Seattle’s Best Outdoor Gear Stores (That Aren’t REI)

Few cities can match Seattle’s devoted following of outdoor lovers. The city is home to REI, one of the country’s largest and most reputable providers of recreational clothing and equipment. And its flagship store (located in the Lake Union neighborhood) attracts millions of visitors every year. But for the record, there are plenty of places to pick up outdoor gear in the Emerald City. Here are a few of our favorite other spots.

evo     3500 Stone Way  |  Seattle, WA 98103  |  (206) 632-7598 or (866) 386-1590 (toll free)
This Wallingford establishment offers clothing and gear for skiers, snowboarders, wakeboarders, and skaters from more than 80 of today’s leading brands, as well as watches, belts, headphones, wallets, and other accessories. The store also features a full-service board repair shop and two restaurants, Joule and The Whale Wins, which were ranked ninth on Bon Appetit Magazine’s list of the best new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. It’s also the future home of the All Together Skate Park, which is currently under construction.

What the experts say: “evo sells ski, snowboard and skateboard gear and caters to the culture that those sports share. They describe it as the ‘urban, action sports lifestyle.’ In addition to selling gear for those sports, they hostmovies, art exhibitions and benefits in their shop, making it more than just a shop. If you’re looking for great ski gear cheap, check ‘em out” ― CBS Seattle

Feathered Friends     19 Yale Avenue N.  |  Seattle, WA 98109  |  (206) 292–2210
In business since 1979, this South Lake Union store specializes in goose-down sleeping bags, comforters, pillows, and garments. While the Feathered Friends brand is known to produce some of the softest, most comfortable gear on the market, the store also features items from other leading brands like Arcteryx, Black Diamond, Ibex, and Osprey. Visitors can also rent crampons, helmets, avalanche beacons, snowshoes, and other backcountry gear.

What the experts say: “Feathered Friends products are now regularly used on expeditions to the Himalayas and other high-altitude destinations — even though the company requires all expeditions to pay for their gear, in contrast to companies that give it away to gain advertising exposure” ― Puget Sound Business Journal

Filson     1555 4th Avenue S.  |  Seattle, WA 98134  |  (206) 622-3147
If you’re in need of durable, high-quality clothing to get you through the winter, look no further than Filson. In business since 1897, the company specializes in handmade men’s and women’s clothing that holds up under harsh conditions; more recently, Filson’s inventory has expanded to include luggage and travel accessories. The flagship store in Seattle’s Sodo district (near the stadiums) is always warm and inviting, complete with a large window that allows customers to peer into the adjacent garment factory and watch the masters at work.

What the experts say: “Seattle’s flagship Filson store is a shrine to meticulously well-made outdoor wear for men and women. The hunting lodge-like decor of the space, paired with interesting memorabilia and pricey, made-on-site clothing, makes the drive south of Pioneer Square worth it (we recommend catching a cab, not hoofing it). The attention to detail paid to the plaid vests, oil-treated rain slickers, and fishing outfits borders on the fetishistic” ― Fodor’s

Mountain to Sound Outfitters     3602 S.W. Alaska Street  |  Seattle, WA 98126  |  (206) 935-7669
There is no shortage of different terrain to check out in the area around Seattle; one could easily drive from the entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park to the estuaries of Puget Sound in under two hours. Mountain to Sound Outfitters reflects the local geodiversity in both name and inventory; you’ll find skis, snowboards, kayaks, paddleboards, longboards, and a wide variety of clothing. The store is also known for its wide roof-rack selection (an important vehicular accessory in the Pacific Northwest).

What the experts say: “Athletes can save money by renting equipment from the shop, which offers different packages on ski gear and snow shoes in winter. In summer, it runs a rental shop for skates and boards right on Alki Beach” ― CBS Seattle

Second Ascent     5209 Ballard Avenue N.W.  |  Seattle, WA 98107  |  (206) 545-8810
Cycling, skiing, backpacking, ice climbing ― if it’s a backcountry activity, then Second Ascent will hook you up. The extensive Ballard store is complete with a full-service bicycle station, a gallery of used (but definitely still usable) items and rental services for skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. Second Ascent has been in business since 1996, and has earned a massive, almost cult-like following among local enthusiasts over the years. Backpacker recently ranked Second Ascent as the nation’s best used gear store.

What the experts say: “In a city where the uber-outdoorsy has a prominent place in everyday fashion you don’t have to travel far to find stores like Second Ascent. However, their used gear selection is worth sifting through before caving to the incredible convenience of REI’s mega selection. North Face soft shell jacket for $60? Sure, I’ll skip working on my REI dividend for that. And besides, REI doesn’t let lazy dogs nap at their store’s entrance…” ― Nomadic Beat