Should You Rent or Buy Your Outdoor Gear?

, , , | UltraRob | Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 8:33 am

Camping Near Lake City, CO

Are you planning on outdoor adventure in the near future? If you’re trying out a new activity, you may not already own the gear you need. While your first thought may be to head to your local outdoor store or order online, you have another option as well. In addition to buying your own camping and other outdoor gear, you may also be able to rent it.

Both buying and renting have their own pros and cons. When it comes to determining whether you should buy your own camping gear or just rent the camping gear that you need, you may have a difficult time deciding what to do. Below, the advantages and disadvantages of buying your own outdoor gear and renting your outdoor gear are outlined.

Pros to Buying Outdoor Gear

You will find that there are a number of pros or plus sides to buying your own outdoor gear. One of these plus sides is the convenience of having it available whenever you decide to head out for an adventure. If it’s something like a pack it’ll already adjusted the way you like it. For something like a tent, you’ll know how to put it up and not need to read the instructions unless maybe if you don’t use it often enough.

Snowshoeing on Wolf Creek PassHaving your own gear also means that you can use it as little or as often as you would like and it won’t cost more. If you’re are planning to the activity frequently, you will find that it is easier, as well as cheaper in the long run, to buy your own outdoor gear.

It is also important to note the many options you have when buying your own outdoor gear. When buying your own outdoor gear, you can buy whatever you want. For instance, if you would like a camping tent that has lots of ventilation, you can find ones that have lots of vents. When you buy your own outdoor equipment, you have the ability to be picky if you want to be. With the huge selection of outdoor gear to choose from and many online retailers, the decision as to what you want to buy is yours to make. Here on, you can search for outdoor gear from over 80 online retailers.

Cons to Buying Outdoor Gear

Although there are a number of positives, like convenience, to buying your own outdoor gear, you will find that the biggest downside to doing so is the cost. Depending on what you need to buy, it can get pretty expensive to purchase your own outdoor gear. With that in mind though, there’s some outdoor gear like camping tents or sleeping bags, that can be purchased for affordable prices especially if you don’t have to have the lightest available. If you are on a budget, you can still buy your own outdoor gear, but you just need to know where to look and watch for sales or buy used from somewhere like eBay.

Pros to Renting Outdoor Gear

When it comes to renting outdoor gear, you will also find a number of pros and cons. As for the pros or plus sides to renting your outdoor equipment, instead of buying it, you will find that the cost is much more affordable. Despite being relatively affordable, different rental stores charge different rental fees. You will also find that outdoor gear can typically be rented for as little as one day or as long as a couple of weeks. Renting your outdoor gear is nice if it’s your first time using a particular piece of outdoor equipment and if you are unsure as to whether or not you would be interested in doing so again.

Cons to Renting Outdoor Gear

As for the cons of renting your camping gear, you may find that you are faced with a limited selection of outdoor gear to choose from. Many outdoor stores only rent the basic items, like tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, skis and snowshoes. While you may have some choices, you will mostly find that your selection is limited. To increase your selection you may want to look at renting online at somewhere like or

Also when you rent, you will be using a piece of outdoor equipment with which you aren’t familiar. Unless you rent the item a few days early, you won’t have much time to try it out and make sure it meets your needs before you head out on your wild adventure.

I rented snowshoes and backcountry telemark ski equipment a few times before I bought my own. Renting gave me a better idea of what I wanted to buy. As often as I have used them, it has made more sense to own them plus I can go on the spur of the moment without the hassle of renting.

For a couple comparisons between renting and buying outdoor gear, I checked a couple tents. At our local REI store, their Half Dome 2 Tent currently is $199 but can be rented for a week for a bit under $40. Online the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent rents for $39 a week from plus for where I live 2-way shipping adds another $18.70 for a total of $57.70. It retails for around $329.

Depending on your plans, renting or buying may be your best option. In addition you may also want to think about borrowing outdoor equipment from someone that you know.

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One response to “Should You Rent or Buy Your Outdoor Gear?”

  1. Ross says:

    Hey Rob, great post. Issue I found with buying gear is that you have to store it somewhere. If you live in a small place or you are travelling around, you may not have the space to store the gear once you’ve got it. I much prefer to buy my own gear so I know where it is, know how to use it and know its history. Many people that rent don’t care as much about their gear and you may get a piece that hasn’t been taken care of very well.

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