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  • Writer's picturethehonestmama

5 Reasons to Shop at Champaign Outdoors

Love where you live - Shop Local!

Super versatile Patagonia Los Gatos vest

Writing about clothing is outside of my usual jurisdiction here at The Honest Mama, but I have always had a serious love for fashion. I personally consider retail shopping one of the best forms of therapy. Though I’m not sure that retail therapy would be a recommended treatment given by any licensed professional, it has honestly provided me with some of the fondest memories throughout my entire life. (This is probably where I should also plug the importance of shopping within your means as I’m obviously not here to promote any unhealthy shopping addictions.)

My lifelong love affair with fashion can most certainly be attributed to my mother as I have countless memories of perusing her closet as a child and borrowing her clothing throughout high school and adulthood. In my pre-k years, I can still recall my Friday trips with my grandmother to our small-town convenience store that carried a limited amount of toys and apparel. Even then, my interest was most often in shoes over toys.

My Friday shopping trips continued into middle school when I had some less than ideal experiences, and my dad and I would take Friday afternoon trips to the mall to celebrate the end of each school week. Since I am located in the Midwest, just a few short hours from three major cities, my husband and I have had countless last-minute weekend shopping getaways. (Though he may not readily admit it, I know he’s enjoyed a lot of these trips perhaps as much as I have.) As much as I am eternally grateful for online shopping, as a mother to a girl, brick and mortar shopping has encompassed many of our fond experiences together since she was born.

There are a lot of factors that I consider when I’m shopping for clothing for myself or my husband or daughter. I always enjoy the latest trends and bargain deals, but there’s nothing quite like a high-quality, timeless piece of clothing. In our family, we each have items in our wardrobes that we have willingly splurged on and have worn through countless seasons because of their timelessness and durability.

To add to the list of what inspires me to make certain purchases, I’ve recently started to look into what the brand or store represents, how they treat their customers, and what my dollar is actually supporting. Shopping local whenever possible is a great way to contribute your tax dollars right back into your own community. Plus, I think there’s something special about building relationships with the businesses that you support.

I was recently featured in a collaboration with Champaign Outdoors, which compelled me to share my love of this business with all of you. They are a Champaign-based retail store with a focus on the outdoor market. Their apparel is high-quality, durable, and both trendy and timeless. In addition to carrying great merchandise, they truly embody what it means to be a locally owned family business.

Here are my top five reasons to shop at Champaign Outdoors:

1. High-End Outdoor Brands The store carries the best brands such as The North Face, Columbia, Patagonia, Sorel, Canada Goose, and so much more. This is my go-to local spot for the latest and biggest selection of these brands. They have tops, sweatshirts, vests, jackets, pants, boots, accessories, and tons of specialty gift items. If you aren’t local to Champaign or just prefer to shop online, you can shop their Rugged Outdoors e-commerce store at

Bonus: If you are local, their Rugged Outdoors brick-and-mortar store is located right next door to the Champaign Outdoors store, and they carry the best brands at majorly discounted prices. If you’re looking for a name brand winter jacket without the hefty price tag, this is your spot!

DOUBLE BONUS: They have an automated price match system at checkout that guarantees you will always get the lowest price possible on your items!

2. Fashion Clothing

Don't be fooled by the name. You do not have to be a major outdoor enthusiast to shop at Champaign Outdoors. They have so much more than just your typical outdoor gear. There are several women’s fashion lines available with the cutest flannels, tops, jackets, cardigans, dresses, and pants. They carry trendy boots from Sorel which are versatile, waterproof (perfect for Midwest fall and winter months), and so comfortable. If you’re looking for stylish men’s gear, they’ve got you covered there, too. My husband has been sporting a Kuhl jacket from Champaign Outdoors each fall for several years, and it is still my absolute favorite date-night jacket of his.

3. There’s Something for Everyone You will find clothing for men, women, and children – meaning that my husband, my daughter, and myself can all pick up the latest Patagonia fleece or The North Face jackets right here locally. Both Champaign Outdoors and Rugged Outdoors carry adult and youth apparel, so don’t forget to check Rugged Outdoors for those discount deals. If you're looking for stocking stuffers, they have handmade soaps, candles, Hydro Flasks, Smartwool socks, Groove silicone rings, reusable collapsable FinalStraws, sunglasses, Saxx underwear for him, and tons of other great options.

4. They’re Locally Owned If you’re local to Champaign, you probably recall the store from its original name, “Champaign Surplus.” Champaign Surplus began as an army surplus retailer in 1947 and has evolved over the years, but still remains a family-owned business that has been ran by three generations. The name change and addition of Rugged Outdoors came in recent years to more accurately reflect the nature of the business today.

In addition to the fact that they are a local business, they also support other local area businesses and community members. You can find tons of cool specialty items and gift items from other small businesses in the Central Illinois area right inside the store. Their website also features recommendations for different outdoor recreation locations in the area, and their most recent blog series features local empowering women throughout the community.

5. The Staff The Champaign Outdoors staff members are all super knowledgeable and always friendly. They have this family-type connection to each other and are passionate about the store, which explains why many of their staff members are devoted, long-term employees. The staff take pride in caring for their customers and giving you personalized recommendations and quality service. They also host outdoor events like local hikes and brewery tours, and they recently launched an Adventure Travel component for super adventurous trips to incredible places like Costa Rica, Croatia, and Kilimanjaro.

While you're checking off those holiday shopping lists, don’t pass up the opportunity to check out Champaign Outdoors so you can see for yourself what makes this business so special. You won’t regret it. If you’re a brave local Black Friday shopper, be sure to add Champaign Outdoors and Rugged Outdoors to your list of stops this year. (They are running huge Black Friday sales all week long if you're like me and want the deals without the craziness!) And don't forget that Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday!

Happy shopping, everyone!

My jacket is Patagonia Lunar Frost faux fur from Champaign Outdoors fall 2019. It is SO soft.

Hubby in his Kuhl jacket from Champaign Outdoors. This one has been a date night staple for years!

My hubby on our treetop brewery date in his Patagonia Quilt Snap-T pullover from a major Rugged Outdoors sale

My daughter's Patagonia Retro-X fleece jacket has been on repeat in her wardrobe for over a year now. (Pro Kids' Apparel Tip: buy a size larger and roll the sleeves to extend the longevity of your piece!)

My fave Patagonia Quilt Snap-T pullover and Patagonia Prow Bomber vest combo from the Champaign Outdoors new location grand opening in 2018

My hubby's Patagonia Better Sweater was perfect for family pics


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