Should You Buy Or Rent Gear

Last Minute Gear started due to an obsession with this very question, because buying gear can seem unfair. If you don't go very often, of course you're going to want to spend less money, but this often means real trade-offs in terms of the experience that you will have. For example, cheaper gear is generally bulky & less warm. And the hard truth that the marketers don't want to actually tell you as they're trying to make money and sell gear, is that the vast majority of people are not going to get outdoors very often. Of course, we would love it if more people were outdoors enthusiasts (even then buying can be difficult because you may not have the upfront funds), but we're also realistic and we know that for most people, there are tons of activities pulling at their attention. Our goal is that everyone has access to gear, whether:

You are going to a once-only event
Renting oudoor gear is easiest (e.g., you're tagging along on a friend's trip, going to a festival or work event)
You are starting to go outdoors more often, but not sure or ready to invest in buying
Rent outdoor gear to try various items or rent-to-buy with us
You are going outdoors frequently already
Buy from us; we don't carry every model in the world but we do curate our selection for what's most value for our customers
You can't afford to rent yet
Borrow outdoor gear for FREE because we're the only shop that has a community-donated camping gear library!

Below we've compiled the top considerations for buying or renting outdoor gear based on our experience with our customers. And definitely play around with our calculator, which uses average costs of gear compared to realistic and average trips per year based on industry data to help you visualize the financial costs of buying versus renting.



Rent & Borrow

Spending more, or settling for less
Quality gear is cost-prohibitive & cheaper options are often less durable or lack key features
Spending less, and getting more
Rent the same higher-end outdoor gear up to 90% off; if you rent so often that it would've cost less to buy, we'll give you the gear, & borrowing is FREE!
Researching gear that will work over time
To accommodate changes in body, needs (e.g., new family), or seasons & weather
Getting perfect gear for the trip right now
Rent different models to figure out what you like without having to commit
Keeping your gear in good condition
You have to wash & dry gear, then store it in large, open spaces... it can be a hassle!
Relaxing... that's it
Take a nap & enjoy that after-trip glow, we'll take care of the rest
Will you get your money's worth??
Having gear won't make you do anything more, no matter the new years' resolution! Especially outdoor trips, which require more planning logistics & herding friends
Living more carefree
No clutter in your closet, no stress on your finances. Sharing resources is also better for our community & environment

Should you buy outdoor gear?

2 = industry average

Be realistic:

  • How easy it is to take time off
  • How easy it is to coordinate people's schedules for a trip
  • How long the season is

3 = industry average

Be realistic:

  • How well you maintain gear
  • If your needs may change (e.g., body size, solo vs family trips, moving to new geography)
  • If you often lend gear out to friends

Savings = cost of buying per trip - cost of renting per trip. Cost of renting per trip = simply our rental prices for one. Cost of buying per trip =

  • The value of basic gear necessities / total number of trips (trips per year * number of years) + time cost (1 average hours to prep, clean, repair gear per trip * $25/hour SF living wage)
  • The value of basic gear necessities LMG provides across seasons = $1200 for camping & backpacking (includes $150 for a roomy car-camping tent, $300 for a lightweight backpacking tent, $150 each for warm & cold-weather sleeping bags, $100 for a sleeping pad, $200 for a backpack, etc.), and = $700 for snowsports (includes $250 for a jacket, $150 for pants, $100 each for helmet, gloves, etc.). While you can get a basic gear package cheaply, folks have told us about cheap gear breaking on first use!