Evo's Fremont store rotates sports with the seasons.

Image: Courtesy EVO

SEATTLE LOVES THE OUTDOORS, and we love gearing up to play in the mountains, water, desert, and more. Gear shops range from national chains (first launched here, of course) to neighborhood stores that have been outfitting locals for decades.

For speciality snow gear, try our lists of the best ski and snowboard shops. Not sure you're ready to buy yet? Check out the city's camping and outdoor rentals.

REI

Downtown

The national Godzilla of outdoor retailers was formed in Seattle, with a flagship location that boasts a climbing wall and bike trails. Even with two sprawling stories, the store itself only houses a fraction of the company's offerings—and the co-op joining fee delivers tangible perks.

REI goes big at the Seattle flagship.

Image: Courtesy REI

Feathered Friends

Downtown

More than just a pile of duck feathers, the sleeping bags, coats, and vests nesting inside this flagship store are world-class. Their down booties are a special treat for camping trips, with an outer waterproof layer and an inner warm one you can leave on while you sleep.

Outdoor Research

SoDo

The Seattle-based outdoor brand makes much of its gear locally, and during the pandemic pivoted to masks both medical and recreational. Best known for its hiking gaiters, rainwear, and great selection of gloves, OR recently made a point to increase their size offerings, launching plus-size waterproof clothing in 2022. 

Outdoor Research takes the requisite Seattle fleece to the next level.

Backcountry

University District

Once only an online discount shop, Backcountry expanded to brick-and-mortar stores and even started producing its own branded gear. Size and selection can't rival REI, but they do carry some things you won't find anywhere else, and they don't forget that fishing is a Pacific Northwest sport.

Wonderland Gear Exchange

Fremont

Sometimes, new isn't necessary. The outdoor gear consignment store opened with the idea that Seattleites have a lot of barely used equipment that could be passed on to others; sell your stuff or browse a wide selection that includes bikes, skis, backpacks, and a lot of cheap technical clothing.

Urban Surf

Wallingford

Despite being at least a three-hour drive from waves breaking off the Pacific coastline, this surf shop nestled just off Lake Union deals in boards of all sorts, including paddleboards—yup, the ones that skim across Lake Union year-round.

Evo

Fremont

Like a mini-REI, the growing retailer offers surf, ski, skate, and general outdoor gear with a huge online presence. The Fremont flagship hosts a skate park in the basement and the company has an adventure travel wing that plans international trips.

KAVU

Ballard

Born from founder Barry Barr’s need for a hat that could withstand tempestuous fishing expeditions, this shop has been going as strong as the Alaska winds since 1993. Now, it’s a venerable shop full of apparel (and bags with a cult following) for the whole outdoorsy fam.

KAVU apparel is at home in the outdoors.

Image: Courtesy Kavu

Ascent Outdoors

Ballard

The store formerly known as Second Ascent still hawks gently used goods as it’s done since 1996, but the new selection of camping gear takes center stage with apparel and a shoe and boot section staffed by experts. Rentals are also available, and the rock climbing selection is among the best in the city.

Mount to Sound Outfitters

West Seattle

The cheery green paddle and snow sport shop maintains its specifically West Seattle community vibe with events and rentals. The service shop fixes gear and will even help install a roof rack on your car.

Dick's Sporting Goods

Northgate

It's not as cute as little independent gear shops, but the big chain does stock exercise gear and golf and fishing equipment next to their camping and biking stuff. Worth a try when everyone else is sold out of essentials.

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