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Renting gear?


Looking to gain some insight on experiences with trying to rent gear (any types) whether local or traveling abroad.

Any stories to share... positive or negative, funny or serious, lessons learned, etc?

Assuming you could be assured the Quality of the gear is primo, would this be something you'd find helpful if traveling with your own gear is a nuisance

Along these lines, if planning to rent or use gear abroad, would having outfitters, small mom and pop shops, etc all aggregated to one repository? 

Look forward to hearing from ya'll! 

I generally only rent stuff to try out out before I buy, like skis. Trying to rent everything you need for a back packing trip would cost too much IMO, given the rates outfitters normally charge.

Not sure what you are trying to describe in your aggregated repository concept.


The rent in hopes of buying certainly makes sense for testing out gear before hand and is likely a pretty common reason people rent, that or trying something out for the first time to see if they enjoy it without the investment.  

By aggregrated I mean if you could view all the available items, services, etc for a given location on one platform, whether a webite or mobile app.  Making for ease of comparing without having to hop around.  

I have rented ski equipment a few times in the past. Mostly I would just go buy some used equipment when money was tight. 

I have had people rent canoes and rafts a few times. 

For me as a backpacker, I would only rent as an absolute last resort - an item damaged during travel.  Even then I would probably just buy a replacement instead as once you start paying rental fees you might as well purchase a half decent piece of gear. 

Many of us have honed our gear list not just down to a particular weight but also down to specific items and brands we prefer (i.e. backpacks are a very personal choice due to fit on an individual body type).  Unless the location had an extremely wide selection of rental equipment I am not sure it would be able to meet the needs of folks like this. 

My trip to Scotland this year involved 24 hours, three planes, and a long bus ride...I would still rather put up with the hassles and risk of bringing my own gear than renting.  I may be in the minority, but the idea of not being able to pre-pack everything and make last minute gear decisions on what will fit etc before traveling would result in a level of uncertainty and worry that could detract from the trip much more than the hassle of getting your gear to a location.  I found transporting my gear no more hassle than checking any other bag I have carried.

Not trying to be negative - I hope your idea is successful, and you find a lot of folks not like me who are more willing to gamble on different equipment or are into other activities this fits better.

Why rent when you can borrow? Apparently Arc'teryx is starting a gear library-lending program now. I'd link an article if the forum allowed, but maybe you can find it with Google.

Hi all! 

Thanks for your input so far! Phil you definitely share the view points of a lot of backpackers, and rightfully so.  It really may be most appropriate for only certain gear items and perhaps those without disposable income and wanting to try something new.  

Of course user preference is paramount as well. My concept (fortunately) doesnt plan to rely soley on renting abilities but exploring having that option.  It hasn't been done well by a lot of the e-commerce platforms yet, so exploring into that.

Zalman - Interesting, I have not heard of this yet.  I'd imagine a company like Arc'teryx is not simply going to allow the general public to use gear free of charge in hopes people will buy it?  If it's a library-lending program does that require some sort of monthly or annual membership?  I'll look into it for sure! 

Alex- from what I've read the articles of clothing need to be signed out (with Arcteryx obviously hoping that you like the jacket so much that'll you'll buy it) but it seems to be without cost. I'm betting the sign out time is something like 1-3 days at max so that people can't abuse the system.

Righto, there are limitations: you have to be in-person at an Arc'teryx store, and each store only lends out certain gear for certain time periods and such. There is a deposit required, but no cost assuming you return the gear.

They're really just hoping you buy their gear after trying it. And given my own experience with their products, I don't doubt they'll be successful with this model. 

Back to the original question, I misread your post at first, thinking you were looking to rent gear ... it sounds like you're thinking about starting a business to consolidate gear rental -- maybe even gear planning? -- for backcountry trips.

I think that would be useful for sure. I was recently emailed by some friends from college who are looking to get a backpacking trip together, and most of those involved don't really have much or any gear of their own, nor much time to hunt and peck for each item, even as separate rentals. Too much know-how involved they just don't have, so the planning part along with the rental would be probably be extra cool for folks like these.

It's interesting to see a brand as reputable and "high-end" as Arcteryx go this route.  People that go into an Arcteryx store know to expect a high quality and high price item. I wonder if they are trying to bring in people who normally would not buy their gear simply because they cost is so high, but once they try it they feel they have no option but to purchase. haha.  

Zalman - Yes your thinking is pretty accurate.  Working on a potential community marketplace geared toward outdoor adventurers and travelers, with the goal of enhancing accessibility to quality and affordable gear, skills and services, regardless of ones location.  We want to provide a platform that better leverages that which exists in the community already which includes people with know how, gear, small and moderate sized business, etc.

Youre specific example is pretty spot on with the type of people we want to help inspire and enable to acheive their outdoor adventure and travel plans.  Would you mind DMing me?  It'd be great to get some real person accounts to help in our startups jusitifcation.

When I first started backpacking and years later when I took friends of my sons, I would rent tents, backpacks, sleeping bags & pads.  I always rented equiptment from either REI or Western Mountaineering.  Places with long established good histories of which the equipment they rented.  I had a minor problem when one of the "three pin" cross country ski shoe was damaged.  All the other times I rented skiis, tents, etc. -I never encountered any problems.

October 31, 2020
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