Some inveterate outdoor enthusiasts will tell you that camping is the easiest thing in the world: Set up a tent and throw in a sleeping bag, and you have an instant home for the night wherever you may be in the world. But while those people have a point, homes are not cheap—even the portable ones that fit into a backpack.
There are many reasons not to own camping gear. Perhaps you’re new to camping and want to try it before you buy it. After all, not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars on a hobby they’re not sure they love just yet. Maybe you travel a lot and don’t want to lug tents, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, and camp stoves along on flights or bus rides. Or perhaps you simply don’t have the room to store it all.
Whatever your reasoning, there are ways to go camping without the hassle and expense of gear ownership. Enter Arrive, a California-based gear rental company that delivers everything you need for your outdoor adventure straight to your home or destination.
“Similar to Rent the Runway, we partner directly with premium outdoor gear brands and offer their gear for rent on our platform,” says Rachelle Snyder, co-founder and co-CEO of Arrive. She started the company two years ago with her husband, Ross Richmond.
“Both of us grew up going hiking, camping, and spending as much time as possible outdoors,” Snyder says. Then the couple moved from Boston to Los Angeles, getting rid of most of their outdoor gear in the process. “When we arrived in Los Angeles we wanted to participate in so many outdoor activities, but owning, storing, and maintaining gear didn’t make sense,” she says. “We searched for alternatives, but they were either inconvenient or offered lower-quality and tired gear. This experience is what prompted us to launch Arrive.”
The idea is simple. Order what you need (either entire sets or à la carte) on Arrive’s website, then simply wait for it to, well, arrive. You can opt to have the gear shipped to your home, a hotel, or any FedEx location near your destination. At the end of the trip, you ship it back using the free return label.
More campers than ever
According to the 2019 North American Camping Report, a research initiative sponsored by Kampgrounds of America (KOA), the number of camping households in the U.S. reached a new high of 78.8 million in 2018. The majority of those campers—59 percent—reported using tents as their primary form of camping accommodation (as opposed to RVs or cabins). That’s a lot of potential gear to purchase, maintain, and store.
“The outdoor industry has traditionally targeted the ‘gear-owning enthusiast’ and these people are served very well by the industry,” Snyder says. “However, most people aren’t gear-owning enthusiasts and prefer to spend their money on experiences over products.”
According to Snyder, many of Arrive’s customers go camping multiple times per year, but have no interest in owning gear. “We also have some customers who know they’re only going to get outdoors once a year for their family camping trip, and spending thousands on gear plus storing that gear just doesn’t make sense,” she says.
The sustainability factor is another big motivation for the Arrive team. All the items available to rent on the website are owned by Arrive. “When the gear comes back to us after a trip, each piece goes through our quality assurance process and is cleaned before the next use. Anything that doesn’t meet our high standards is donated, giving it another life cycle,” Snyder says. “We’re building a more sustainable outdoor industry by providing access to gear in a way that is less wasteful, more convenient, and comes with the same high standards of ownership.”
Arrive ships anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and recommends ordering at least a week in advance. The gear will be delivered by 8 p.m. the evening before your first rental day.