Always On Sale: Find great gear for cheap on eBay

Peter B. Mathiesen saved more than seven hundred dollars on seven great products by shopping for them on the online auction site. The gear he purchased was either new or barley used. See what he found, and read his tips for finding your own deals.

Field & Stream Online Editors

From a new GPS to an old wool jacket, you can find anything on eBay. Last year, the Internet auction behemoth sold sporting goods worth billions of dollars. If you're not shopping on the "Bay," you're missing some great deals.

To prove how much you can save, the F&S; editors gave me a budget to buy the best hunting gear bargains I could find. Over a two-day period, I spent $368.82 (including shipping, which is factored into the amounts shown) on new or barely used gear. I also found the retail price for each item and determined that my collection was worth $1,132. Before shipping it all to the office to be photographed, I inspected each item. Here's the haul:

Total I Spent On this Gear: $368.82
Total retail value: $1,132

Badlands Superday Backpack
Badlands makes excellent packs, and this one arrived new with the tags on, having never seen a day on the trail. Although the $14 shipping charge was a little steep, I still saved over $60.
What I Paid: $92.89
Retail: $160

Burris Landmark II Binoculars 8x32
The only risk I took was on a new but low-end pair of binoculars from Burris. I figured for the price, they'd be a good beater set that I could stand to lose or drive over with the truck (I've done both before). They turned out to be much sharper than expected, and I'll use them this bow season.
What I Paid: $57.95
Retail: $140

Bushnell/Cabela's Trophy Red Dot Scope
Listed as used, this red dot was sold by a guy who just hadn't found the time to mount it on his shotgun. Now awaiting its place on my 870 for spring turkey season, it came in perfect condition with all the paperwork, some batteries, and a set of rings.
What I Paid: $40.00
Retail: $90

Lowrance iFinder Hunter GPS
This lightly used unit showed up in stellar condition, with the original packaging, instructions, and an extra mapping card included. At this price, I don't mind that it's last year's model, and I'm sure it will find a spot in my deer pack for several seasons.
What I Paid: $83.55
Retail: $300

Gerber Torch Tanto Serrated Knife
This tactical-style knife was delivered brand-new and still in its box. It has an evil serrated edge with an extremely sharp pry point -- an enormously practical tool for the price. What I Paid: $16.49
Retail: $64

Mossy Oak APX Velocity Jacket
The APX Velocity is one of my all-time favorite deer hunting jackets. I chose the メBuy Nowモ option (meaning I paid a set price instead of bidding). It had been used one season. The seller stated that he had cut off the neck gaiter because it was too uncomfortable. Not a problem to me; I'd made the same modification in the past.
What I Paid: $42.00
Retail: $239

Irish Setter Deer Tracker Boots
Possibly the best deal I found, these uninsulated boots have Gore-Tex waterproofing and a cork insole. They will last for years and were received in brand-new condition with original tags and packaging.
What I Paid: $35.94
Retail: $139 [pagebreak] Peter's Tips For Buying on eBay
Before you start bidding, choose a few categories and study them diligently. Watch what others do, and see what comparable items sell for. Remember, not everything is a bargain.

There are a few "Buyer Bewares." Never bid on an item without a clear understanding of what the total shipping charge is. A rod my seem like a deal, but a $30.00 shipping and handling charge may take the steam out of your deal.

Although it is less common on small ticket items, be cautious of second chance offers; they may be fraudulent. When in doubt, contact the buyer directly through the ad.

"Feedback" is the equivalent of sellers' and buyers' credit ratings. Look for sellers that have stellar feedback; item as described; a great value; fast shipping; you have foundd the right vendor. Be wary of feedback scores lower than 97%. And, if the seller has just 3 feedback ratings but is listing a dozen items, consider that a red flag.

Four Golden Rules
Start with small ticket items. Never assume. Always pay promptly. Communicate clearly with your seller.

--PM