Adventure sports can be expensive hobbies. Everything from mountain biking to scuba diving to kite surfing requires hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars worth of new gear to get started. And that’s saying nothing of any costs associated with taking lessons from a pro, too. That’s a lofty investment for something you might not even like doing. But, why buy when you can rent?
Thanks to the sharing economy—where you can rent everything from houses to cars to boats—a growing number of outdoor companies are getting into the pay-per-use game for outdoor gear and apparel. These are the best places to rent outdoor gear in 2023. And if buying all-new equipment is too pricey but renting isn’t for you either, finding a good place to buy used outdoor gear can be a more affordable alternative.
Here in the States, REI is the juggernaut of outdoor gear retailers. While it’s among the best places to buy gear, many people don’t know that it also rents most of that same equipment. That includes just about every type of adventure gear you can imagine, from camping and
Renting individual bits of gear works for adventurers who already have a gear closet to start with. But, what if you’re just getting started, looking to see if
Likewise, Denver’s Outdoors Geek offers prepackaged rental kits (and à la carte gear) as part of what it touts as “the largest collection of rental
Tempe’s Lower Gear Outdoors has been in the outfitting game for more than sixty years. From its mom-and-pop retail shop and warehouse, it rents adventure gear with local pickup or nationwide shipping around the U.S. Renters can find everything for the trail (backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and more), but the company focuses on watersports, with everything you might need for a weekend or a week of paddling.
RightOnTrek is the most niche of all the outdoor gear rental companies we’ve seen recently, but it’s arguably the most interesting. The fully automated rental facility sits right outside Glacier National Park airport. Renters can book their gear with as little as one day’s notice. When they arrive, they simply pull up, grab their packed, ready-to-go kit, and hit the park. The website features a “wizard-style” gear planner. Just tell it what type of trip you’re stocking up for—backpacking,
There are many reasons to rent outdoor gear instead of buying new. The first is that it’s a great option for anyone looking to take up a new sport. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try overnight backpacking, for example, but you just don’t have the right gear. By renting everything you need—a backpack, tent, sleeping pad,
The second reason renting can be better than buying is because it’s greener. If you’re an occasional adventurer—maybe you only kayak a few times a year—it probably doesn’t make sense to buy all-new, freshly manufactured gear that’s going to spend most of its time in your garage or gear closet. Instead, “borrow” it from a professional outfitter for the brief time you need it, then send it back to let someone else do the same. It’s just better for the environment.
One last reason to consider is for travelers. If, let’s say, you’re flying from the East Coast for an extended adventure trip in Yosemite, bringing all the necessary gear can be a hassle and costly with insane airline baggage fees. Instead, you can pack only your favorite essentials. Then rent the biggest, most cumbersome gear on arrival, use it just for your trip, then return it before your flight home.
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