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Gear Rental Vs Owning Outdoor Equipment

kayak rental

Trying to decide whether you should buy that new bike, snowboard or kayak, or instead rent the latest and greatest version from a top rated outfitter? Understanding your needs and the benefits offered by rentals and ownership will help you make the right decision for you.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into looking into the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. owning outdoor equipment. We will help you break down all the reasons you may want to rent vs. buy, and why your goals and preferences make a huge difference in the decision.

What to consider when choosing to buy or rent gear

Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether to purchase gear or rent it for an upcoming outdoor adventure:

  • How often will I be using this gear?
  • What are the implications for traveling with this piece of gear if I own it? (For example, checking a bike on a flight can be pricey and should be included in your final calculation.)
  • Will I ever be able to use this gear at home, or will I always have to travel to use it?
  • Do I have room to store this piece of gear at home?
  • What is my budget?
  • How do I feel about sustainability and helping the environment?

These questions can give you some guidance as to whether renting or buying is a better choice for you.

Mountain biker

The benefits of renting gear: convenience without commitment

Outfitters renting the latest and greatest outdoor gear have revolutionized the outdoor recreation scene. Outdoor activities that were once only available to those who could afford pricey equipment are now open to everyone.

Here are some benefits to consider of renting gear for your next outdoor adventure versus buying it outright

01Enjoy top-of-the-line gear without breaking the bank

Want to ride the slopes of Jackson Hole on the latest mountain bike from Yeti without spending thousands of dollars? Then renting is for you.

Renting equipment slashes the potential price tag on your outdoor activity. With more rental shops opening in iconic adventure spots, outdoor adventures are much more accessible for those who are traveling on a budget. You can save money through renting and you can even allot those extra bucks to other adventures on your bucket list.

02You value mobility and move around often, or you are downsizing

Renting is for you if the idea of hauling your bulky, heavy gear from one location to another feels daunting. Or if you are one of the many Americans looking to downsize, or own less things – gear like bikes, boards and kayaks take up valuable space.

This report from the American Transportation Association reveals that millennials consider convenience just as important as saving money! Renting your outdoor gear offers both of these benefits.

03You can try something new without commitment

The growing rental industry provides beginners with low-barrier access to the sports equipment and gear world. Still in the stage where you’re trying out different outdoor sports? Renting gives you the chance to sample new activities without shelling out big bucks for a sport you might not end up sticking with.

TripOutside makes it even easier for you by curating the best rated outfitters all over the country, so you can find outdoor rentals and adventures and book them all in one place.

04You get to experience the newest version

Manufacturers are coming out with great new upgrades on equipment constantly, and last year’s gear seems to be outdated before the next season even hits. This is also evident in prices – the average mountain bike costs over $4,000 now.

This means that if you spend thousands on a 2021 version of your favorite equipment, there may be some new features coming on the next version before the year is even done. The benefit of renting is being able to enjoy the new innovations (hello, dropper seat post!) and really up your game.

Plus, renting allows you to sample different brands and find out what company really suits you before purchasing.

05Owning gear comes with added expenses

Once you purchase a piece of sporting gear, it starts to depreciate with every use. There are other expenses, too: maintenance costs, hauling expenses, storage costs, upgrades, repairs, and insurance.

If you’re only using your gear a few times a year, these expenses can be a real nuisance. Renting is a practical choice because it allows you to enjoy outdoor experiences without the additional expenses involved with owning gear.

06Renting is more environmentally sustainable

If you value sustainability, renting is for you. When you rent, you’re essentially sharing gear with other outdoor enthusiasts. Sharing goods and products is a great way to reduce carbon waste – sort of like using public transportation.

Manufacturing of outdoor equipment requires production waste, carbon emission, raw material extractions, and chemical use. When a single piece of gear can be used by multiple people, these negative impacts are mitigated. It’s much better for the planet for 25 people to use one kayak than for all 25 to each own their own kayak, especially if they only use it a couple times a year.

Outdoor gear and clothing rental services

If you’re already sold on renting gear or clothing for your next adventure, then check then following brands and companies provide a great place to start:

  • Trip Outside logo

    Trip Outside

    Trip Outside is a one-stop shop for international outdoor gear rental. Simply filter the type of equipment you need and where you need to rent it and the Trip Outside will bring up options of different rental outfitters to choose from and then book.

  • outdoorhire logo

    Outdoor hire

    Hire gear from 2 days to 4 weeks. Simply book what you’d like to hire and for how long and they’ll send it to you via courier. When you’re done, pack it up and they’ll arrange a collection. UK wide service with big brands available to hire for a fraction of retail cost.

  • Adventure pedlars logo

    Adventure Pedlars

    Alpkit equipment is available to hire from one night to several weeks. Bundles and individual items can be booked. Shipping can be arranged for equipment bundles, prices start at £30 for an overnight bundle.

  • Outdoors Geek Logo

    Outdoors Geek

    From camping to backpacking to glamping, Outdoors Geek offer everything you need for your adventure. Based in Colorado, gear can be collected in store or shipped US wide. Prices vary for all products.

  • Rab logo


    Rab offers a UK rental service for a variety of products including sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, clothing and specialist items. A £10 service charge applies to all rentals and items can be booked for 3 – 21 days. All items are inspected, cleaned and repaired between rentals.

  • Decathlon logo


    Decathlon offers rental on a huge variety of equipment, from e-bikes to tennis rackets to kayaks. Simply choose the products from one of the four participating UK stores and collect in person. Currently delivery isn’t available, but should be coming soon.


The benefits of owning your gear

When is owning gear and equipment a better option? Here are a few reasons that justify a purchase!

  • You have home access to your favorite sports and/or don’t travel much
    Owning equipment can be a reasonable option if you’re lucky enough to live within striking distance of your favorite outdoor activity. Owning a kayak makes more sense if you live five minutes from a put-in and owning a snowboard makes more sense if you live 20 minutes from a ski resort parking lot. If you have ready access to your favorite activities, gear ownership could work well for you.
  • You are all about one brand, one product
    Personally owning gear, equipment, and apparel becomes a handy choice if you have brand loyalty. Some people find a company with an ethos they really appreciate and they only want to support that company. When you rent gear, you might not have that brand as an option, so owning may be a better choice.
  • You want the luxury of spontaneous planning
    One of the perks of having your own stuff is that you can always have your favorite gear with you wherever you go. Peak season is the best, especially when the rental stores are booked solid and you’re left hanging.Having personal gear in your possession can make it easier to plan a spontaneous trip without worrying about gear availability.

Make the right choice for you

At TripOutside, we believe gear rental is the way to go because it makes your vacation simpler, allows you to try new things, and is also kind to the planet. But we also understand the temptation of ownership. Whatever you decide, know that we’re here for all your rental needs when you decide to pick up a new sport or visit a new outdoor destination!

About the author

Julie Singh and her husband Reet left their corporate careers in 2017 in pursuit of their passion for the outdoors. They have been traveling full-time in their RV with their cat Juke ever since, finding the best outdoor adventures and local shops to feature on their hand curated platform, The goal of TripOutside is to get more people outdoors and make booking human powered outdoor adventures simple.

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