Need a Christmas gift for the outdoorsy type who already has everything? Check out CampRents! It’s the ultimate hassle-free camping experience!
Remember the days when it seemed like you could drop everything and skip town on a dime whenever you felt the urge? My husband and I are avid hikers and backpackers. We used to call off work, throw our camping gear in the back of the truck, lock the house, and go.
Oh, how things have changed. We have a kiddo, a bunch of animals, a century home in constant need of repair, and we are both self-employed entrepreneurs. Though we are grateful for everything we have and wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s certainly much harder to be spontaneous. We travel and camp a lot less, only managing to hit the trail once or twice a year.
That’s why I was beyond excited when I learned about CampRents: a backpacking gear rental service. The process is simple and seamless. Just go to the website, answer a few questions about yourself and your trip, and CampRents will send you a pre-packed, custom-fit backpack 1 to 2 days before you leave on your trip. They can even have the pack shipped to your destination – perfect for bucket-list backpacking adventures like Kauai’s Kalalau trail…without having to drag all of your gear on the plane!
What’s in my CampRents pack?
The CampRents pack comes custom-fit for your measurements and includes almost everything you’ll need for a successful weekend in the woods. All of the items arrive pre-packed and include a single-man tent, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, bear canister with meals, camp stove, pot and eating utensil, headlamp, water filter, compass, and waterproof matches. They also provide a handy checklist of items you will need to add to your pack, such as clothing, toilet paper, and snacks.
Why use a service like CampRents?
CampRents is great for the following “types” of people:
The twice-yearly warrior. Owning backpacking gear is a lot like buying a boat. You use it a lot the first year after purchase, but then you get busy and the novelty wears off. You might pull the boat out of storage and take it for a spin once or twice a year. But is that really worth the initial cost and the headache of properly cleaning, storing, and caring for it? It would be easier to just rent a boat a couple of times a year, right? If you realistically only plan to go backpacking once or twice a year, using a service like CampRents is hands down the way to go!
The first-time backpacker. Backpacking gear is expensive and there’s so much stuff you can buy, some of it completely useless. Then you gotta figure out how to use it. If you’re new to backpacking it would be hard to invest all that money in equipment and not be 100% sure it’s something you’ll enjoy. CampRents loans you name-brand high-quality gear, send only what you need, and provides instructional videos for how to use everything. This is a great way to experience backpacking without a major commitment. It also gives you a chance to test some of the best gear on the market.
The busy working professional. Sure you can afford all the high-tech gear. But do you really have time to get it all together before a trip and then clean it up and store it properly after? Half of your already-limited time will be spent gathering, sorting, and cleaning backpacking gear! If you want to add a little more spontaneity to your weekends without the work and mess, CampRents is perfect for you!
The lazy one. No offense intended here! I added this one because it most closely matches a description of myself and why I will continue using a service like CampRents. Some people love organizing and cleaning their camping gear. I hate it. There’s nothing worse than feeling totally zen after a weekend in the woods, then getting home and having to dry and clean tents, bleach water filters, wash sleeping bags, and get everything put back into storage.
My CampRents Camping Experience
I affectionately dubbed this trip “The CampRents Trip” because it was so enjoyable and worry-free…for me anyway. My poor husband didn’t have it so easy. He agreed to use his own gear so that I could get photos and use it as a comparison to the CampRents experience.
T minus eight days to The CampRents Trip
I checked the weather (I’m a fair-weather camper), and it was looking good for the following weekend. So I jetted over to the CampRents website to order my pack.
The CampRents website is remarkably easy to use. I entered my dates of travel and put in my own address as the “destination” so that the pack would be shipped to my house. I then answered a few questions about myself: body measurements, whether I was vegan or carnivore, and whether or not I tend to be a cold or hot sleeper. It took me a grand total of 10 minutes. As a comparison, it usually takes me almost a full day to find and organize all of my gear.
T minus 24 hours to The CampRents Trip
The day before our trip, as my husband was rummaging and sorting through bins of gear and muttering obscenities, my CampRents pack arrived, ready to go!
I tried it on…perfect fit! In the front pocket was a handy dandy card telling me exactly what additional items I would need…after all, CampRents isn’t going to provide you with clothes and partially-used rolls of toilet paper.
Lickety split, I gathered a few items and some clothes and threw everything in the truck. Then I sat back with a glass of wine as my husband continued to trash our living room searching for all of his gear.
“Which sleep mat has the hole in it?” He asked. “I dunno. I just know it’s not my CampRents mat.” I said with a big smile. He shot me a look of disgust and proceeded to blow up three different air mattresses to see which one still held air.
T minus 0 hours to The CampRents Trip
As usual, we hit the road an hour later than planned because my husband hadn’t quite finished getting his gear into the truck. Between that and another hour spent fixing a flat tire, we finally arrived at the trail head two hours behind schedule.
In his frustration to find and sort gear prior to this trip, my husband had simply tossed everything into the truck instead of neatly packing it into his pack. So even though we were at the trail head, we still weren’t ready to go. More rummaging and sorting. Thirty minutes later I had finished two chapters in a novel and he was finally ready to hit the trail.
The Actual CampRents Trip
The CampRents pack was light and comfortable and I had no issues during our 6+ mile hike into the camp area. After we chose a site I was delighted to find that it was also thoughtfully packed: the tent was on top, followed by the food, and the sleeping bag on the bottom. Eating utensils, stove, water filter, compass, matches, and flashlight were all easily accessible in the top and side pockets. Genius.
As I mentioned above, the CampRents website has tutorials on how to use the gear (tent, stove, etc.). I’m not a tutorial kind of girl. So I decided to wing it and see how hard it would be to use this new equipment without any instructions (if you’re totally new to backpacking, I don’t recommend “winging it”…definitely watch the tutorials). I should also mention that I get frustrated easily – that’s just my nature.
Everything was easy to use. I had the tent set up in less than five minutes and I was thrilled to find that the stove was self-lighting – no matches needed! That little stove packs some power too: it boiled 4 cups of water – enough to rehydrate two meals – in about 60 seconds!
Even though I’m a “carnivore”, CampRents took the liberty of packing both vegan and non-vegan meals for us to try. Freeze dried backpacking meals have come a long way and I’d eat these things every day at home if I could afford it! All of the meals CampRents provided were excellent, but I have to admit that I was extra impressed with the flavor and texture of the vegan meals!
Overnight the outside temp dropped into the upper 30’s. I was a little concerned that my super-lightweight CampRents sleep mat and sleeping bag wasn’t going to keep me warm, so I donned extra clothes before bed. I woke up hot. Should have trusted CampRents! After removing some clothing, I slept remarkably well!
The best part of The CampRents Trip
For me the best part of this trip was getting home! I got to keep my “nature zen” a little longer because I didn’t have to come home and immediately and start unpacking and cleaning dirty equipment. All I had to do was stuff all of the dirty CampRents gear into the oversized reusable shipping bag it came in, and I was done! I took a hot shower, poured myself a glass of wine, and meditated on the couch while my husband spent three hours unpacking, sorting, drying, and cleaning gear.
“Next time I get to use the CampRents pack,” he said.
Merry Christmas from CampRents!
Guess what? Christmas is less than two months away! Want to get a great gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life? Consider a CampRents gift card! CampRents is offering AOM blog readers a special discount too! Head over to the CampRents store, click on gift card, and enter the following code at checkout: AOMcamp