We called these top camping and hiking gear rental companies to see how they compare. Each supplier claims to have the best gear, competitive prices, and the best customer service. We dug in deep to find the most essential information for your next outdoor adventure.
Why Rent Camping & Hiking Gear?
If you’re planning an outdoor adventure and you’re coming up a little short on gear, renting is a great option. Instead of spending the upfront cost for new equipment that you’re only going to use a few times, just rent the gear for a fraction of the price. If space is limited and you only go hiking twice a year renting is a great option as well. Renting is also an excellent opportunity for trying an item before you buy.
After speaking to each of these companies, they said the number one piece of gear rented is a 4-person tent. Most campers and hikers will have a tent, but I’m guessing it will be smaller. I know the first tent I bought was only a 2-person. If you’re planning a trip with family and know you’re not going to be using a 4-person tent again for a long time, renting a large tent is a better fit.
I’m happy to say that most places I called picked up quickly and the person on the other end seemed delighted to help. Everyone I spoke with answered my questions quickly and with confidence. There was no stopping to find information or to ask another associate. They had probably heard these questions a few hundred times, but the conversation never felt rushed.
Arrive Outdoors specialize in skiing and snowboarding equipment but also have a high-quality selection of camping and hiking rental gear. Looking through their wide selection of tents shows that they care about the brands and quality they carry. It’s a very nice selection.
On the Phone with Arrive Outdoors
They have an answering service pick up. There you’ll need to direct your phone call to an associate in the right department. Nobody picked up on my first call with a message asking to email them any questions.
After calling back a few times, I spoke with Michaela. She was happy to help with no hesitation on any questions.
Q. I can’t find your location on your website, where are you located at?
A. We don’t have a storefront, but we ship out of Los Angeles, California.
Q. How do you handle damaged or lost gear?
A. You would have to pay full retail for any damaged or lost gear.
Q. But, if the gear I’m renting is used, why don’t I get charged used prices on the gear instead of full retail?
A. That’s just how it’s handled.
Q. If I like the gear I rent is there an option to buy it?
A. No, but you can keep the gear and not return it. We would just charge you the full retail price of it.
Overall I was happy with the conversation I had with Michaela. The only thing I was astonished by is that they charge the user full retail price for lost or damaged goods. As you read down below throw my other conversations, you’ll see why this is strange. If this is a problem for you and don’t want to take the risk of losing gear, the saving grace from Arrive Outdoors is their premium selection.
Some Interesting Information From Arrive Outdoors Renting Process
Cancel or submit changes to your order at least seven days before the first day of your rental to receive a full refund. You may be charged the full retail price for any gear item that is not returned or returned damaged. You may be charged a $50 late fee for gear that is returned beyond your rental period.
All shipping orders must be placed a minimum of seven (7) days in advance of your first rental day. This is different than all the other rental companies we will discuss. Seven days is a long lead time so planning in advance is crucial. To see all their information about renting camping gear, check out their website here.
|Arrive Outdoors||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$25||$28||$42||$49|
One of the larger rental companies, they are based out of Lake Havasu City, AZ. Even before researching information for this article I’d read about LowerGear a ton of time. From what I’ve read they have great customer service, and people are generally happy with them.
They rent and sell a wide range of gear. From tents, sleeping bags to handheld GPS units. You can also go into their local stores and get advice from their staff in Arizona. They sell all their used gear at a discount as well.
On the Phone with LowerGear
I spoke with Bryce. He picked up the phone right away and seemed happy to help with any question I threw at him.
Q. If I decide that I want to keep some camping gear after renting it, can I purchase it?
A. Yes, usually. You would have to call us to see if someone has it reserved or not. Also, we would have to see if we’re low on inventory for that item. You would also have to call us to work out a price.
Q. Can I specify the brand of a sleeping bag I want to use?
A. Generally no. If we have a brand of sleeping bag you want in stock, we will do whatever we can to make you happy. We will make sure that you are happy and get the right sleeping bag for the weather you’re expecting.
Q. What if I rip a zipper or damage something? How is this handled?
A. Depending on what’s needed, like a zipper that needs to be replaced would be something like a $10 repair. For something larger like a ripped sleeping bag, it can be up to $60.
Q. Will you provide a discount if I’m happy with the gear?
A. Yes, but we’ll do everything we can when selecting gear that fits your needs.
Overall I was happy with the conversation with Bryce and the information he gave.
Some Interesting Information From LowerGear’s Renting Process
They offer weekend and monthly rentals, but if you need something different, they are flexible. They want to work with you and make your camping trip the best it can be. If you’re going to buy the item, you’re renting you’ll have to call and work out the details with them. The sooner you know you’ll need the gear, the better. You can make reservations well in advance. They usually ship the same or next day after ordering.
The rental prices are low, so they will need a deposit if you’re renting a lot of items. They don’t always do this, but they may place a reserve against your credit card for the amount of the deposit, which will be no more than the retail value of the gear.
This information can be found in their Rental Policy here. If they have to make special inventory arrangements to meet your needs, it may require a non-refundable deposit. They will contact you after you make your order if this is the case.
If you’re local or going to be in the Arizona area, you can pick up and return the gear to their local store. If you want to dive deeper, more information is on their LowerGear website here.
|LowerGear||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$21||$29||$35||$39|
They have been in business for more than 25 years. Outdoors Geek specializes in a wide range of outdoor gear, including premium brands. They rent what they call “crazy clean” gear with a like it, buy it policy. They are based out of Denver, Colorado.
On the Phone with Outdoors Geek
I spoke with Brett on the phone. He picked up after the first ring and seemed happy to talk with me. Overall he appeared knowable and answered every question without hesitation.
Q. Can I specify the brand of the sleeping bag I want to rent?
A. Yes, we have premium brands, and we probably have any high-quality sleeping bag you’re looking for.
Q. If I damage or lose a piece of gear, how is that handled?
A. If it’s something small like a tent steak, it’s not a big deal. Honestly, we have tons of those here so I wouldn’t worry about it. If it’s something bigger like ripping a tent, we would have to inspect the tent first before charging you. You can also buy insurance with rented gear.
Q. Will a sleeping bag comes with a sleeping bag liner?
A. No, but you can rent a liner too. They are all clean, just like the sleeping bags we rent.
Q. Do I need to wash any gear before sending it back?
A. We ask that you do NOT wash any gear. Sleeping bags are washed in a special way, and if not done correctly, they will damage easily. We do ask that everything is dry, though.
I liked speaking with Brett because he was helpful and polite. Also, I never got the impression that he was irritated from my questions that could be easily looked up on their website.
Some Interesting Information From Outdoors Geeks Renting Process
They emphasize that they will only send you “crazy clean” gear, but you don’t have to send it back to them that way. They want everything back dry, though. This is important because mildew forms fast. If you return the gear “wet”, they will charge a cleaning fee.
They make special note that if you are in a situation where you have to return the gear damp or wet, a phone call will go a long way in avoiding charges. Just like LowerGear, and the others you do not pay rent during the shipping transit time.
Do your best to make sure you’re not going to cancel after ordering. If you have to cancel, do it two weeks before your reservation date. If you cancel less than two weeks in advance, they will charge you in full. You can find more information about Outdoors Geek rental policies on their website here.
|Outdoor Geek||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$15||$27||$34||$41|
Xscape Pod is based out of Portland, Oregon and specializes in renting what they call “pods”. This is renting gear in packages with a group of camping and hiking gear. The pod of your choice will include things like a tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear along with any other custom choices you might want.
They also rent à la carte, renting all the equipment that you’ll see from other camping gear rental companies.
On the Phone with Xscape Pod
I spoke with Nic on the phone. Out of all the rental companies, I called and talked to Nic was by far the most enthusiastic about speaking with me. He answered all my questions and went in detail about their shipping and gear policies.
Q. I saw on your website I can’t rent for more than 14 days, do you rent longer than that?
A. Yes, we do, it’s just not on the website. I’d like people to call for a better discount for a longer-term rental agreement.
Q. What if I damage some gear, how is that handled?
A. Stuff happens, we rent premium gear, so it’s made to last more than some junk out there. I repair a lot of things, but if it’s beyond repair, you’ll have to pay to replace it.
Q. What price would I pay to replace gear if lost or stolen, full retail or a used price?
A. That would be crazy to charge you full retail lol. No, you would pay a used price, but really if we rented it a ton of times, we might not charge you anything.
Q. Can I rent a certain brand of gear?
A. What you see on the website is what you are getting. If you’re a gear head and want something specific and I have it, by all means, I’ll try and get it to you. I buy gear to rent that I like to use. I think you’ll be happy with what we have; we have high-quality brands.
After speaking with Nic, I noticed the way he was talking and asked if he was the owner. He indeed was to the owner of Xscape Pod. I’m assuming this was the reason he was so helpful and knowable.
Some Interesting Information From Xscape Pods Renting Process
National round trip shipping is available for $49.99. One-way shipping is $24.99 and Local delivery in Portland, Oregon is available for $19 round trip and local pick-up is free. Accidental minor damage or loss of any items under $10 will not be charged to the customer’s credit card in most cases. If something larger is damaged or loss you’ll have to call and work it out with them.
If you want to buy a piece of gear that you want to keep all items will have a price for them. This is nice because most other rental companies didn’t have the price listed upfront. If you want to rent the gear longer than the standard 14 days, you’ll have to call and work something out with them for a discount.
|Xscape Pod||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$60||$90||$131||N/A|
Mountainside Gear rental
This outdoor gear rental place is based out of Golden Colorado. You can pick up what you need there, or they will deliver anywhere UPS goes. They pride themselves in making the process of renting gear simple.
On the Phone with Mountainside Gear Rental
I spoke with Johnny on the phone. He picked up quickly and seemed happy to talk with me. Overall he appeared knowable and answered every question without hesitation.
Q. If I want to buy the gear after renting it, how do you handle that process?
A. We don’t really have a process for that as most people don’t buy after renting. If you want to buy it, you’d have to call us and maybe we can work something out.
Q. Is a signature required upon delivery of camping goods? Do I have to be at home to sign for the package?
A. No, you’re responsible for all rental gear, but we don’t require a signature.
Q. Can I choose a specific brand of sleeping bag or tent?
A. Yes, if we have it. We have a few different brands of sleeping bags and some of those come with the sleeping pad as well.
Q. If some of the gear is damaged when I return it, how is that handled?
A. If it’s just normal wear and tear that’s fine, but if it’s really damaged we’d have to charge the cost of repair to you. You might damage a tent by cleaning it, and we ask only to return it dry, don’t clean it, please.
Notes From Mountainside Gear Renting Process
Their Q&A, along with the rental process documentation, is standard. Nothing unusual to note. They do emphasize cleaning the gear you rent, but not washing it. Along with not charging for transit time and if the return box gets damaged, you’ll have to buy another one from UPS. You can find more rental information and all of Mountainside Gear Rental policies on their website here.
|Mountainside Gear||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$20||$25||$35||$45|
|Cookware for 3 People||$44||$49||$55||$60|
Gear To Go Outfitters
Gear To Go Outfitters opened on March 3, 2009, as New York City’s first and only full-service outfitter. Their rental policies are straight forward, and they have a ton of camping and hiking gear.
On the Phone with Gear To Go Outfitters
I talked with Bryce on the phone. He picked up right away and was happy to help answer any questions I had.
Q. Your shipping policy was a little confusing to me? Looking at your website, it’s a dollar a pound?
A. Yeah, we ship FedEx more now than UPS. As your checking out, it will show how much shipping will be.
Q. Does that include the round trip for all the gear rented?
A. No, you’ll need to go to UPS or FedEx to get the shipping price back to us. If you wanted to pay for round trip shipping, you’d need to call us.
Q. Can I buy the rented gear after I use it?
A. You know, customers aren’t doing that too much anymore. It is an option, but you’d need to call us and work something out. If it’s the busy season, probably not.
Q. What’s the most common item that is rented?
A. By far the Big Sky Soul X2 tents. Those things are always going out.
Q. Is a signature required when the gear is delivered?
A. That depends on FedEx. Preferably you get your packaged delivered to a FedEx location, not your home. You can get it delivered to your home, but you’re responsible for the package.
Some Interesting Information From Gear To Go Outfitters Renting Process
They will ship to all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. If you need shipping to those two states, you’ll need to call and get a special shipping order. They ship larger items with UPS but smaller items with USPS. You can also receive items at your hotel, before getting there.
Any shipment up to 10 pounds is $10, and the rate increases in increments of $5 – $10 in higher weight brackets. You’ll see this as you check out. If your order is going to weigh more than 150 pounds, you’ll need to call them for a more precise quote.
|Gear To Go Outfitters||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||$33||$41||$55||$69|
Camp Crate rents individual gear as well as packages. I was reluctant to include them on this list because, at this time, their website is a mess. I tried on a few different web browser but still couldn’t get most images to show up or find out what is included in the packages. The only reason I include them in this guide is a recommendation from some online forums.
I was unable to call them or find out where they are located because they have no contact information. The “contact us” page on their website is broken.
Some Interesting Information From Camp Crate Renting Process
They deliver two days before the delivery date. This is to ensure you get all your gear on time. Only this company and Arrive Outdoors charges full retail price on damaged or missing items. You will be charged the full retail price for the gear. If you choose to cancel within ten days of your trip, you will be charged in full. You can check out more information about Camp Crate on their website here.
|Camp Crate||3 Days||7 Days||14 Days||21 Days|
|Hiking Backpack 60l||$28||$48||$68||$108|
|GPS Rescue Beacon||$48||$64||$80-||$96|
I hope this guide has helped you find the right place to rent camping and hiking gear online. I want you to be able to focus on hitting the trail instead of feeling frustrated with all the options or renting out there. Renting is a great opportunity over buying, and you’ll save a ton of money in the process. Finding and acquiring all the gear you’ll need can be fun and easy.
Do note that while I’ll keep the information updated, anything can change as far as prices and availability. Check the companies we talked about current price and inventory of camping and hiking gear on their websites.