Free ‘Rental’ Of Outdoor Gear

Like a book from the library, you can check out a kit of gear. Pick it up, camp out for a weekend, then return it — that is the simple concept helping people get outdoors in San Francisco.

Alite Designs recently launched the second year of its Ranger Station program, which offers the free camping gear to check out and use.

Alite-ranger-station
A complete gear setup, free to check-out for a weekend trip

Alite founder Tae Kim was inspired to launch the gear lending program after he discovered a library for hand and power tools in his home town.

“If people can borrow tools, try them out, and use them for various work projects on a free rental basis… why the heck can’t we do it for camping gear?”

And so the idea of the Ranger Station was born.

Currently the program offers three varieties of the camping setups: A beginner car camping kit; an intermediate car camping/hike-in kit; and, new this year, a more advanced backpacking kit.

All provide the basics for beginner and intermediate campers to enjoy themselves while ensuring they are well equipped.

Each kit has Alite gear, including a camp chair, lantern, tent, and sleeping pad.

alite-outpost

The program is free, although you do need to have a credit card to put down in case of damages.

You can reserve a kit online and check it out from Thursday through Monday, allowing you to play hooky on Friday and set out for a long weekend.

“Our whole mission is to get people outside, especially young people,” said Kim. “A lot of these people grew up in suburbia and moved to the city and never really spent time outside.”

Here’s what is available to “rent” for free:

CAMP 1: Intro Car Camping Kit

CAMP 2: Intro Backpack Kit

CAMP 3: Intermediate Backcountry Kit

alite-gear
Intermediate Backcountry Kit

Unfortunately, if you’re not located in the Bay Area you’re out of luck — currently the kits can only be checked-out from the Alite Outpost in downtown San Francisco.

Alite has plans to open its lending libraries in a few other cities next year. We’d love this idea to catch on, and with more companies, to make it easier for people to get out of the city and learn to love the great outdoors.

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Eric is a contributing writer based in Bozeman, MT. An avid climber, mountain biker, backpacker, and snowboarder, he earned his degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. When not living the GearJunkie life, he can be found exploring the Montana backcountry.

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