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Adventure sports can be expensive hobbies. Everything from mountain biking to scuba diving to kite surfing requires hundreds, even thousands, of dollars of gear to get started. That’s a lofty investment for something you might not even like doing. But, why buy when you can rent? Thankfully, a growing number of outdoor companies are getting into the pay-per-use game for outdoor gear. These are the best places to rent outdoor gear in 2021. And if buying all new equipment is too pricey but renting isn’t quite for you, 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 hiking gear to cross-country skis and snowshoes. The best part is the company has rental locations in 26 states, allowing adventurers to shop and pick up the rental gear they need the same day.
Read More: What is REI Co-Op
In July, Eddie Bauer partnered with Arrive Outdoors to debut an all-new Gear Rental program. Every product is sourced from the brand’s deep catalog of high-end adventure gear and apparel. All items are touted as “like new” and professionally deep-cleaned between rentals to ensure your gear looks fresh off the showroom floor. Unlike REI, Eddie Bauer delivers its outdoor gear rentals right to your door (that includes at your home, hotel, or any of 10,000 FedEx locations) with rental periods between two days to three weeks.
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 camping or backpacking is right for you? Portland-based Xscape Pod offers prepackaged, all-in-one “pods” with everything you need for a weekend camping trip. That includes all the essentials, like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, camping chairs, and other accessories like fire-starting materials and a headlamp. The pods are available for pickup at the company’s Portland location or can be shipped nationwide.
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 camping gear in the world.” Indeed, the company’s catalog is deep with enough stock to support everyone from solo minimalist backpackers to 500-person glamping events. The selection includes the world’s best outdoor apparel and gear brands, and every item is available for local pickup or can be shipped throughout the United States.
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.