True North Blog

Outdoor Gear … Consider Renting

Outdoor Gear ... Consider Renting

I have long been a bit conflicted about the huge array of gear and clothing that retail stores — nowadays almost exclusively dominated by “big box” stores — sell to all skills levels of outdoors people at fairly astonishing prices.  I suppose that what most bothers me is the disconnect between the gear that we need  (perhaps better defined as the gear that we are told, or believe, that we “need”) just to enter the Great Outdoors.  To me, the Great Outdoors should be the great equalizer where everyone, regardless of skill level and wallet or purse size, can experience and share the beauty and wonder of our natural world.

Still, I accept that having proper gear and clothing can make this experience not just more safe, but more comfortable.  Heck, let’s face it, not having a tent, or a cheap one at that, or an inappropriate sleeping bag, on a cold, rainy night can make, at a bare minimum, for a pretty miserable experience.  And awaking cold, wet, and miserable in the morning certainly doesn’t help us see, or want to see, beauty and wonder.

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Quebec Run Wild Area, Advanced Wilderness Survival Course, May 2011 (credit: Tom Wilk)

So, even if we except that we need proper gear and clothing before heading out into the Great Outdoors, we still have, regardless of skill level, one small hurdle to overcome … How do we get it without easily dropping $1,000?

And, worse, if you are a novice, there is a second hurdle … Why should I spend a $1,000 for gear that I may never again use, or find out that it’s not the right gear for me, forcing me to spend even more money?

Renting your gear, then, might be a terrific option!

Amongst a host of reasons, renting gear provides two benefits.  Firstly, it can help you obtain appropriate gear at a much lower upfront cost.  And secondly, it can allow you to “test drive” equipment before you buy it.

Let me offer you three potential options …

Mountain Side Gear Rental and LowerGear are outfitters that previous True North clients have recommended.  They are located in Colorado and Arizona respectively, but don’t worry, they ship!

As another potential option, I recently came across Fireside Camp Supply in Philadelphia.  It is, as I understand it, fairly new to the Philly outdoors equipment scene, but it is independent, which is definitely refreshing.  I don’t think that they ship, but for our True North clients who come from Metropolitan Philadelphia, this may be an option to consider.

For our various wilderness survival courses, I have already started to recommend these companies to our clients.

Please let us know what you think!

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

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