How to Get Pro Deals from Outdoor Gear and Clothing Manufacturers

Big Agnes UL Tent Prototype

Big Agnes UL Tent Prototype

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
    • Federal
    • State
    • Local
  • 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:

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!

Promotive is a Pro Deal Portal for Many Outdoor Manufacturers

Promotive is a Pro Deal Portal for Many Outdoor Manufacturers

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.

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10 Responses to How to Get Pro Deals from Outdoor Gear and Clothing Manufacturers

  1. Guthook December 19, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    The cat's out of the bag!

    This is a good thing to point out. Having used a few of these, I have to say that promotive and outdoorprolink make the whole process a lot simpler than normal pro-deals. A few years ago when I was working for an organization with a pro-deal program, the process for getting discounted items was to do everything by catalog and fax (three years ago… I didn't realize fax machines still existed). Promotive and outdoorprolink make things easier, but it's certainly not a polished shopping experience like backcountry.com or anything like that. No returns, things aren't always in stock, and I've had really bad luck with trying to contact anything like customer service for those sites. But when they work, it's pretty amazing.

    Phil, do you qualify as "outdoor media" for promotive?

  2. Earlylite December 19, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Applying to these programs as a blogger is almost always a guaranteed fail. I'm a trail maintainer with the Forest Service. Of course, I don't have any money to buy this stuff, but I thought people who do should know about the price breaks available if they can qualify.

  3. Steve W December 19, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    I can definately encourage people to get even a part time job at an outdoor retailer and qualify for pro-deals. I generally work a few hours a week, and am able to get some great discounts from manufacturers.

    There are a few downsides, as was mentioned, they are ONLY for personal use, and I would bet trying to return anything is a hassle. You're limited to the brands that your shop carries (which usually excludes very specilized ultralight and cottage manufacturers). Plus be prepared for any money you make from the job gets spent on these great discounts :).

    I didn't know that armed forces and emergency personnel can take advantage, I'll have to let some people know!

  4. Guthook December 19, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Trail maintainer? That explains it. I have access via NOLS Alum. And, like you say, I pretty much never use it. But I do love to look from time to time, and dream.

    Emergency professionals getting access is pretty cool, too. It's funny to look through the brands available, and see flak jackets and tasers right next to skis and water filters. Makes sense, though :)

  5. Earlylite December 19, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    Exactly. There are a number of other volunteer programs that qualify, so it's worth checking out the Promotive Team list carefully, or becoming a volunteer!

  6. Trekker December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Damn. I don't see software developers in the financial industry in your list ;)

  7. Chad December 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    You would think that Boy Scout leaders, Varsity Coaches and Venturing Advisers would be included in that so that Troops, Teams and Crews would eventually buy this gear.

  8. Earlylite December 21, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Chad – you can put that case to the companies themselves, but if you want my advice don't wait for the BSA executives to lead the charge – that would drag out forever. Getting a local deal will be a lot faster. Just remember – it's advertising for the companies. If you can explain why it will sell more product, you'll probably get a shot. Also, a lot of smaller cottage manufacturers already offer scout discounts – Gossamer Gear, for instance. If you don't ask….

  9. gnomie December 22, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Keen offers pro-deals for non-profit employees as well.

  10. Hanna K October 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Merrell does as well, although be forewarned that there are no returns allowed, so you had better be dang sure about your size.

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