A person is only as good as their tools, as the saying goes, and nowhere is that as true as when you’re out in the woods, camping or hiking or simply frolicking. Make sure your packs and sleeping bags and boots are in tip-top shape by heading to one of our five favorite camping supply stores. By Jessica Allen.
Gear to Go Outfitters
Gear to Go Outfitters purports to be not only the largest outfitter in Brooklyn, but the only full service outfitter in all of New York City. Need gear? Come here. A very cool “try before you buy” program lets you apply 50 percent of the rental fee toward the purchase price of a new item of the same type, and there’s a loyalty program for frequent shoppers. Along with gear, the store offers classes and guided trips to local destinations, such as the Berkshires and the Catskills.
Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co.
Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co., in Brooklyn, brings the boutique experience to shopping for outdoor supplies. Here you’ll find “technical and heritage clothing made responsibly in the USA, Canada, and Japan.” The stuff on offer is both useful and cool, definitely beautiful and decidedly functional, from knives to backpacks to hats to finely crafted boots. Sure, you could load up and just walk around the city, but you’ll have more fun if you hit the trail and put the gear to use. So go forth and explore.
Depending on where you live, Panda Sport might be a bit of a trek. But this Bay Ridge store provides customer service that’s worth its weight in taxi or subway fare. Since 1987, Panda Sport has offered the best in clothes and gear for enjoying the outdoors, especially during the winter. The folks will install car racks while you wait, chat competently and informatively about ski boots and snow boards, and just do whatever they can to make sure you get what you want and what you need.
Located slightly north of Union Square, Paragon Sports boasts several levels chock-a-block with gear, from tennis rackets to golf jackets to swimwear. (Indeed, the store is divided into separate, well-stocked departments, all staffed with friendly folks just itching to answer questions.) In terms of camping, the store has daypacks, tents, clothes, books, headlamps, shoes, coolers, tools, stoves, and tons of other equipment. Come in, browse, and get inspired for the most awesome trip of your life.
Tent & Trails has a more singular focus on camping, hiking, and other outdoorsy activities than some of the other places on this list, which is great. From its storefront in Tribeca come all kinds of clothes and equipment, including outerwear, backpacks, watches, helmets, utensils, bottles, boots, and lots of other stuff stocked among three levels. Oh yeah, lots of tents too. Before you go to the store, or hit the trail, check out their checklists, including a list of basic supplies and advice on choosing a tent.