Organizing Swap Meet for Paddling Club

Just wondering if anyone has experience organizing swap meets.

While planning the summer picnic for our paddling club (RICKA), the idea came up. I opened my big mouth and mentioned that I’d helped with some XC ski swap meets in the past, and guess who’s now responsible for organizing one for the picnic? It wouldn’t be a huge production, just a way for club members to buy/sell paddling-related stuff.

Anyone have any advice/experience they’d like to share?


-Physical setup/logistics

-Fees/percent of proceeds to the club?

-Limits to $$ value, # of items?

-Bid sheets?

-Legal considerations, disclaimers, etc.?


I think I have the distinction…
of posting one of the VERY few (dare I assume the ONLY) topics on that received NO RESPONSES!

Hmmm…wonder if I can use this as an excuse to bail on the swap meet…

I love a challenge…
Dear Trillium,

I haven’t run a swap meet, but I googled “how to run a swap meet” and this was the number one:

Check out the rest for some illumination.

I wish I lived closer so I could paw over the merchandise.

Best of luck,


We’re suppose to do something???
I thought we only needed to show up, eat veggi-burgers, and maybe take the boat out for a little while. I’m not so good about selling paddling gear, but I’m really good at buying. I can help with half the swap meet.

Every year
At the ConnYak picnic we have a swap meet which is just a picnic table of paddling gear paddlers sell cheap (really cheap).

PFD’s, clothing, paddles, dry bags, compass, spray skirts etc… and even boats. No rules. People put items on the table or around it with a price and name. That’s it. Some people even put free stuff they don’t want anymore. Sometimes things that don’t sell are given away later with raffle tickets. It’s not really “swap” but more like bargain basement.

NSPN also same format
In years past NSPN has done swap meets and I organized them.

Biggest issue is finding a location. Works best if it is no rules, bring what you want to sell and bring your own table or something to lay out what you are selling. Put prices on them and a coffee can for your collection or hang around to sell. Whatever works best for each individual. Seller sets their own price and buyers negotiate.

If bad weather is expected, it is really nice if someone is able to put up a tarp or two so that all the “goods” remain dry and if not bought, you aren’t bringing home a bunch of wet stuff.

Swap meets are effective early in the season and NOT effective at the end of season. I have done both. No one wants to fill the closet with someone else’s old stuff at the end of the season.

Have a defined time frame that everything will be done. Couple of hours will usually suffice. Plan for a Swap and then paddle afterwards. Nice way to bring newbies and old timers together. Newbies need things and old timers have a bunch of s**T to get ride of. Always good to do around another event - such as a picnic or paddle or something otherwise no one wants to come.

Good luck and let us know when it is!


Effective Whining
Gee, it worked! Thanks for the feedback!

Erik, when you said you’d help with half, did you mean you’d buy half of the stuff? :wink:

Depends on the stuff, depends on the price, depends how much trouble I’m willing to get in when I get home.

Seriously, if you do need some help let me know.

Also the stuff doesn’t all have to be paddling related, some of us hike, ski, etc… My wife sold some snow shoes at an NSPN swap, she got rid of something she wasn’t going to use and someone else got a deal.

Hopefully we’ll do another gear swap soon, my closet is over flowing.

RICKA Swap Meet
Sounds like some great ideas. Being that the RICKA picnic is at the end of August, the idea of having items available for other sports sounds like a good one. I have a pair of unused kid’s LLBean “Bear Paw” snowshoes to donate…besides, with the crazy weather we’ve had lately, we may have snow by then!!! :>)

And yes, I will be there!