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

By Jen Rose Smith

Jul 17, 2019

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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 companies will equip you with top-of-the-line tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and more.

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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—getting equipped for a stint in the great outdoors can seem like an impossible hurdle.

Enter a new generation of gear rental companies that bundle everything you need for a camping trip into a campground-ready box, then deliver it to your doorstep or your destination. (All the companies listed below ship to FedEx or UPS offices, as well as hotels and Airbnbs, so you can breeze onto a plane without stuffing a tent into your checked baggage.) Many also offer tutorials, videos, and trip-planning services to help get you out of the city and into one of America’s spectacular national parks or other outdoor destinations.

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 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 you’ve got tickets to one of the summer’s hottest music festivals, our favorite gear rental companies have you covered.

Xscape Pod

Fully equipped camping setups with premium gear, plus a free campsite concierge service

This Portland-based gear rental company offers comprehensive camping kits 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!)

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

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If you’re planning a first camping trip—or one that ventures beyond your comfort zone—Xscape Pod’s free campsite concierge service can help with logistics. You fill out a form detailing your dream camping trip, and then you’ll get a 30-minute phone call from a camping expert ready to chat about trip planning and gear. And for campers in selected cities in the western United States, Xscape Pod’s campsite finder service will secure a campsite within driving distance of your home. You choose the terrain type—desert, mountains, coasts, or freshwater destinations—and the Xscape Pod team will reserve the perfect spot for an additional $25 fee.

What it costs: One-person pods start at $69 for one day with nationwide round-trip FedEx shipping for 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. Going to Portland, Oregon? You can pick up a pod at Xscape Pod headquarters to save on shipping costs.

Outdoors Geek

Customizable packages tailored to festival camping, glamping trips, and family outings

Most gear rental companies offer a few types of prepacked camping kits, but variety is where this Denver-based outfitter 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 Santa Fe bell tent with enough room that you could even have space to do campground yoga. The eight-person tents supplied in family camping packages sleep your entire clan, and you can add kid-pleasing games and hot chocolate. too.

The Best Campsites Near Major U.S. Cities

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.

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

Premium equipment, cushy extras, and service from on-call staff

This gear rental service in Los Angeles 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 offers online guides on how to book a campsite and basic camping skills, which are well suited to novice campers, and on-call staff can help with gear selection and trip-planning advice by phone or chat.

What it costs: Generously stocked, one-person camping sets start at $191 for one to three days. Round-trip FedEx shipping in the lower 48 is based on weight; one-person camping kits ship for $20 round-trip, while heavier four-person kits are $30. 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.


Minimalist camping gear ready for remote locations

If you’re looking for a woodsy camping experience that involves filtering water from mountain streams, CampCrate’s prepacked boxes are for you. The included high-tech gear makes roughing it easier: Aura sleeping bags from ALPS Mountaineering are rated to 20 degrees, ensuring a cozy night even at higher altitudes and in cooler weather, and the included Jetboil stoves boil water ultra-fast, so they’re great for morning coffee and freeze-dried meals.

The website’s Basecamp section features helpful instructional videos on essential camping skills such as how to use the camp stove or set up a tent. CampCrate also offers optional planning services for backpacking trips, and camping trip packages are coming soon. (These self-guided “Adventure Vacations” will include curated lists of the best day hikes and activities near your campsite, as well as a cushier gear selection for extra comfort.)

What it costs: The basic CampCrate package comes with a tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, headlamp, backpack, and water filter for $92 a day with nationwide, round-trip shipping included.

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