Camp Tent

Should You Rent Your Gear When Camping?

Camping is likely the cheapest type of vacation there is, as the nightly cost of staying at a campsite is marginal compared to the price of a hotel or other establishment. But buying all of the equipment necessary to set up a tent and maintain a campsite can quickly add up, particularly if you are starting from scratch. In light of this fact, a number of companies now allow their customers to rent equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, portable grills, and even entire kits. While the thought of using equipment already used by countless other people may be off-putting to some, the benefits of doing so include saving a significant amount of money and helping the environment by reducing waste. In reaction to some of the skepticism many people may have of the idea of renting camping gear, companies have developed policies designed to put their customers’ minds at ease.

While retail outlets including Outdoors Geek and REI allow customers to rent equipment, a recently launched online-only service, Arrive, ships customers equipment via FedEx, lets customers use the equipment for a set period of time, and then asks them to ship everything back. The amount of money campers can save by doing so is substantial; a backpacking kit for two, which includes a two-person tent, two backpacks, two sleeping bags, two sleeping pads, a stove, two cooking pads and two headlamps costs $262.99 to rent for three days, compared to the retail value of $1,618. This deal is especially attractive for people who don’t have room to store camping equipment in their houses or apartments, and for people who go camping relatively infrequently and thus wouldn’t get much use out of their equipment anyway.

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As another bonus, travellers can opt to have the gear shipped to their camping location rather than to their homes, making one’s trip to and from their camping destination easier and reducing the number of days customers will have to rent their equipment for, thereby reducing the price. Because Arrive offers kits, campers, particularly ones who are new to the activity, can have peace of mind knowing that the ideal equipment for their trip is provided.

Arrive offers an attractive deal for those looking to get their feet wet with camping but don’t want to break the bank.

People who have rented equipment via Arrive have praised the quality and cleanliness of the items they receive, which are neatly packaged, often in like-new condition, and modern. While kits come packaged with nearly everything campers need, customers should be advised that consumable items, like fuel for a camping stove and food, must be acquired separately. However, these items are generally cheap and easy to find at most major retail outlets. Campers should also note that the equipment does not come with instruction booklets, and as such, it’s a good idea to visit an outdoor store such as REI to see the equipment in person before committing to a rental. Arrive offers a customer service help line to field questions such as these, but as cell phone reception can be spotty at many camping locations, it’s always better to be prepared ahead of time.

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Customers should also be forewarned that Arrive will charge a fee for items that are damaged or returned late, which may add an extra layer of worry on top of a trip which is meant to be relaxing and stress-relieving. Arrive provides customers with the packaging and return label to send the items back at the end of the trip, and the cost of shipping is included in the initial price.  As long as you’re careful, however, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about damaging the equipment, which is generally designed to be taken outdoors in rough conditions. For new customers looking to make camping a more regular hobby, Arrive presents the opportunity to try out the equipment they’re interested in before committing to a purchase.

Arrive offers an attractive deal for those looking to get their feet wet with camping but don’t want to break the bank. Before deciding on Arrive as your equipment-rental-service of choice, though, it’s a good idea to consider your options. The aforementioned Outdoors Geek and REI have the advantage of owning retail locations where you can pick up and drop off equipment in person, which may be more convenient for those whose camping spots of choice are close to these stores. And as prices vary between outlets, even for the same equipment, it doesn’t hurt to do some research. Still, there’s never been a better time to rent camping equipment, as the proliferation of the internet and the rising popularity of camping as a vacation choice create an abundance of business opportunities that benefit the consumer.