Outdoors hobbies – hiking, backpacking, paddling, you name it – can be expensive.
That lightweight tent, altimeter watch and down sleeping bag will make your trek much more comfortable or safe, but are they worth it for a once-a-year adventure? Maybe you’re just cheap and don’t feel like buying that GPS unit. Or snowshoes. Or bike helmet. Kayak. Alpine skis. Toboggan?
But you can rent those items and more from community members at GearCommons.com.
The site lets users list and loan gear or search and borrow it – and they’ve got everything.
Log on and search for gear in a local area, then contact the owner through a built-in messenger, pay for the rental online, and make arrangements to pick it up in person.
Gear owners can list the items, name their daily price and ask for a security deposit. At the end, both parties can rate each other and the rentee can review the gear itself.
According to co-founder Mike Brown, the outdoor community has always had a sharing economy, but “we’re connecting people who own gear with people who need it in a way that’s just extending the way people did it in the past.”
Brown said that his online venture gives you “a bigger communal closet.”
The site currently has its largest concentrations of gear around Boston and Denver, but it is working on expanding.
Brown and co-founder James Rogers say their site is a social network between outdoor adventurers; an avenue making first introductions to the outdoors easier; and, in a day where recycling and reusing gear (think Patagonia’s Worn Wear) is so popular, GearCommons is another way for gear lovers to stay environmentally and economically friendly.
“Instead of someone buying a new kayak or tent and only using it a couple of times per year, you can pool resources together and reduce consumption while improving access,” Brown said.
Rent A Tent (And More)
Tents are the most popular items on the site, Brown said, averaging between $10 and $20 per day. But with little effort you can find a kayak for around $30, crampons for $15, and for those interested, the toboggan is just $20.
In May, GearCommons is launching a crowd-funding campaign to help it film an outdoor adventure in Colorado using only the “sharing economy.”
One of the backers will be chosen for an all-expense-paid trip using RelayRides for transportation, Airbnb for lodging, and, of course, GearCommons for their toys.