As a poor college student and summer camp councilor, I often find myself obsessing over prices of outdoor gear. In a market where profit margins must reach into the 500% range, outdoor gear is not cheap to invest in. I often find it mind blowing that the simplest of outdoor clothing: a breathable T-shirt, often run upwards of $50, advertising the newest wicking and quick dry technology. It's a tricky market to navigate and often the only way to become aware of what prices really are reasonable for what you're buying into is experience it yourself. I spend a lot of time in the stores, poking around online stores like Backcountry.com, reviewing and reading reviews, and talking to others in the outdoor industry. I have developed a pretty intrinsic sense of what's about right price-wise for most pieces of gear. If you don't know your way around the outdoor market, though, you're in luck. The Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker (sister stores) in Fletcher, NC have got you covered.
I've visited North Carolina many times throughout my life (most of which I've lived in Michigan). Each time I come down to do some backpacking in Pisgah National Forest, I make a foray in to Fletcher to stock up on gear at the Diamond Brand and Frugal Backpacker. The staff at both stores are always very helpful. I've been living in Hendersonville, NC for the summer, working as a camp councilor for Kanuga Conferences and thoroughly enjoying the benefits of staff discounts.
Diamond Brand carries a full line of backpacking, climbing, and kayaking gear and clothing. They have a great selection of footwear, dozens of varieties of Keens, Chacos, and Vibram Five Fingers. Webbing by the foot at reasonable prices. Staff are always happy to swap outdoor stories and will spend hours helping you try on every pack in the store until you find the one that fits you properly. They really know how to fit a pack, as well so it's easy to trust their opinions and choices. You can usually find some discounts weekly in the Diamond Brand store, but if you want really discounted gear you need to visit the Frugal Backpacker.
Literally located next door to Diamond Brand Outdoors is the Frugal Backpacker, a store specializing in (you guessed it) backpacking gear. They carry a lot of Deuter packs, Mountain Hardwear, and Osprey. You'll find the occasional Gregory, Mountainsmith, and Kelty pack as well. The backpacks at Frugal really are cheap. Often you'll find a pack with prices slashed twenty, forty, fifty dollars. Frugal Backpacker also carries footwear at low prices, usually overstock and last season's models left over from Diamond Brand's stock. You'll find cheap prices on sleeping bags, pads, and clothing. The selection here is a little more limited when looking for pads and tents, don't expect to find a Neo Air for $50. I recommend Frugal for backpacks and clothing, both of which they have in abundance and at low prices.
So far this season I've bought a pair of 5.10 rock shoes, some Keens, Suncloud sunglasses, a Snow Peak wind screen, a MHW 18L pack and some clothes. Using up that camp councilor discount while I've got it!
Pay them a visit at Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker whenever you're in the area. Perfect staging area for any adventure into Western North Carolina.
Happy Trails and check out the YouTube Channel, new Cold Mountain video going up soon! Like us on Facebook!
View Larger Map