People love spending time outdoors – in fact, there’s never been more people in the US enjoying the great outdoors than right now. According to the Outdoor Foundation's 2021 Annual report, over 53% of Americans aged 6 and older engaged in outdoor recreational activities in 2021, a US record. That's 7.1 million more people than the previous record. With that in mind – you may be asking yourself, “Are all those people spending thousands of dollars on gear?” or maybe, “How do I get started without jumping straight to purchasing all of the equipment?”
These are fair questions that our team at Quiptu has also spent a lot of time thing about. What we can positively tell you is that YOU HAVE OPTIONS! So many people that we talk to about outdoor activities get caught in the mindset that if you can’t afford the upfront cost of gear, you aren’t able to participate. Quiptu was founded to counter-act against that mindset. Price should never be a barrier that stops people from experiencing the great outdoors. Period.
Below we’ll take you through an analysis of when renting makes sense, and when purchasing gear is the better option.
Renting can be a fantastic way to Try Before You Buy when it comes to outdoor equipment. We see this model used in a variety of different industries, and outdoor gear shouldn’t be any different.
Many consumers aren’t exactly sure of what type of bike, or kayak, or camping set makes the most sense for their unique wants and needs. Sure, reviews from others can be a great tool to understand a little more about the uses and functionality of gear, but it's not quite the same as actually using the product themselves. And the initial cost of that piece of gear can push potential purchasers into a window shopper. According to a study by the marketing firm Arbitron, demo units increased an items sales by an average of 475%. That's a huge indicator to all stores that consumers are more confident with purchasing when they can see an item used and use that item themselves! Quiptu gives renters this ability, and for local outdoor shops, it can mean a dramatic increase to your top-line profit.
Below we’ll dive into a few more reasons when renting is the smarter option.
Outdoor gear is expensive! The average price of a recreational kayak in the United States is over $700. A mountain bike is closer to $1000. The entire cost of a camping set can set you back north of $1000. For many of us, that price point places the activity completely out of reach.
When this is the case – a rental can be a great option! Renting the gear means you are paying a fraction of the overall cost of the gear, and you’ll only have the equipment when you want to engage in the activity. Additionally, you’ll avoid paying the cost of maintenance that most gear tends to need.
Quick scenario: your friends have recently gotten into paddle boarding and keep inviting you to join. You’re excited about trying a new outdoor activity but can’t justify spending big bucks on your own paddle board without knowing how much you’ll enjoy it. What’s the best option? Buy the paddle board anyway and hope you love it? Keep telling your friends, “Maybe next time…”?
In this situation, renting a paddle board gives you a much cheaper alternative to test the waters. For some – borrowing from a friend fills this gap, but for those without friends that participate in the new activity, that isn’t an option. Or if your friends don’t have extra gear, you may look to rent as a way to still engage in the activity.
It can also be the case that you enjoy mountain biking but know that you’ll only hit the trails a couple times a year. In that case, purchasing a mountain bike that is not going to be used very often and that will depreciate over time, isn’t the best choice. Renting will still allow you to participate without feeling bad about having you gear collecting dust.
Millions of people live in areas that don’t have ample storage space that can house their kayak, paddle board, bike, or even camping set. Instead of letting that keep you from adventuring, try renting the gear! Rentals remove the hassle of worrying about storage capacity while giving you access to the great outdoors.
Vacations are intended to be a time away, detached from the day-to-day. Some people enjoy pool-sides, while others like to get out and explore – seeing new sights and trying new activities. Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself on, there is agreement over the desire for ease of mind and feeling refreshed.
When a vacation incorporates you needing to travel with extra luggage that is carrying your gear, that ease of mind starts to fade away. From car racks, to overpriced airline fees, the hassle of bringing gear with you on a vacation can detract from the relaxation a vacation is designed to bring. Renting gear can still give you that same unforgettable outdoor experience but allows you to leave worry at your front door.
The outdoor industry is already on the right track at helping people facilitate testing out specific pieces of equipment through what’s known as a Demo. Potential buyers can Demo a piece of equipment and then determine if purchasing is correct for them.
The reality is that these demo shops are relatively limited in their locations, with most outdoor shops not offering any Demos – which is a shame. Research has indicated that shops that provide demo gear outperform their demo-less competitors at a rate of 475%. If you’re serious about a sport or activity and live in an area where demo gear isn’t readily available, Quiptu could provide that opportunity to test out a specific piece of gear before spending large amounts of money on a purchase!
Roof racks, tow racks, folded down seats – just a few of the ways people think about getting their gear from where they store it to the site of their activity. All of these generally mean that you are in possession of a vehicle, and most of the time it’s an SUV. Over 30 million Americans don’t currently have access to a vehicle, which means that transporting outdoor gear isn’t easily accessible. Without the ability to transport the gear, many won’t even consider owning, and therefore don’t end up participating.
Renting gear removes this barrier to the great outdoors. No vehicle or transportation necessary when you have a platform that allows owners to deliver their gear directly to the site of a renter’s adventure!
Sustainability matters. If we, as a society, can move ourselves away from over-consumption of commodities and into an economic model that promotes the sharing and reuse of our possessions and assets, the more we can positively affect the climate change we are all currently living in.
We’re passionate about our mission of getting people the gear they need to live their adventure, but we are equally passionate about promoting a business model that encourages its users to think just a litter greener.
While renting outdoor gear can be beneficial for the multitude of reasons mentioned above, there are still a few situations where purchasing outdoor gear makes the most sense. We’ll outline those reasons for you below.
When you transition out of dabbling and have established that you really enjoy an outdoor activity, your next step might be to look to purchase gear for that activity. You now have the ability to transport and store your gear and financially it makes sense for you to purchase versus rent. That’s a great feeling, and purchasing the gear is going to be your best option!
The task of researching the best gear for what you need can be equally exciting and daunting at the same time – so many little considerations! Do I want a full suspension mountain bike? What if I decide I want hydraulic brakes after I have mechanical, can I upgrade? You may find yourself teetering between a variety of options that each of our product categories offers. We suggest asking as many questions to the various online outdoor community forums, as well as stopping in your local outdoor shop.
But the joy of purchasing the perfect piece of gear that will allow you to engage in your hobby more often is something not easily topped. And since we are proponents of the sharing economy, we may even suggest a website where you can rent out you outdoor equipment to others 😉