Outdoor gear is expensive and it can be a big undertaking to acquire the gear you need. As with all hobbies, a lot of people go gear crazy and invest money only to realize that the sales man led them astray or that they don’t actually enjoy the hobby. The good news is there are plenty of options for renting gear before you commit to buying. Renting also allows you to test different brands and designs, so when you are ready to buy you have an educated idea of what you need and how much you like the activity.
Borrow from friends: Wait! Before you rent you should ask friends and family if you can borrow some gear. Outdoor enthusiasts are excited to share their passion and are usually more than willing to share their gear.
Rent from a store: A lot of local outdoor retail stores also offer rental gear for reasonable prices. This option allows you to see the gear in person and make sure it fits your needs. If you are reading this and live in the upstate of South Carolina, then I recommend visiting Sunrift Adventures. Another option is to visit an REI store in your area. Not all REI stores offer rentals, but the ones that do, tend to offer a wide range of gear which cater to activities in the area.
Rent online: If you do not have an outdoor retailer near you or if you are coordinating a trip with friends spread across the country, then your best bet may be to rent online. Every day there are more and more options to rent gear online. There are retailers that let you pick your own gear and other retailers that bundle the basics in one simple package. I haven’t used online rentals stores, so I cannot attest to any of them, but I think they are onto something great.
My point is that you can’t let gear hinder you from getting outside and you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy it. See you out there!