It was not too long ago that we headed up to Yellowstone National Park for a camping trip. As we were taking inventory, we realized that flying to our destination was going to limit what camping equipment we could bring. This forced us to only take what was absolutely necessary. A couple of days before we left on our trip to Yellowstone, we found a company called Mountain Side Gear Rental who rents camping and backpacking gear to be shipped to your destination.
It was too late to book it for our Yellowstone trip, but I was completely intrigued by the concept. In fact, during our Yellowstone trip I began to realize how inadequate much our camping equipment is considering we spent every night shivering in our tent on the hard ground.
Our next trip was to Havasu Falls, a place that contains gorgeous blue waterfalls and rivers that run through a less-traveled part of the Grand Canyon. This was the perfect opportunity to rent backpacking and adventure gear since most of our gear is on the heavier side.
We opted for the complete backpacking kit for two people so that we could try out a wide variety of backpacking products and have everything that we needed. They also offer car camping kits as well.
The kit came with everything that you see below:
Lariat 65 Backpack
These bags were great. The kit came with two durable Lariat 65 backpacks which each had their own rainflys and day packs. I admit the day packs were a bit smaller than what I am used to, but for backpacking they are just about right.
Big Agnes Emerald SL2
The Big Agnes SL2 is great once you get the hang of the setup. It held up well through a couple of Grand Canyon thunderstorms with some pretty big wind gusts! It even comes equipped with two doors; one for each backpacker. Although, we rarely used both doors since we like to make things harder on ourselves.
The kit comes with two lightweight Big Agnes insulated or dual core insulated sleeping pads. The pads were nice and comfortable. You have to blow them up yourself, but it took us no time at all.
For the sleeping bags, you get a choice of a Monarch 0 degree or Kenosha 20 degree sleep. We had the 20 degree bags. They were very comfortable on top of the air pads, but we didn’t really get to test them out in weather colder than about 50°F. They did however seem really warm.
For starters, you get a compact Markill Stove which is super compact. It’s actually similar to the one that I like to bring on our camping trips. It uses regular butane/propane fuel, which you can get at REI, Walmart or pretty much anywhere camp supplies are sold.
I have to admit, I was pretty jealous of the GSI Pinnacle Dualist Cookset that this kit came with. It had two bowls, a pot, and a lid that fits nicely together which makes it extremely compact. It even came with foldable plastic sporks. The kit also provides a sponge, biodegradable soap (nice touch), waterproof matches (also nice touch) and a few other accessories.
Other Camping Goodies
The kit comes with other handy items like Fuel or Cosmo LED Headlamps. I can’t stress enough that these are essential for any camping trip. I never leave home without my headlamp when camping, which by the way was an awesome gift (Thanks Mom!). Also included was a SOG Knives Hand Axe which I really only used to help pry up tent stakes, but I know it would come in handy for a lot of camping situations (like protecting Christy from scorpions).
Another amazing addition was the two dry sacs which proved to be invaluable. These sacks kept our camera gear dry even through intense rain. Some other goodies include: First Aid Kit, 50′ Para Cord (great for hanging your food or clotheslines) and extra batteries for the head lamps.
Pros for Renting Camping/Backpacking Equipment:
You can have the gear shipped to nearly any location in the U.S.
The equipment, in most cases, is better than most people own themselves.
You can test equipment before you buy.
If you are a long-term traveling nomad and you don’t have the space to store camping equipment or the room to carry it with you everywhere you go, this is a great alternative.
Perfect for camping trips where you have to take a flight.
Instructions for everything is included in plastic sleeves.
It really was just about everything that we needed.
Cons for Renting Camping/Backpacking Equipment:
Cost – If you camp often and have the ability to store your camping/backpacking equipment, then it would make more sense to invest in your own gear, rather than renting. If you do decide to buy your own gear, we have finally found the ultimate backpacking/camping packing kit.
These are the essential items we now own and highly recommend:
Camping Stove: We have done extensive research on the best and lightest backpacking gear for these types of trips. This backpacking stove is tiny, weighs next to nothing and it heats stuff up fast.
Cookware: We just bought this tiny cookware set for backpacking trips and it’s extremely compact.
Sleeping Bags: This sleeping bag is great for backpacking and it gets excellent reviews.
Tent: We love this lightweight Marmot 2-person tent.
Sleeping Pads: These ones are amazing!
Backpacks: If you are looking for a durable, light, and inexpensive backpack, we recommend the Teton Scout.
Solar Charger: We carry this solar charger to charge our phones and camera batteries.
Waterproof Camera: We use the GoPro Hero4 Silver with LCD. (I ALWAYS travel with a camera and this one is light enough to bring on any backpacking trip!)
How about you? Would you rent camping/backpacking equipment?