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How To: Pro-deals on Outdoor Gear

Outdoor gear is expensive, and if you're like me, you're hard on your clothing and equipment. I take great care of my gear and use it until it is absolutely dead. Seriously, my favorite top from Patagonia (the R1 Pullover) is still kicking after six years, but I'm wearing it around with holes in the elbows. My friends are probably embarrassed to hang out with me in public.
The holes have gotten worse since this photo was taken, I will probably patch them.....
While I take great care of my gear, and sometimes spend hours repairing it, sometimes its just time to let go. Zippers corrode, crotches rip, straps break. The worst part is replacing it. If that item is even still available, it is probably expensive. I suppose the term expensive is relative, but $200 to me is a lot of money. That top in the photo retails at $120. Ouch. My trail sneakers are around $100. Everything adds up so quickly. I've decided to create a guide to getting pro-deals. Keep reading to learn how.

The main thing is, these companies don't make much money from giving you a pro-deal, so generally getting one means that you do something to deserve one. There are a variety of ways to do this, some are easy and some are more difficult. 

How do I know if I qualify?
Do you interact with the potential customers of companies you want deals with? Are you a volunteer with an outdoor/conservation organization? Are you a physical fitness teacher or instructor? Are you a fire-fighter, EMT, paramedic, police officer, or serve in the Armed Forces? Do you teach environmental sciences? Do you have a relevant blog you regularly update? Do you work at a summer camp? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you can probably get pro-deals. 

Before you get started, gather your evidence. You should have:
  • A resume that includes your work and volunteer history and highlights any relevant certifications.
  • Pay stubs (or letters from supervisors if its volunteer)
  • Copies of your certifications
What to know before you start buying
These companies don't make money from providing pro-deals. I'm thankful that they choose to provide them. They offer pro-deals for two reasons. 
  1. The idea is that you, the guide/instructor are interacting with a great number of their potential customers. The company hopes that those people will see what you are wearing or using and go out and buy it. 
  2. They know that adventure guides, fitness instructors, etc generally don't make much money. Offering pro-deals ensures that they are equipped with the best gear to be viewed by their customers who do have the money. 
These companies don't have to offer pro-deals, they do it because it helps them gain sales and because it helps out people who need good gear. A pro-deal is a privilege. Do NOT buy for friends or family. You will lose your pro-deal and not get it back if you start trying to buy for other people. Companies pay attention to what sizes you wear and what sports you do and will flag your account if something looks suspicious.

Third Party Pro Websites

Experticity is the easiest way to get pro-deals if you live in the USA or have a US shipping address.  It is my go-to spot to shop. Here is how it works:
  1. Sign up for the website here
  2. Look through the teams to see what teams you may qualify for. There are teams for just about everyone
  3. Apply to relevant teams to access pro-deals
  4. Start shopping once you are accepted into teams. 
Outdoor ProLink is another great site offering pro-deals to a wide variety of brands to those who qualify. Some brands overlap with Promotive and some don't. You'll need to upload supporting documents when you apply.
Directly from Companies
Some companies have pro-deals set up directly through their websites, with an application process. If you want a pro-deal from a company that doesn't have an online pro-deal program, you'll have to email them directly. Letting them know how much you love their product, use their product and promote their product, in addition to sharing your previous experience and current employment will often result in a pro-deal or free gear upgrades. 

Cascade Designs is the parent company of all of these brands. To apply for a pro-deal, go here. After applying, they'll email you for proof of employment. Some of their brands are also available on Outdoor ProLink

Prana one of the go-to climbing and yoga clothing brands. Their influencer program is quick and easy to apply for. Here is the link

Patagonia used to be the brand it was nearly impossible to get a pro-deal with, but that has all changed! They now have a program with an online application. Here is the link.

Lululemon Oh Lulu, how obsessed everyone is with you! And Lulu stuff is SO expensive. Lucky for us there are two levels of discounts with them. The first is the "Research and Development" or "R&D" discount. It is available to people who are in shoulder industries working with potential Lulu customers. This is the discount I have with them because I am an adventure sports instructor. The higher, more elite discount is "Ambassador" program. To be an ambassador you need to be a fitness instructor with a big customer base. Typically their ambassadors are local gym or yoga studio owners. To access discounts, you'll have to apply in-store.