I have about five shelves’ worth of gear, but I can justify most of it. I camp, hike, and mountaineer as often as possible (the latter happens less now than it used to, what with kids, but at least now my oldest regularly joins me camping). Do I need six sleeping bags, five tents, six or seven packs, and four headlamps? No, but I do use lots of the stuff on the reg.
If you only head into the backwoods once or twice a year, or if you’re pondering your first wilderness expedition, then you probably don’t need six sleeping bags either. In fact, you might not even need to own one bag. Or one sleeping pad, hiking pack, lantern, camp stove, or any other piece of gear, not when you can rent great outdoor equipment from Coozie Outdoors.
To get a halfway-decent hiking backpack — say a 70-liter internal frame suitable for a week-long backcountry trek — you would have to spend at least $100 and well over $200 for a truly solid piece of gear. Or you could rent a pack from Coozie for $33. Want a great two-person tent? Get ready to spend at least $400 retail — or just $67 with a rental.
Coozie stocks all the basics you’d expect, from packs to air mats to sleeping bags. The brand also has plenty of specialty items available, like solar-powered chargers, lighting, camp furniture, and even bear canisters. (Those are cans you trap bears in to keep yourself safe while you’re in the woods. And if you believed that for a second, please click away from this article and never go out into the woods.)
Perhaps the clearest way to lay out the savings is to look at the cost of a two-person backpacking kit when rented vs. purchased. Coozie Outdoors offers the following kit, the Backpacking Set for Two, for a rental price of $243 with:
- 1 MSR Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
- 2 Marmot Trestles Eco Elite 30-Degree Sleeping Bags
- 2 Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex Backpacking Sleeping Pads
- 2 Black Diamond Spot Headlamps
- 2 Deuter 60 + 10 Liter Backpacking Packs
- 1 MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Backpacking Stove
- 1 MSR Alpine 2-Pot Set
To buy all that stuff at MSRP, you’d pay $1,618. Which is 6.6 times more expensive, if you do the math. And to buy all that stuff, you’d also have to head out to a local sporting goods shop for expert advice or trust your own online research before spending a fair amount of time clicking “Add to Cart.”
Moreover, with Coozie, shipping is fast and free. And that’s both ways, by the way: return shipping labels are included at no extra charge, so you can send back your rented gear the very same day you’re done with it.
Coozie Outdoors doesn’t just save you lots of cash by working on a rental basis, they also make the process of procuring the right gear easy even if you don’t have much outdoors experience. You can browse by activity (camping or backpacking, for example) and you can enter your location, duration, and party number for curated gear recommendations — even the bushcraft novice can feel confident he or she won’t end up ill-equipped in the wilderness.
In a perfect world, after a few rental experiences with Coozie Outdoors, you’d develop such a love for the wilderness you would go ahead and buy your own gear. In the real world, you’re probably too busy to get out there more than once or twice a year, and who wants to store a bunch of seldom used gear in a home already overloaded with stuff anyway? In fact, even if you are a semi-avid camper/backpacker, the space saving alone might be worth renting instead of owning, especially if you call Manhattan, San Francisco, or some other city where square footage is at a premium your home base.
Interested in checking out other options? CampCrate is a similar rental company that also offers curated trips.