If you’re a Seattle resident, you know how important it is to cherish the summer months, since sunny, cloudless days with perfect temperatures don’t come around all that often (usually just three months a year, to be exact.)[find-an-apartment]
So take advantage of the great summer weather (and Seattle’s picturesque landscape) by getting outdoors and going hiking or camping. No matter which Seattle neighborhood you live in, chances are there’s a store right around the corner where you can find the best camping and outdoor gear for any trip up Mount Rainier or in the surrounding Cascades. Here are our picks for the best places to find top- notch equipment in Seattle.
Federal Army & Navy Surplus Inc.
This military surplus store first opened its doors in 1917, which makes it one of the oldest and most authentic stores of its kind in the United States. There’s a great selection of basic camping and hiking equipment here, like tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and boots, as well as must-have “survival” accessories such as canteens, flashlights, knives and medical kits.
Where: Belltown, 2112 1st Ave., Seattle, WA 98121
If you’re looking for a boutique outdoor store with a friendly, knowledgeable staff, head to Second Ascent for all your camping and hiking needs. You’ll find a ton of high quality equipment for decent prices, and they also have a selection of gently used items so you can experiment with different brands without breaking the bank.
Where: Ballard, 5209 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Capitol Hill Camping & Surplus
As its name suggests, this small outdoor store is located in Seattle’s trendy and vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood. At Capitol Hill Camping & Surplus, outdoor lovers can find anything they need for the perfect camping or hiking trip, and the store is often runningoften runs great sales.
Where: Capitol Hill, 910 E. Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122
Although the name sounds more like a pet boutique than an outdoor gear store, Feathered Friends specializes in high- quality down feather sleeping bags. The staff here sews each sleeping bag by hand and has the utmost attention to detail, resulting in a product that will last for years and years. Other down products include jackets, vests and other apparel.
Where: Cascade, 119 Yale Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109
If you’re looking for outdoor sportswear or clothes for camping, Mountain Hardwear is the place for you. While it’s smaller than the Columbia Sportswear store located next door, you’ll find a wider selection of different brands, and the store also sells tents, backpacks and various outdoor gadgets like flashlights, compasses and utility belts.
Where: Downtown, 250 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
As the flagship store, this REI (which is the largest in the world) is basically the Mecca of outdoor equipment. In addition to a staggering selection of gear, you’ll also find a giant rock wall for climbing enthusiasts, soaring ceilings, an outdoor waterfall and micro-rainforest, indoor children’s play area, and a fireplace.
Where: Cascade, 222 Yale Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109
Photo credit: iStockphoto / Artazum and Iriana Shiyan