How would you like to save 40%-60% off hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing, mountaineering, running, cycling, fishing and kayaking gear and apparel? There’s a good chance that you already qualify for these kinds of discounts from dozens or hundreds of manufacturers, but don’t know it.
What is a Pro Deal?
Outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers sell gear to employees and volunteers involved in outdoor recreation, emergency responders, law enforcement, outdoor related government agencies, the military, and media at wholesale prices ranging from 40-60% off MSRP. They do this because people in these professions or roles are likely to use the gear and recommend it to people who have to buy it from retailers at full price.
There are usually some strings attached:
- Pro deals are intended for you alone, and not for friends and family.
- You can’t buy heavily discounted products and then flip them on Craigslist or eBay.
- There may be limit on the number of products you can buy in one year.
- Pro pricing is usually offered to full-time or part-time, non-temporary employees who work within the outdoor industry. There are some major exceptions to this, so keep reading.
Who Qualifies for Pro Deals?
While it depends on the manufacturer, if you work for an outdoor gear or apparel manufacturer or an outdoor retailer, chances are pretty good that you qualify for manufacturer pro deals. The same holds for accredited outdoor media professionals including reporters, producers, editors and writers and full time employees that work for outdoor guide companies, outfitters, or are certified members of the following organizations, among others:
- American Mountain Guides Association
- Adventure Travel Trade Association Member
- Professional Ski Instructors Association of America
- National Ski Patrol
- Association for Experiential Education
- American Canoe Association Instructors
In addition, there are a lot of other groups that typically qualify for pro deals, including many that aren’t directly involved in the outdoor industry, including:
- Active Members of US or Canadian Military Services, including:
- US Army
- US Air Force
- US Coast Guard
- US Navy and Navy Seals
- US Marine Corps
- Canadian Army
- Canadian Navy
- Canadian Air Force
- Fire and Rescue Professionals and Volunteers
- Paid and Volunteer Firefighters
- Search and Rescue Team Members
- Law Enforcement Professionals
- Department of Interior Employees
- Forest Service Employees and Volunteers
- Physical Education Instructor and Team Coaches, High School Level and Beyond
- Yoga and Fitness Instructors
- Tactical Hand to Hand and Weapons Instructors
- NOLS Alumni, Instructors, and Employees
- Outward Bound Alumni
How to Apply for Pro Deals
If you think you might qualify for a pro deal from a manufacturer, go to their web site and find the page that describes their Pro Deal application process. Applying for each of these programs, takes a lot of work, but it can save you a lot of money if you get accepted. Here are a few examples:
- Patagonia Pro Sales
- Arc’Teryx Pro Purchase Program
- Mountain Hardwear Prodeal Purchase Program
- Ultimate Direction Pro Purchase Program
- Sierra Designs Pro Purchase Program
- Kelty Pro Purchase Program
- Stio Pro Deal Program
Promotive.com and Outdoor Prolink
Many outdoor companies also outsource their pro deal portals such as Promotive.com or Outdoor Prolink. These companies have standardized the sign-up and approval process making it a lot easier for qualified individuals to apply to hundreds of pro deals with just one application!
For example, say you’re an active duty serviceman in the US Army. You’d go the US Army Team Page at Promotive.com (click for a full list of qualified teams) and you’d see that many brands offer pro deal discounts to eligible applicants. These range from tactical manufacturers like Leupold, Fenix, and Bushnell to mainstream outdoor brands including Big Agnes, Scarpa, Garmont, Suunto, Delorme, Gregory, Old Town, Raleigh and Diamondback Bicycles, Sawyer, Leki, Icelantic and Nemo Equipment, just to name a few.
So, check it out. You might be able to save a lot of money on outdoor gear if you qualify.
Written 2011. Updated 2014.
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