Home>Travel inspiration>Outdoor Adventure

No Gear, No Problem: Rental Services That Make Camping Easy

By Jen Rose Smith

May 12, 2021

share this article
flipboard
Get everything you need for your next camping trip without spending thousands of dollars.

Photo by Matt Gross/Unsplash.com

Get everything you need for your next camping trip without spending thousands of dollars.

Whether you’re not ready to invest in a garage full of gear or simply don’t have room to store it all, these rental companies will equip you with top-of-the-line tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and more.

share this article
flipboard

With sleeping bag sunsets and morning coffee in the pines, a weekend camping trip is the stuff of summertime dreams. But for many first-time campers—and anyone with limited storage space—buying everything you need for a stint in the great outdoors can seem like an impossible hurdle.

Enter camping gear rentals: While some will let you rent one or two items missing from your packing checklist, others will bundle everything you need for a camping trip into a campground-ready box, then deliver it to your doorstep or your destination (including hotels or Airbnbs). Each of these outfitters swaps out gear on a regular basis to keep the selection up to date, which makes rentals a great way to test the latest camping gear before investing in your own. While all equipment gets a thorough cleaning between each trip, sleeping bags and sleeping pads get special attention: Those are whisked to a professional cleaner or treated with an anti-microbial spray before heading back into the field. 

So whether you’re dreaming of a campsite on the beach or exploring a national park, don’t let your lack of a good sleeping bag stop you. Instead, use one of these companies to rent camping gear.

Xscape Pod

  • Where: Portland, OR, for local pickup; ships nationwide
  • What: Fully equipped camping setups with premium gear, plus a free campsite concierge service
  • How much: From $149 for one to three days, plus $50 for round-trip shipping

Portland-based Xscape Pod rents comprehensive camping “pods” that include a tent, 30-degree sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, sleeping pad, camp chairs, headlamp, and fire starter, and it packs all your supplies into hard-sided pods that are easy to slide into the trunk of a car. Campsite chefs will appreciate well-appointed cooking kits with camp stove, cooler, lightweight pots, pocket knives, and roasting skewers. (Hello, s’mores!) 

For backcountry adventures, it also offers a backpacking pod, which includes a backpack and other, lightweight camping gear to set you up for an overnight trek in the woods. Additionally, you can rent gear à la carte if you’re only missing an item or two.

Xscape Pod packs all the gear you need for a camping trip into one easy-to-transport box.

What it costs

Pods start at $149 for one person and $199 for two people for a one- to three-day trip. Shipping is included for orders $349 and over. Otherwise, nationwide round-trip FedEx shipping is a flat rate of $50. Pods arrive the day before your start date; if you choose a one-day rental, you’ll have until 6 p.m. the day after your departure date to get your gear in the mail using a return shipping label. 

Article continues below advertisement

Going to Portland, Oregon? You can pick up a pod at Xscape Pod headquarters to save on shipping costs.

Outdoors Geek

  • Where: Local pickup available in Denver, CO; ships nationwide
  • What: Customizable packages tailored to basic camping, glamping, and family outings
  • How much: From $69 for one to three days, plus shipping

Most gear rental companies offer a few types of prepacked camping kits, but variety is where Denver-based Outdoors Geek shines, starting with budget-friendly basic packages that include a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. On the other end of the spectrum are luxe, glamping-inspired setups with a two-person sleeping bag, a table and chairs, and a spacious Santa Fe bell tent. The eight-person tents supplied in family camping packages sleep your entire clan, and you can add kid-pleasing games and hot chocolate too.

If you already own some gear, Outdoors Geek is also a good place to rent extras—its comprehensive gear collection dwarfs that of other outlets and features big-name brands such as Marmot, the North Face, MSR, and Big Agnes.

The Best Campsites Near Major U.S. Cities

What it costs

Basic camping packages with a tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag start at $69 for a one- to three-day rental period, while stylish “fancy camping” kits are $268 and up. Round-trip, nationwide UPS shipping is extra, or you can pick up your kit at Outdoor Geek’s Denver location.

Arrive Outdoors

  • Where: Local pickup and delivery in Los Angeles, CA; ships nationwide
  • What: Premium equipment, cushy extras, and service from on-call staff
  • How much: $187 for one to three days, plus free shipping

Arrive Outdoors in Los Angeles is a gear rental service that stocks equipment from Marmot, Nemo, Black Diamond, and other top brands, and its sustainability-driven mission helped the company snag Outdoor Retailer’s 2019 Inspiration Award. Pick the gear you want item by item or order camping packages that bundle basics with creature comforts like Helinox camp chairs, heavy-duty Yeti coolers, and full cooking kits. Or go even bigger and build a chic site equipped with hammocks, solar-powered mood lighting, and a stainless-steel grill that turns your campfire into an open-air barbecue.

Arrive Outdoors also has on-call staff who can help with gear selection and trip-planning advice by phone or chat.

What it costs

Generously stocked, one-person camping sets start at $187 for one to three days. Round-trip FedEx shipping is included for orders over $49 and in-store pickup and local delivery are available in Los Angeles.

Don’t worry about stuffing a tent into your carry-on luggage—most rental gear companies will deliver to FedEx boxes and hotels.

REI

  • Where: Nationwide
  • What: Convenient in-person camping rentals
  • How much: Starting at $114 for members; $171 for nonmembers for a basic, two-person car camping kit

Article continues below advertisement

With 168 locations in 39 states across the United States, REI is one of the easiest places to rent camping gear from—especially if you need it ASAP. REI rentals come either à la carte—great if all you need is a bear canister or an extra camping chair—or as part of a kit, complete with tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, coolers, chairs, table, and headlamps. You can generally expect to receive REI-brand gear, like the REI Co-op Half-Dome tent, though some stores may be able to swap for a different brand if you want to test something specific.

The only downside is that not all REI rental locations take online reservations (you have to call to check on availability and reserve gear) and they don’t ship gear like the companies mentioned above. However, for last-minute adventures and small odds-and-ends, REI’s convenience and affordability is hard to beat for campers who live near a store with this option.

What it costs

A basic two-person car camping kit from REI starts at $114 for the first night and $27 for each additional night for members, $171 for the first night and $40 for each additional night for nonmembers.

Other ways to camp if you don’t own gear

Renting a camping gear kit is a flexible, low-effort way to test out camping for the first time, or avoid loading up your checked luggage while flying to your destination. However, there are other ways to spend a night outdoors, even if you don’t own the equipment. 

Rent a fully equipped camper van or RV

If you’re spending the night at a drive-in campsite, you could skip the tent entirely and rent a fully equipped camper van or RV for your camping adventure. Many developed campgrounds throughout the United States, including those at national and state parks, have special sites to accommodate RVs (although you should check on the park’s website before making a reservation). 

Camper vans are a little more flexible because you can usually park them in standard, non-RV campsites. For both, rental companies like the West Coast’s Native Campervans and New York–based Wayward Campers provide everything you need—stove, bed, fridge or cooler—to spend a night (or more) comfortably outdoors.

Read more: Where and How to Rent an RV in the U.S.

Book a campsite that comes with a tent

What if we said that you could book a campsite that comes with a fully set-up and equipped tent? At the signature glamping sites on Tentrr—available in over 40 states—that’s exactly what you get: A ready-to-sleep-in safari-style tent, complete with other camping essentials like chairs, grill, and a bed. Although the platform generally works with private landowners, you can find several of its setups in state parks in Maine and New York.

This article was originally published on July 17, 2019; it was updated with new information on May 11, 2021. Jessie Beck contributed to the reporting of this story.

>>Next: You Can Now Go Glamping at These 4 New York State Parks

Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy