I recently faced a bit of a camping conundrum. I was about to leave on a 9-day motorcycle road trip, where I’d be camping for a couple of nights and then staying in hotels the rest of the trip. With very limited storage opportunities on the bike, lugging around camping gear I didn’t need wasn’t ideal.
The solution? I decided to rent the camping gear I needed for the first few nights, and then ship it back before continuing on with the trip. I picked up my kit—which included a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad—at a FedEx location a few miles from my campsite, and dropped it back off when I was done. While my situation isn’t necessarily the typical scenario of someone looking to rent gear for a road trip or outdoor adventure, it ended up being an easy and affordable solution.
There are many reasons to consider renting gear for a camping trip, backpacking excursion, or other adventure. Perhaps you live in the city and have limited options for storing equipment, or you want to try a new activity before committing to purchasing expensive gear. Maybe you’re traveling to a new destination and want to avoid carrying along the extra luggage.
Whatever your reason, and whatever your activity, you have options. Here are a few of the companies leading the charge in outdoor gear rentals in the U.S.
Where to rent camping and hiking gear
California-based Arrive Outdoors offers camping, hiking, and winter gear for rent. Gear is offered as curated sets for specific activities—like backpacking or camping—or a la carte. You can choose to have your rentals delivered to your home, hotel, or a FedEx location. “Similar to Rent the Runway, we partner directly with premium outdoor gear brands and offer their gear for rent on our platform,” says Rachelle Snyder, CEO and co-founder of Arrive.
Since launching as a rental platform, the company has expanded to power rental programs for outdoor retailers such as Dicks’s Sporting Goods and Eddie Bauer. It also works with several state park systems, and recently started offering snowboard rentals in partnership with Burton.
Outdoor retail giant REI offers gear rentals through many of its stores. Depending on which location you reserve through, you may be able to rent anything from mountain bikes and climbing gear to kayaks and skis, in addition to a variety of camping, hiking, and seasonal gear. REI Co-Op members can save up to 33 percent on rentals. Find participating stores here.
Outdoor adventure startup RightOnTrek is based in Montana and offers backpacking meals, adventure planning tools, and gear rentals. With its new Wilderness Edge facility in Columbia Falls, just outside of Glacier National Park, the company is taking a different approach to gear rentals. The facility essentially functions as a big vending machine, open 24/7, where walk-in customers can rent gear—and purchase meals—on demand through an automated locker system, no reservation required. It’s also possible to reserve gear online and pick it up at one of the company’s three locations in the Glacier area.
While RightOnTrek currently doesn’t offer nationwide rentals, the goal is to expand beyond Glacier. “We would like to build a Wilderness Edge close to all of the major national parks in the country” says David Diehl, RightOnTrek’s director of gear and delivery services. “From here, we’ll probably move south toward the Yellowstone area, and then toward California, Utah, and Colorado after that.”
Arizona-based LowerGear Outdoors has retail store locations in Tempe and Lake Havasu, focusing on trail and water sports. It also offers nationwide gear rentals through its online platform. You can choose from packages designed for backpacking or family camping, or go the a la carte route. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available for local pickup.
As seen on Shark Tank, Kit Lender offers equipment and apparel rentals for a wide variety of outdoor activities, including snow sports, triathlons, and camping. Renters can choose from complete kits designed specifically for car camping, traveling with dogs, fly fishing, snowmobiling, and more, and sizes offered range from toddler to adult. Kits are delivered straight to your destination and include free shipping and returns.
Outdoors Geek is based in Denver, Colorado, but ships its outdoor rental equipment anywhere in the U.S. In addition to its standard camping, backpacking, and hiking gear options, the company also offers glamping tents and packages. Choose from yurts, safari tents, and dome tents, along with glamping beds and bunk bed cots, for an elevated DIY camping experience.