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Try Before Buying: We Rented Gear and You Can Too

Outdoors Geek Rental Tent, Winter Camping in New Mexico
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Short on camp gear? Rent it before you buy it, or just fill out your pack for a single adventure. From large canvas tents to lightweight backpacking supplies, Outdoors Geek has you covered.

Outdoors Geek Rental Tent, Winter Camping in New Mexico

Good gear is expensive. Often, it has to be that way due to high-quality materials, meticulous production standards, and rigorous testing. If you’re using that gear every day, then it’s a great value. But what about those who only tackle adventure a couple times a year? Enter Outdoors Geek Gear Rental.

Located in Denver, Colo., Outdoors Geek has everything you need to get outside. It carries tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, hammocks, lighting, camp cooking supplies, water filtration systems, and much more.

And the brand isn’t alone. REI rents loads of gear, as do many universities and local outfitters. We tried Outdoors Geek to see how this rental-first business works.

Read on to find out why you should consider renting gear, how it works, and details on one of my favorite free winter camp spots.

Why Rent Camping Gear?

The option to try before you buy allows new campers the chance to get a taste for the outdoors before committing fully. And while renting still takes an investment (a complete lightweight camp package for two people will set you back $97 for a three-day rental), Outdoors Geek offers a range of products and packages to get started.

In fact, Outdoors Geek has a great selection of Used Camping Gear. This can be a great option for filling the gear closet without breaking the bank. Plus, shoppers who want something to own can buy from a selection of new and used gear on the site.

And in case you thought renting gear was just for newbies, don’t forget it’s also a great option for anyone traveling. Spending a few nights on the trail is one of my favorite ways to spend the weekend, but it can be a pain to haul all your camping gear for such a short excursion. Renting, especially when you can swing by and pick it up, is a fast and efficient way to spend a few nights camping.

Winter Camping with a Wood Stove

Lastly, you might find yourself in a situation like I was recently. I wanted to spend a couple weeks camped out during the winter. And, while I own a backpacking tent, I was looking for more of a basecamp: a place where we could cook, stay warm, and relax with a glass of whiskey and good book come nightfall.

All things considered, $300 for a week’s rental of this mega-tent setup is quite reasonable – especially considering we split the cost between our group and camped for free (more on this below). And, in comparison to the cabin rentals we were considering, this gave us the opportunity to get farther away from the crowds and still have a very comfortable place to return each night.

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And customers don’t have to be eyeing rugged backcountry adventure. Outdoors Geek offers festival camping packages, and single-items for those who only need specific gear to get going.

How Outdoors Geek Rental Works

I was pleasantly surprised how simple it was to rent a camping tent and gear from Outdoors Geek. After browsing the well-organized website, I called to inquire about the tent I was interested in and learn a bit more about gear rental.

After a brief chat about my needs, we decided a canvas tent with woodstove (a type often used for hunting) would be perfect. The only problem: I wasn’t located in Colorado.

Luckily, in addition to allowing pick-up at its Denver location, Outdoors Geek ships across the United States. Within a week, all of the gear arrived directly to my doorstep. My camping package included the tent, stove, and cots. And just like that I was ready for a winter camping adventure.

Free Winter Camp Spot

Just because the temperature has dropped and snow has started flying doesn’t mean camping season needs to end. In fact, winter can provide some of the best opportunities to get outside without the crowds. Add in a beautiful landscape and riverside hot springs, and there’s no better place to spend a few nights (or weeks!) camped out.

Gila National Forest Free Camping

Tucked into the Gila National Forest in the southern-most reaches of New Mexico, you’ll find stunning desert camp opportunities and the lure of Turkey Creek Hot Springs.

After passing through the wacky and artistic town of Truth or Consequences, N.M.(be sure to check out Passion Pie Cafe and Black Cat Books and Coffee),  you’ll hop off the interstate and head toward the town of Silver City. This is the last major town along the way, so get supplies as needed and carry on. For best results, use these coordinates: 3°03’50.5″N 108°29’51.9″W.

Following miles of dirt road, you’ll wind up and over the mountain. Unofficial campsites exist all along the area and are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Riverside spots are available, but be aware of weather and possible flooding when choosing a site.

From this home base, you can hike a few miles up the canyon to reach Turkey Creek Hot Springs. Note: This is a fairly challenging hike with several river crossings and rocky areas. It is also affected by the river flow and can be inaccessible during times of high water. For detailed directions and other water-filled hot spots, check out this book.

Whether staying a few days or weeks, you’ll find the Gila National Forest full of opportunities to camp for free, unplug, and get away from it all. The desert is a beautiful, but wild, place. Come prepared and you’ll leave with memories to last a lifetime.

Looking for more free camping? Check this out:

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