Camping, Outdoor Education

Buy or Rent Camping Gear

buy or rent

When you are planning your next camping trip there are some things to take into consideration about your gear. If this is your first trip then getting all of the necessary gear can be daunting or confusing. You may not own any gear since it is your first trip. So you will need to obtain the right gear to be safe and successful.  While your first impulse may be to head to the sporting goods store, know that you have another option.  You do!  In addition to buying your own camping gear, you may also be able to rent it. So should you buy or rent your camping gear?

You may have difficulty determining whether you should buy or rent your camping gear. It all depends on your needs.  If you are wondering what you should do, you will want to continue reading.  Below, we share the pros and cons of both buying your own camping gear and renting your camping gear.

Buy or rent Camping Gear

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Buying Pros and Cons

Let’s start by looking at the top three cons first and get the bad news out of the way.


When buying your own camping gear, you will find the biggest con or downside to doing so is the cost. Depending on what you need to buy, it can get pretty expensive to purchase your own camping gear. With that in mind, there are a number of camping gear equipment pieces, like tents or sleeping bags, that can be purchased for affordable prices.  If you are looking to camp on a budget, you can still buy your own camping gear. However, you just need to know where to look.

Your next consideration will be where you are going to store all of the gear that you purchase. Not all of us who need or love to get into the outdoors have copious amounts of storage space. So after you buy all of that wonderful equipment you need a place to store it. This could come at an extra cost if you need to rent a storage locker. Even smaller lightweight backpacking equipment takes up some space. Some small apartments may not be able to accommodate the storage need.

Finally, the gear you buy may end up sitting with lots and lots of downtime. It may be weeks or even months between your outdoor excursions. This means that the items may degrade if they are not stored properly. They may even start to deteriorate and not perform the way they were intended. All of that will lead to more costs as you continue to replace the products.

buy or rent

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Although there are a number of downsides, like the price, to buying your own camping gear, you will also find that there are a number of pros or plus sides to doing so as well.

One of those plus sides is the fact that you will own the camping gear in question. This means that you can use it as little or as often as you would like.  If you are planning to take a number of camping trips in the future, you will find that it is easier to just grab your gear and go where you want to go.

Additionally, it is cheaper in the long run, to buy your own camping gear. This is because you are not paying a premium for someone else to purchase, store, and manage the rentals of the gear. Also, you will get more use out of each item because you can ensure its proper care. As opposed to rental equipment which could be damaged by those who don’t know how to use it.

It is also important to mention the freedom that you have when buying your own camping gear. When buying your own camping gear, you can buy basically whatever you want. For instance, if you would like a camping tent that is the color black, you are free to do so.  You have the ability to be picky if you want to be and buy top-of-the-line or starter gear.  With a large selection of camping gear pieces to choose from, from a number of different retailers, the decision as to what you want to buy is yours to make.

buy or rent

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Renting Pros and Cons

If you are unable to buy your own camping gear or if you would prefer not you, your other option is to rent your camping gear.  When it comes to renting camping gear, you will also find a number of pros and cons.


Let’s start with the cons of renting again.

The first con of renting your camping gear is that you may find that you have a limited selection of camping gear pieces to choose from.  Many camping gear rental stations only carry basic items, like tents, hot plates, and coolers.  While you may have some choices, you will mostly see your selection is limited. Besides limited selection, they may have all of their equipment rented out leaving you unable to go when you want. This can be significantly detrimental when planning your trip. If you aren’t prepared you are going to have a bad time!

The next issue that you may face is higher prices during certain periods of the year. You will find that some rental companies increase prices during peak times of the year because they know people will be seeking to get outside in the warmer months. If you need to be budget-conscious then this may end up pricing you out of the trip you want. Worse yet it could force you to postpone your trip.

With these first two cons, we primarily focused on the rental of the items themselves. However, for our third con, we focus on the user. The fact is that people who rent things generally do not treat those items with the same respect as if they owned them. You cannot be sure that someone hasn’t damaged the item to a point where it is usable but maybe not safe. This is concerning when dealing with things like camp stoves that use propane. While many rental companies do safety checks between uses there is some risk. You definitely don’t want to be in a rented tent with a pinhole leak during a rainstorm!

buy or rent

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The pros of renting are essentially the opposite of the cons of buying, as you may have guessed.

If you are only planning a single camping trip or just trying it out then you will find that the cost is much more affordable. Instead of laying out a huge amount of capital upfront for something you may not like renting can be affordable. You can get beginner-type items to test and see if you truly like the way they perform. Even better you can determine if camping is something you want to do longer term.

With rented gear, you will not need to find space to store the items in your apartment or home. In fact, you will return the gear at the end of your trip and never have to think about its storage or maintenance again. It does provide some piece of mind to have someone else handle that for you.

You will also find that you can rent camping gear typically for as little as one day or as long as a couple of weeks. Renting your camping gear is nice if this is your first time going camping and if you are unsure as to whether or not you would be interested in doing so again. Having the ability to rent for only a couple nights and then return it would allow for you to give camping a go without the investment necessary.

So Should you Buy or Rent Camping Gear

High Initial CostLow Initial Cost
Requires Storage SpaceNo Storage
High Non-Use TimeOne or more day rentals
Meets User NeedsMay not meet needs
Low long-term costLimited Availability
Low long term costHigher Repeated Rental Costs
Recommended For: Experienced or Frequent Campers Just Starting or Those with Limited Space

Final Thoughts on Buy or Camping Rent Gear

As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons to both buying your own camping gear and renting it.  It really depends on the person, their financial ability to purchase, and the space that they have. If you have the money and space to store your camping gear then buying is the best option. This is because you can easily pick up your gear and go whenever you want. It is your gear and you know it will be taken care of correctly, and in the long run, it is cheaper. However, if this is your first time going camping or you have limited space and time then renting would be the best fit for you.

Tell us in the comments about your camping gear rental experiences!