No gear? No Problem: How one company is making camping more accessible with its rental service

Aug 1, 2021

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If you’re anything like me — someone who loves the outdoors but doesn’t spend as much time traversing them as I’d like — chances are, not having the right gear plays a part in this scenario.

Camping can be inaccessible for many reasons, but there are two major reasons that ring true for me: gear storage logistics and cost.

Prior to trading 700-square-feet in NYC for something larger than, well, a shoebox in Philadelphia, I was working with very minimal space. And when I say minimal, I mean living in a studio apartment where having a single closet at all is a luxury. The idea of storing a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, proper attire and accouterments like headlamps and camping stove just wasn’t feasible.

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In addition to a crisis of storage space, I also couldn’t rationalize paying a grand on gear that realistically won’t get used enough to justify the cost.

The good news is that companies have recognized this struggle and come up with a more affordable, urban-dweller-friendly solution: gear rentals.

The latest brand to get on the bandwagon is Eddie Bauer. Its “Rent Your Adventure” program advertises premium gear that’s professionally cleaned and delivered to your door anywhere in the contiguous U.S. (including your destination) at any time. According to the website, orders get delivered “on or before your selected delivery date by 8:00 p.m.,” so you can pack up your rental car (because let’s be honest, there’s a good chance that if you’re in NYC, you don’t have one of those, either) and head for the hills.

Screenshot courtesy of Eddie Bauer.

Orders can be canceled up to 10 days before the reservation date just in case you change your mind or the weather takes a turn. Free return labels are included with your order, to be dropped off at a FedEx location. For a limited time, you can also score free shipping, according to the website.

Campers can reserve everything from men’s and women’s apparel to proper gear. A men’s parka, for example, will run you anywhere from $15 to $17.50 per day, depending on your selection. According to the site, that same parka would typically retail for $349. Sizing runs from S to XXXL.

A tent will set you back anywhere from $6 per day for a smaller, barebones option to $35 per day for the sturdier high-performance choice. Those same tents retail for $119 and $699, respectively.

Related: Why this camping loyalty program is worth its $33 fee

One benefit for novices like myself is the option to order a pre-arranged set of apparel or gear. The Sleep Under the Stars camping set for two includes a tent, two sleeping bags, backpack cooler, two camping chairs and lantern for $32.50 per day. The listed retail price for this kit is $647.

I’m not going to lie; a huge part of the appeal of this service is not having to make endless decisions when it comes to gear selection, which I know nothing about. Now, if only these sets came with the reservations required to get into most national parks these days.

Screenshot courtesy of Eddie Bauer.

In case you’re wondering, the website states that renters “will not be charged for items that are damaged due to normal wear,” however, “you will be charged the full retail price of any item that is returned with significant damage, or not returned at all.” So, camp with caution.

Stay tuned as we send the TPG team to test it out first-hand.

Related: 9 of the best national parks to visit in the fall

Photo by Brett Maurer/Getty Images.

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