of the more advanced face fabric and insulation on the market. My boyfriend picked the OR version up last fall and gets pretty heavy use out of it, but it still doesn’t show any signs of wear & tear.
- Men’s Marmot Alpha Jacket 60 – $89.99 (MSRP $165; 51% off): See above; just a little less of a discount for the on the men’s side.
- Marmot Trestles Elite 20 – $64.99 (MSRP $158.97; 59% off): This is the essentials for a backpacking starter kit. It’s compressible and light enough – by no means to the level of a $350 high loft down bag, but you won’t look back at your first backpacking trips and judge your past self for being clueless. It’s also a 20 degree comfort rating, with a lower limit down to 7 degrees, which puts it in line performance wise with the men’s bags rated to the single digits. (For dudes, most brands report the lower limit).
- Patagonia Descensionist Jacket – $109.96 (MSRP $449; 76% off): This was already a good deal when it made the September list, but it’s dropped another $70 since. The entire Descensionist line is getting a facelift under the new name, SnowDrifter. It’s just small changes to the original. It’s 3L H2NO shell construction, so it’ll do double duty inbounds or out.
- Marmot Palisades Ski Pant – $99.99 (MSRP $225; 55% off): These are a 2-layer Gore Tex shell construction ski pant, which is perfect for the PNW, where the skiing is wet and warm. The waterproofing’s strong, and the lack of insulation means you can swap out your bottom layers for the occasional cold snap.
- Lands’ End 800 Fill Power Down Jacket – $59.97 with promo code (MSRP $119.95; 50% off): Super steep price on a down jacket? Must be bulky and heavy (nope). Must be less durable polyester face fabric (nope). Must be unethically sourced down (also wrong). Other than the recycled fabric and a little rectangular logo, it’s super similar to the Patagonia Down Sweater. Even better, it’s available in plus (already exciting) on sale (that combo never happens) at $64.97.
- Patagonia Powslayer Pant – $219 (MSRP $549; 60% off): These are the perfect hardshell pant for sweaty uphill skiers with a super breathable Gore Tex Pro membrane and zipper vents on the legs. Several Gore Pro pants exist on the market, but Patagonia is the only one that integrates 100% recycled materials into their fabric.
- Marmot Cirel Pants – $159.99 (MSRP $500; 68% off): The Cirel collection is a great choice for high-output skiers who still want an option with insulation. The Polartec Neoshell membrane has moderate waterproofing, but really stands out for its breathability and stretch. Likewise, the Alpha insulation is a nubby, fleece-like backer that breathes incredibly well and it doesn’t require an inner liner like the more traditional fill-style insulation does, so that’s an extra advantage for moisture transfer.
- Marmot Cirel Jacket – $158 (MSRP $550; 71% off): Same construction as the pants, listed above. If I was replacing my ski coat today, this one would definitely be on the short list.
- Lands’ End Thermaskin Heat Base Layer Separates – $14.97 (MSRP 29.95; 50% off): I’m a total sucker for cute patterned base layers, and I think these are adorable. They wick and stretch, and they’re nice and thin, which is an important factor in their ability to dry quickly. They’re also available in plus, for $17.47. I’m dying for the skier print pair if anyone wants to twin.
- Atomic Vantage Series: Atomic’s all-mountain series has 3 options on steep discount, starting with the 86C. This is a solid option for intermediates or athletic beginners. The 97C offers a wider platform for more off-piste riding, and would make a great option for a 50/50 touring ski at around 6.5lb. And the 107 C rounds out the women’s series with a bit more of a freeride, off-piste design.
- Dynastar Legend Series: I have a soft spot for Dynastar since my first skis were the Legend’s predecessor, the Cham. They’ve made a lot of upgrades since then, adjusting the tip rocker and adding titanal laminates (except the 84, which is all wood) to give them better stability, but they still have a tight turn radius that makes them super quick and nimble. Titanal is also one of the more expensive components a manufacturer can add to a ski, so it’s rare to see these so deeply discounted.
- Head Total Joy & Great Joy: The widest models (left, RIP Big Joys) in the Head Joy line are phasing out as the Kore line is added to the women’s lineup. There’s a reviewer in the industry who waxes poetic on these quite beautifully and finds them to be one of the most under-appreciated skis by customers.
- Salomon Lux – $279.99 (Reg. Retail $499.99; 44% off): These were 2nd runner up for my touring setup at weights easily under 7lbs. They’re on the narrower side, but the shape is definitely geared towards soft snow, so they’ll be fine on all but the deepest powder days. They’re a great option for an advancing intermediate who needs a tool to start exploring off-piste or with uphill skiing, but wants to keep the costs reasonable since something wider/longer/more advanced is probably on the docket within the next season or two.