Dick’s Sporting Goods is one of the largest, if not the largest, sporting goods store in America. Unfortunately, not all of us are looking for athletic apparel, bolt-action rifles, or Yeti coolers when we head to our stores. For a company that focuses a fair portion of its website on camping gear (Rentals, Outdoor Products – Camping, Dick’s Pro Tips [not a dick joke, I swear]), their stores tend to be poorly stocked and managed.
Welcome to our recurring series of “The less traveled path.” In this series, we want to take you on our exploits in the wilderness of hiking, camping, exploring, and general adventures. This includes our little daily wins, weaknesses, tips, tricks, and reviews of gear that we really appreciate and use often. While a beaten path can often be the path to a leisurely day, the less traveled paths can often lead to some of the greatest memories, mishaps, and fun imaginable. Join us in the comments as we share our travels and hopefully we can all come together to better appreciate the great outdoors.
Dick’s Sporting Goods News From The Past!
@alloutdoorcom Trying to find a #variety of #light #campinggear Don’t go to #DSG #dickssportinggoods Lots of #space occupied by few #SKUs #wastedapace @dickssportinggoods @decathlon @walmart @pathfinderww ♬ Original sound – ALLOUTDOOR
Good dick, bad dick
Dick’s Sporting Goods is doing a good deed even though it’s stopped carrying semi-automatic firearms altogether. They donate millions of dollars each year to sporting events for children, including over 6,000 youth leagues, since they started their nonprofit, Sports Matter.
Unfortunately, every time I go to the stores in Pittsburg, Charleston, and Clarksburg, I can get in and out in less than two minutes. Why? Their stores devote 32 linear feet throughout to camping gear, but take up a ridiculous amount of space with the same product. For example, in Charleston, WV, they had 15 pegs for Eno hammocks and straps in their display. Am I complaining because they carry those hammocks? No! I’m complaining because they waste space and carry so few items when they could be one of the premier backpacking/camping/hiking spots. As one of our Discord members discovered, when choices are limited, coveted items are often out of stock.
On March 9th, 2022 I was at the store in Charleston looking for mini butane tanks and came back empty handed. When I go to Dick’s, I almost always feel bad because I’m expecting something there and I leave without completing the mission.
Bad camping selection
Of the three stores I visit, none have a decent selection of tents.
SCREENSHOT BY: DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
From this screenshot, we can consider four tents with a capacity of 1-3 people.
- The first is a badged dome tent that’s found everywhere and weighs almost 2,700 g (6 pounds).
- The Eureka! Tent is a bivy you cannot sit in and weighs 1450g (3.2 pounds). That doesn’t mean it’s a bad tent, but there are better tents out there for the price and weight that outperform.
- Kelty Tanglewood 2 is no longer supported by Kelty. I found the weight information on Cabela’s website and it says the tent weighs 2900g (6 pounds, 11 ounces).
- We all know you’re not going to traipse into the woods with the Ashcroft 3 person, nor even comment… It’s a car camping tent.
Other sections of their campsite were similar. My local store had two options:
That’s it. No foldable sleeping mat, no conventional foam mats. It’s as if buyers in their industry have never gone to an outdoor trade show and seen what’s out there for sale.
That’s an idea! Ed Stack, hire me as your hiking and camping advisor!
Low quality equipment / no choice
According to Dick’s earnings report for the first quarter of 2021, stock prices have continued to appreciate on the back of gross margin expansion. That can mean many things, but to put it simply, like you’re all in fifth grade… you’ve reduced the cost of selling the product and/or the cost of the product compared to the price you bought it for , elevated.
This is my artist’s interpretation of the three-legged Quest chair for $10 at DSG. This is a 20 inch chair with steel legs that weighs two and a few pounds. There’s not a Helinox-style camp chair in sight. You can even get a decent camp chair at Walmart for double the price. The Ozark Trail Himont Compact Camp Lite Chair is said to weigh less than two pounds… and it’s a full-fledged chair! I remember buying a similar chair for almost $50 back in 2014 when they were the hottest new thing in camping.
The Dorcy 4-pack LED flashlights are items that you can find at the checkout of any store, but in a 4-pack. You know, the kind you give your kid to make them feel safe when they’re afraid of the dark. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen better things at Dollar Tree lately… That’s sad to say since Dollar Tree is now $1.25 apiece. 🙄
At the time of writing, there is only ONE water filtration/purification option available at the Charleston store. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like water purification tabs and would rather go with a Sawyer or Lifestraw option. Well, drinking aqua tabs isn’t the worst decision you can make… but it shouldn’t be the only thing you sell or have available.
You know it’s a bad day when…
You know it’s a bad day when Walmart beats you on anything other than prices. Walmart, although half the store is made up of groceries, cart space, and checkout, the amount of space for camping gear is amazing compared to DSG. I measured (with a tape measure at the store) 140ft camping supplies at Walmart and 40ft at DSG.
Dick’s, are you jealous of shelf length?
Even though Walmart’s lot size is 2.2 times larger (minus the grocery stores), they still have about 38% more of their dedicated space for camping gear. (Walmart’s entire sporting goods department included approximately 400 feet of product displays, not including bikes.)
ORIGINAL IMAGE SOURCE: WV PROPERTY VIEWERORIGINAL IMAGE SOURCE: WV PROPERTY VIEWER
A new challenger?
Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS) opened a proof-of-concept store in September 2021 called Public Lands. This place has more interactive and quality materials and seems a bit more upscale, like Galyan’s DKS brand acquired in 2004; climbing walls and all.
The Public Lands website has quality products you would expect from Moosejaw or REI, in addition to top-of-the-line golf, climbing, and biking gear. It’s almost like the Sam’s Club version of Dick’s Sporting Goods, but you don’t have to buy a dozen 9-iron in bulk.
It would be interesting to see if the knowledge and experienced buyers at PL are able to influence Dick’s Stores, at least up their game and stop wasting shelf space.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is as profitable as it has been for the past five years. My observation of three stores is a small sampling of their 847 stores. Once again Edward Stack, Donald Germano, Toni Roeller and Todd Spaletto – let me help your business in any way I can.
I would love to hear your opinion in the comments if Dick’s Sporting Goods has satisfactory quality/quantity/variety in stores near you. What could make them improve their businesses (besides selling semi-cars 😏)?
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PS Also found at Dick’s in Charleston: