Outdoor Gear Store or Sporting Goods Store? Which One Do You Need?

You need to buy some gear for outdoor sports. Are you better off at an outdoor gear store, or a sporting goods store?

Here are some questions to help you decide.

  • What sports do you have in mind? Plenty of sports take place outdoors. But a sporting goods store may be more prepared to outfit you for baseball and volleyball than for climbing and hiking. Sporting goods stores often focus on items like cleats and letter jackets. They may also have some running shoes, but they’ll generally have less variety of outdoor gear than a store that’s more focused on outdoor life.
  • How specialized are your needs? If you want a sporty shirt to wear for camping trips and also for class, you can roll the dice and take your pick. If you want a particular kind of climbing shoe, head for the outdoor gear store.
  • Do you want help? An outdoor store is more likely to have staff members who can listen to your plans for a float trip with your dog and give good advice on safety gear. Sometimes you really need expert advice, and sometimes talking with a fellow climber or spelunker is part of the fun of the experience.
  • Looking for gear for a class? A lot of sporting goods stores work with local schools and colleges to make sure they can provide needed gear for a particular class. If you have to have a specific make and model , call around.

You might also want to think about your preferred shopping experience. Do you prefer a local shop with character, the kind of place where you’ll find quirky items as well as classic goods? Do you take pleasure in poking through lots of possibilities for your favorite hobby? Is shopping for outdoor gear a social experience for you?

Or would you rather zip through a Big Box and get out quickly with the major items you need?

It’s not that sporting goods stores are always sterile purveyors of mass-produced goods and outdoor gear stores are always meeting grounds for happy campers. But you should take into account the kind of shopping experience you’ll enjoy most when you look for the perfect store to meet your needs.

At Uncle Sam’s, you’ll find an authentic outdoor gear experience, plus plenty of sporty shirts you can wear to class as well as camping. Come in and get to know us!


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