Where to Buy High-Quality Used Travel Gear

Shopping sustainably has never looked so good.

Luxury goods on sale at Unclaimed Baggage's Alabama store, including purses and shoes

Lost luggage that goes unclaimed isn’t thrown out. Most of it ends up at Unclaimed Baggage, a retail warehouse in Alabama where it is professionally cleaned and sold at 50 to 80 percent off the retail price.

Courtesy of Unclaimed Baggage

The secondary market for outdoor gear like hiking boots and backpacks is robust, but those are far from the only travel goods you can score at a discount when you buy used. Everything from uber-chic suitcases to good-as-new AirPods are yours for the taking—if you know where to look.

In the past few years, many businesses have emerged to help consumers offload travel goods they no longer need, allowing someone else to scoop them up at bargain prices and help the circular economy keep growing. And while sustainability is always on our minds here at AFAR, Earth Day has us thinking extra hard about how we can reduce our carbon footprint, even if we’re still hopping on that plane.

Plus, let’s be honest, for how often you use that hiking backpack, do you really need a brand-new one? Read on to discover six of our favorite places—beyond the usual suspects like Facebook Marketplace and eBay, of course—to shop for gently used everything, from hiking boots to luxury luggage.

Back Market

The tech equipment on Back Market, a Paris-based resale site, isn’t referred to as used but “reborn.” Every item here, from cell phones to laptops, has been thoroughly checked, cleaned, and restored by experts and is graded fair, good, or excellent, depending on the appearance and technical condition of the device. Each purchase also comes with a one-year warranty, so your new-to-you earbuds should definitely make it through your vacation. And finally, sellers also must undergo a fairly rigorous onboarding process, with only about one in three making the cut.

This is one of the best sites to find verified Apple AirPods, with generally both regular and Pro wireless models available, as well as the super-sleek over-ear Max version. Other tech items available that are ideal for travel include Apple Watches, portable gaming devices, and refurbished cameras.

Green down jacket on white circle on a blue background

Patagonia sells gently-used versions of its popular Down Sweater Jacket for about 50 percent off the new price at its Worn Wear resale website.

Courtesy of Patagonia

Patagonia Worn Wear

Patagonia hiking and ski gear is on the expensive end, but the sturdy construction of its pieces means they last for years, if not decades. So, it’s no surprise the company has an entire section of its website dedicated to recirculating gear to new owners. Patagonia Worn Wear allows shoppers to both sell preloved Patagonia apparel and gear and buy at prices that are a little more palatable than the brand’s retail. Sellers can score anywhere from $10 to $100 per item in Patagonia credit. If items aren’t accepted into the program, Patagonia will return or recycle the gear so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

While the selection here includes items for men, women, and kids, size availability can be quite limited. But because the merchandise is constantly being refreshed, it’s worth checking the site frequently to see what’s been added. Ski jackets, one of the most expensive items to buy new, are luckily in abundance here.

REI Used Gear

  • Buy now: Osprey backpacks, from $58 (new from $130), rei.com/used

Unlike Patagonia’s site, the REI Used Gear section online encompasses a wide variety of brands and includes men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, plus gear ranging from tents to snowshoes to cycling accessories. The team inspects gently used items and selects the best for the site, with sellers getting credit for REI, and buyers grabbing discounts on some of the best outdoor brands, including the North Face, Marmot, and Columbia.

For those planning a backpacking trip, or anyone who prefers to travel sans wheels, the selection of packs here is fantastic. There are often dozens of models available from top-tier brands like Osprey or the North Face, in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

Rimowa Original Cabin Carry On in Silver in a white circle on gray background

The Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On retails new for $1,430. On the RealReal, these bags are available for hundreds less.

Courtesy of Rimowa

The RealReal

  • Buy now: Rimowa rolling suitcases, from $491 (new from $1,375), therealreal.com

Luxury label hunters know the RealReal is a fantastic repository for deep discounts on used items from brands like Prada, Hermès, and Gucci. And while clothing, handbags, and shoes may be the site’s bread and butter, don’t overlook its luggage section. There is a sizable selection of everything from posh Louis Vuitton carry-ons to Tumi duffels and sleek hard-shell Rimowas, including some of the coveted pieces from the brand’s collaborations with Supreme and Dior.

The RealReal also prides itself on having one of the most rigorous authentication processes and quality checks in the market. Every single item on the site is checked by one of over 100 brand-specific authenticators before it’s listed for sale.

Of course, you can also go directly to the source with some brands. For example, Rimowa gives its preowned aluminum luggage the circular model treatment through its Re-Crafted program. After buying back used aluminum suitcases from customers, Rimowa verifies their authenticity and then, depending on the condition, refurbishes and sells them at a discounted price. (Suitcases that don’t pass muster are dismantled and recycled.) There are currently no Re-Crafted bags for sale via Rimowa’s website, but you can sign up to be notified when new bags arrive.

Unclaimed Baggage

Ever wonder what happens to unclaimed baggage? While most bags that get lost on flights eventually make it back to their owners, about 7 percent (or 1.8 million) are completely lost worldwide each year. After a piece of mystery luggage has been sitting for more than three months in a storage facility, airlines are allowed to get rid of it. In the United States, much of it is sent to Unclaimed Baggage, a retail warehouse in Scottsboro, Alabama, that sorts and repurposes lost luggage. (Items forgotten at security checkpoints, left in overhead bins or seat-back pockets, or abandoned by fliers at the airport to meet weight requirements also typically end up at Unclaimed Baggage.)

Items that the company deems sellable are professionally cleaned and sold at 50 to 80 percent off the retail price online and at the brick-and-mortar store. There are some good finds: A recent search uncovered not just one but two Louis Vuitton spinner suitcases for 40 percent off retail and a vintage Yves Saint Laurent leather duffel bag for 20 percent off retail.

One brown Merrell Hiking Boot

Merrell may have discontinued its Ontario Mid Hiking boot—but you can find like-new versions on Poshmark for a fraction of the original cost.

Courtesy of Merrell


  • Buy now: Merrell hiking boots, from $12 (new from $105), poshmark.com

With over 200 million items for sale, it’s easy to get overwhelmed perusing the listings on Poshmark, a social marketplace for selling items from person to person. Understandably, that means there’s no intermediary checking quality or authenticity, but the flip side is that it’s possible to find incredible deals on, well, almost anything.

Merrell hiking boots, for example, which are one of AFAR’s favorites in the category, can be had for under $15 in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes (of course, less-used models will cost more). All of the listings also come with a “make an offer” option, which can drive the price down even further. (Hint: Sellers often accept lowball offers more readily when the item has been on sale for weeks.) In short, what you’re looking for—gear-wise—is probably here; you just have to hunt for it.

Bailey Berg contributed reporting to this article. This article was originally published in 2023; it was updated on April 22, 2024, with current information.

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