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REI Garage Sale - Urban Camping

  • Dec 27, 2013 · 5:00 PM
  • REI

After hearing about some of the incredible deals at the REI Garage Sale from fellow NTO-er Christy, I can't not participate!

The deals to be had are ridiculous.  $300 backpacks for $75, $50, $30...titanium cooking stuff that may have a dent in it, $5.  High-dollar tents for 75% off.

It's a madhouse, and people camp out the night before to get a spot close to the front.  And yes, that's the plan.  Camp out the Friday night before the garage sale.  By actually bringing a tent and sleeping bag and camping on REI's sidewalk.

Remind you of Black Friday?  Yeah, it's like that.  But instead of camping outside of a department store, waiting to score a deal on a $20 breadmaker, we're going to score deals on stuff we can actually use.

From my second-hand knowledge of how this works:  People camp out in order of arrival the night before.  The folks seem to be well behaved and orderly and obey the social mores of 'cutting in line'.

At 8:00 am on Saturday, an REI employee hands out 130 numbered and colored tickets.  They hand out 130 of one color, then 130 of another color... At that point, your place in line is secured.

At 10:00 am, the doors open, and all 130 colored tickets handed out to the people at the front of the line are allowed in.  It's a mad dash to the goods upstairs, and you have 30 minutes to decide what you want, pay, and get out.  Then the next 130 people are allowed in...

Questions?  Please post in the comments below!

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  • Jason

    I just arrived to the Plano store and the line is only about 50 or so deep. How long is the dallas line?

    December 28, 2013

    • Jason

      Hey Ellen.
      Yes, Plano had the same garage sale. Plano doesn't have a separate room to store the stuff so it was spread out throughout the store. Tents were with tents, shoes in shoe section, etc. I didn't make it to the section with cooking supplies so I don't know what they had at that store.
      Dallas is much more organized due to having a specific number of people going through in a block of time. Plano, being the Black Friday mass entrance, allows anyone the chance of getting something if you go to that section first.
      Plano was crowded around popular items. The sleeping bag section had many people packed around it! So it's hard to get to them with all the people looking at a bag, putting it back, looking at another, putting that back, etc.
      Luckily, everyone was still very polite and kind even with the haste everyone moved with. I probably won't do the Dallas sale since I'm not fond of camping outside a store overnight.

      December 30, 2013

    • Ellen

      Thanks for the info, Jason. I will be hitting the Plano store the next time they do their sale (if my boys are with their dad) to see if they have any decent cookware, but I had a GREAT time camping out at the store with one of my boys.

      December 30, 2013

  • Jason

    Ok, so how do you find a slow leak in a sleeping pad? I've confirmed it's existence but can't find the source.

    December 29, 2013

    • Susan

      Smart! Wish I'd stuck around for the sales.

      December 29, 2013

    • Jason

      Didn't know of the soapy water trick. I'll try that. Thanks!

      December 30, 2013

  • john t.

    hey, let's hear about the deals !!!!

    December 28, 2013

    • Pedro F.

      Got a Gregory backpack I think it's 70liter pack for $49 and passed it on to a friend. Unused Patagonia hiking shoes for my wife. $38. Lowepro tech bag $19 from original $69. My friend found 2 ultra light chairs that works great!

      December 29, 2013

    • Pedro F.

      @Della, thanks for sharing hand warmers!! You are so kind!! Btw, I want to make an offer with one of your stuff. I am madly in love with the Osprey aether 70 pack. I tried it many times in the store, it is absolutely perfect for my body but not willing to pay current store price. My offer to you is $150. Haha I must be desperate. Anyway, I enjoyed the whole experience. My first REI garage sale experience.

      December 29, 2013

  • Ellen

    Hoping to find what I was looking for but no such luck.

    December 29, 2013

  • Miranda

    Has a fun time, got some really great bargains, and am set for the upcoming base camping, backpacking, and kayak camping trips! Thanks Della!

    December 28, 2013

    • Miranda

      Thanks to Kristie for sharing her experiences and wisdom! Definitely felt prepared for this event.

      December 28, 2013

  • Kurt C.

    Hey, all of you brave souls who made it on time...what is the line looking like right about now? Thinking of sneaking down there and claiming my spot.

    December 27, 2013

    • Kurt C.

      When do they open the doors? Someone said eight, someone said nine and someone said ten.

      December 28, 2013

    • Kristie

      10. Most of the group is near the front of the building, on the west side, beside the handicap spaces.

      December 28, 2013

  • Susan

    Anybody here? Line is around the building

    December 27, 2013

  • Adam

    I'm here but didn't read the fine print and have to work tomorrow so maybe I'll get done and make it back for leftovers

    December 27, 2013

  • Kristie

    I'm number 4!

    December 27, 2013

    • Della M.

      Oh wow! We're on our way. Stuck in 183 traffic.

      December 27, 2013

    • Kristie

      The line is at about 20 or so now, it isn't too bad

      December 27, 2013

  • Ellen

    Is anyone bringing any kids? One of my 7 year olds wants to come with me. I think he will be bored, but????

    December 27, 2013

    • Kristie

      I'm heading up after lunch. It can get boring, I brought some poker cards and chips, my laptop, iPad, a book and some board games. Some people bring frisbees, footballs and stuff like that of they have younger ones. It can get boring, but shouldn't if the group is entertaining! I'll probably take a nap after I set up and am waiting on everyone! I'll put a blue jacket on top of my one person tent so you guys can identify me! Or just post comments on here......

      December 27, 2013

  • Ellen

    How are we going to meet up so that we are all together?

    December 27, 2013

  • Nicole

    I feel so excited to be a part of this. I have never done the camping in front of a store before but this feels like something I should do!

    November 15, 2013

    • Ellen

      Anyone want to meet up in Denton or Lewisville and ride with me? I am assuming the "buddy" system is the way to go with this?

      December 25, 2013

    • Ellen

      If anyone wants to meet up, call me @[masked] and let's talk.

      December 25, 2013

  • Miranda

    So how exactly does this work. The store doesn't close until 10p. Do we set up tents at 5?

    December 22, 2013

    • Miranda

      Speaking of iPad... There wouldn't happen to be electrical outlets avail?

      December 23, 2013

    • Kristie

      I don't believe there are any outlets available, so come charged up!

      December 24, 2013

  • Win M.

    Della, do we have to be a member of REI just to go inside the store? Do you know the cost of membership?

    December 22, 2013

    • Kristie

      You can go in and shop the sale, you just have to have a membership to actually check out. They will be glad to sell you the membership at the register!

      December 22, 2013

    • Kristie

      $20 for lifetime membership and you get 10% back on your purchases each year in a dividend you can turn around and use in the store like a gift card

      December 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just realized its a members only event. Is that right?

    December 16, 2013

    • Jason

      It also gets you a kick back (on selected items) and you can climb the rock wall free on weekends ($5 per person value).

      December 19, 2013

    • Joel

      Holy cow, they charge for membership? I was thinking you just had to buy something from them. Then again, I have been a member since before they had stores in Texas and were selling climbing supplies way back before Jesus was born.

      December 22, 2013

  • Teresa

    I had to work last time and got there late in the day, but I still got a slightly damaged $800 canoe for $50!

    2 · December 3, 2013

    • Teresa

      Old Town Saranac 160. The hull is thermoformed Polyethylene. Seats 3.

      December 6, 2013

    • Jason

      Nice deal!

      December 19, 2013

  • Jason

    I'm not gonna camp but I'll go check it out.

    November 18, 2013

  • Miranda

    I'm going to guess that we should be considerate of other campers and not bring spacious mansions ie 7-8 persons tents? :)

    November 11, 2013

    • Miranda

      Would that be considered polar bear paddling? :).

      1 · November 17, 2013

    • Kristie

      You'll never hear "excuse me....I'm sorry..." So many times! Elbows are flying and people are bumping into each other but it's the most polite group you'll ever mosh with!

      3 · November 18, 2013

  • Kristie

    I had a great time camping out for the last garage sale! We had pizza delivered to us on the sidewalk, watched Netflix on our devices, socialized with other campers and made lots of new friends. Best of all, scored some really good deals on gear, even got my eno double nest for $15, vibrims for $10, packs, tents, clothes.....make sure your tent will fit entirely on the sidewalk or it will become awkward. The early birds have the shaded side of the building in the mornings, which can be very cold. There was a portopotty on site last time but no water.

    November 14, 2013

    • Kristie

      As long as you are camped in a group, people come and go on food and coffee runs all the time. You'll get to know everyone around you, people generally don't mind as long as you are in camp for the majority of time.

      November 15, 2013

    • Miranda

      Thanks again Kristie. That's a relief!

      November 15, 2013

  • Miranda

    Is this date confirmed? I pulled this off REI.com: "Description: All merchandise is sold as is. All sales are final. Show up early for the best selection. You must be a member of the co-op to shop this sale. You can join the day of the sale. The dates for the sales are as follows: Plano - June 11-13, September 24-26 and December 3-5. REI Dallas Garage Sales are June 23 and September 29th."

    November 10, 2013

    • Della M.

      Thanks for posting the info about being a co-op member to participate in the Garage Sale.

      Yes the date is confirmed for December 28. http://www.rei.com/st...­

      November 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Well... who wants to organize it?

    January 18, 2011

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