The Linen District’s Outdoor Exchange offers a smorgasbord of sports gear for those itching to gear up and get out of town
By Ken Levy
Photography by Copper Chadwick
With the great outdoors just a stone’s throw from the heart of downtown Boise, the opportunities to recreate are endless. For many of us, that’s why we live here – rafting, kayaking, camping, biking, skiing, snowboarding… it’s all part of the Idaho experience. Unfortunately, with so much to do and so much gear needed to do it, getting what you need to get out and do it all can be cost prohibitive.
The Outdoor Exchange, which opened in October 2012, is out to change that. The store, which specializes in consigned, gently used, high-end outdoor recreational gear and clothing brings the price of playing down to something we all can afford—especially for families who are raising the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
“We specialize in all human-powered outdoor recreational gear and clothing,” said Tracy Crites, who owns the Linen District store with husband Jason. And it’s true, the store is a smorgasbord of sports gear; from kayaks and rafts to tents, backpacks, bikes and accessories and, of course, lots of sports-related clothing and footwear, this shop carries much of what is needed to gear up and get out into the mountains.
The Outdoor Exchange’s gear is generally priced at 50-70 percent less than retail. Those who consign their items for sale get 60 percent of the price back for items priced to $499, and 70 percent for higher-priced gear. “Our goal is to offer the Treasure Valley community an affordable alternative to new, high priced recreational gear,” Crites said. “We want to share our expertise and passion for all the activities Idaho has to offer and encourage Idahoans to get out and try new activities all year round.”
The Crites, along with their two part-time employees, are outdoor enthusiasts. Rafting, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and traveling top the Crites’ summer activity list, and come winter, they ski, snowboard and snowshoe, with many visits to the area’s yurts and ski resorts along the way.
Although its store is gaining in popularity, online sales can be a bit of a challenge, since many of its items are one-of-a-kind and can sell quickly. But customers can provide the Outdoor Exchange with a wish list of items, and “before it hits the floor, we’ll call them,” says Crites. “It works well.”
“We first got interested in the idea while visiting my sister and niece in Colorado,” Crites said. “We wanted to go snowshoeing but didn’t have a kids snowsuit, so we searched for a used gear store – we didn’t want to pay full retail for something that would quickly be outgrown.”
“After returning to Boise, we realized how many active people and families would benefit from a store like ours, and soon after started our research and preparation,” said Crites. “We took our time, but it has paid off. We plan to continue to focus on providing great customer service and reaching a broader demographic of customers, both in the valley and online.”
The Outdoor Exchange is located at1415 W Grove St., and is open Monday-Saturday from 10–6. Visit them on the web at www.outdoor-exchange.com.