So you want to take an outdoor trip, but don’t have the right gear? You can either spend tons of money to buy it, or you can rent it. Well, a Utah company called Gearlope, is rethinking how we rent outdoor gear – you rent it from other people. There are thousands of garages and basements filled with gear, and most of the time it just sits there. With Gearlope, you can rent out your idle bikes, skis and other gear, and make some money in the process. As for the renter, they get quality gear to rent at a price less than most brick and mortar stores.
Bill Mastin, the Park City founder of Gearlope, says he got the idea when he wanted to take a kayak trip with the kids. “I wanted to take my kids on the water and didn’t have any kayaks or a canoe. So I bought some inflatable kayaks and then realized I didn’t have room to store them. Driving home from returning them to REI, I realized that at least 100 people in my neighborhood probably have kayaks and they would be happy to share and I’d be happy to throw them some money their way. The idea formed of a site that would have 4 basic concepts: passion for sport, community sharing, recycle and reuse, save money, and make money for people.” Thus, Gearlope was born.
Mastin goes on to say that Gearlope’s goal is also to connect people that need gear and the people that have gear. This in turn creates sharing and community connections, so you might just meet a new backcountry skiing buddy in the process. It also allows people to try out a new sport without dropping serious coin on new stuff. Mastin says it “turns your neighborhood into a big, sharing rental shop.”
“The coolest thing is that the rental process starts to have a human face. So the guy I rented the canoe from told me where to go put in and what to check out on the local lake. We made a real world face to face connection outside the site that will last,” Mastin says.
So how does it work? On the Gearlope website, people can either list gear or rent gear. According to Mastin, there is about $10,000 worth of gear listed already that ranges from skis, snowboards, canoes and even tennis ball machines. The renter finds the gear and makes an inquiry which takes them to a page where they can directly message with the owner. Then after agreement or any questions are answered, the renter makes a request to rent and the owner accepts. Then they pick up the gear at the agreed upon place and time (most cases the owners home) and the renter goes out and enjoys the gear. Then they return and the owner marks the gear returned in the site.
This all sounds like a novel idea and would give people access to a much wider range of gear than just rental shop fleets. Mastin says he hopes to be everywhere gear is needed and anywhere he can help get people outdoors.
For more details or to get started yourself, check out Gearlope online.