12 Best REI Alternatives For Kayaking, Camping And Hiking

12 Best REI Alternatives For Kayaking, Camping And Hiking

REI Co-op, usually referred to as REI for short, is a popular retailer of camping, hiking, and kayaking gear. It sells tents, backpacks, and more.

In addition to selling gear, it also rents them out. Renting tents and other equipment can be a great way to save money, especially if you don’t go camping that often.

In addition, renting gear gives you a chance to try out different equipment. You can then decide which one you like best and purchase it later.

However, REI isn’t the only supplier of camping gear, nor is it the only company that rents out gear.

If you find the prices at REI too high, or if you are looking for a REI competitor for any reason (for example, you can’t find the exact model you want at REI), we’ve got you covered.

Today, I will be taking a look at 12 REI competitors for buying or renting gear.

Quick Summary

REI Co-op is far from your only option. Whether you want to rent camping equipment or kayaks, buy lightly used gear, or find great deals on new gear, there are plenty of options.

For example, Outdoors Geek, Xscape Pod, and Lower Gear offer done-for-you camping and backpacking rental packages. They include all you need for your next trip.

You can have your rental package shipped to you and then ship it back at a FedEx dropoff point. It’s easy and hassle-free.

These companies also sell new and/or lightly used gear. Buying slightly used gear is a great way to avoid paying a premium for brand items while still getting the best of the best.

You can also sell your old gear at Geartrade and then use the proceedings of your sales to purchase other gear.

12 Best REI Alternatives For Kayaking, Camping & Hiking

1. Outdoors Geek

Outdoors Geek is the best alternative to REI for renting camping equipment. It’s been around for more than a decade and a half and is an established rental provider of tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and more.

It also has an online store where you can purchase gear instead of renting.

One of the best things about Outdoors Geek, however, are the camping packages. These are rental packages that give you a set of included gear.

For example, the basic camping set is just $79 and includes a tent, a sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad. It’s great for minimalists who don’t want to carry a lot of gear around.

There are also other camping and backpacking packages. Whether you want to bring along your kids, are hiking with a dog, are going for a winter camping adventure, or are camping in the Rocky Mountains, you will find a camping package made specifically for your purpose.

There are even a couple’s packages and an add-on for those going camping with kids. This add-on includes child-friendly gear.

If you want to go glamping for special occasions, you can choose from one of the DIY glamping packages.

The packages are all reasonably priced. If you are a beginner, it will help you avoid the hassle and effort of figuring out which equipment you need.

You can also buy all sorts of accessories and camping equipment. If you’re looking for bargains, head to the “Gently Used” section, where you can find used gear, in good condition, at great prices.

2. Xscape Pod

Xscape Pod is another great alternative to REI. It specializes in camping and backpacking “pods,” which are done-for-you selections of camping gear.

When ordering a camping pod, you will select how many people you need the pod for.

The camping pods, for example, include items such as:

  • Camp chairs.
  • Headlights.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • A tent.
  • A cooler.
  • A fire starter.

The amount you will get of each item depends on how many people are going on the trip. Tents are made to fit two people, so if you order a pod for a four-person trip, you will get two tents.

The backpacking pods are a bit more expensive and include items such as:

  • A water filter (an essential item in every kayak emergency kit!).
  • Backpacks.
  • A folding tent.
  • A lantern.

Remember, these are rental pods, so you must return them! Shipping is free for orders above $349; otherwise, you will have to pay for shipping.

Once the pod is shipped to you, you can head out on your trip. Returning it after your rental period is over is relatively easy; you can drop it off at any FedEx drop-off point.

What if you don’t need to rent an entire pod but just a few pieces of equipment? Perhaps you already have the basics, such as a tent and sleeping bags, but are missing a few essential items.

You can use the “À La Carte” rental option to rent individual items to complete your camping setup.

Xscape Pod even has a trip-planning service that you can order with your rental. It has now opened up this service to non-renters, so even if you already have equipment, you can take advantage of this.

Finally, it also sells some new gear, so if you’re interested in picking up a tent, air pad, or sleeping bag, you can do so at great prices.

3. Lower Gear

Lower Gear has a rental program for camping supplies. It also sells camping gear and kayaking equipment.

It has a very diverse offering. There are complete done-for-you camping and backpacking rental sets available, which include items like tents, portable stoves, backpacks, and more.

However, you can also rent individual items, such as lanterns, GPS devices, water filters, wilderness safety gear, poles, and even climbing gear.

You can have the rental items shipped to you, and once you are done, you can send it back at a FedEx dropoff point. Lower Gear can even ship to your motel or a FedEx store, so you can pick it up the night before you go camping.

That’s a great option if you are living in a van and don’t have a physical address to receive the shipment. It can even ship to lodges inside national parks!

Learn more about shipping here.

Pickup and dropoff is also available at one of Lower Gear’s physical shops.

Lower Gear also rents kayaks in the Phoenix and Tempe area. Rentals start from just $59.

Not only that, but if you rent a kayak and then decide to buy one, Lower Gear will credit you the cost of the rental and deduct it from the final purchase price.

It’s a great way to try out a kayak with no commitment.

Lower Gear sells a wide range of kayaks, including inflatable kayaks, fishing kayaks, Old Town kayaks, Hobie kayaks, and others. Kayak parts and accessories are available as well, and financing options are offered via its partners.

There are two financing plans. One is a six-month deferred interest plan (you only pay interest if you don’t pay the amount in full within six months), and the other is a 36-month, interest-based, no deposit plan.

Finally, you can buy new and used camping gear, including maps and apparel, from Lower Gear.

4. Arrive Outdoors

Arrive Outdoor is an online outlet where you can buy camping, hiking, and skiing gear. From day packs to tents to hammocks to winter jackets, you can find all that you need.

It also sells tools, like portable chargers, lighting, and binoculars.

Items are also available for resale. Used items are professionally cleaned and only lightly used, and they are available at a big discount compared to their original prices.

5. Geartrade

Geartrade is a fantastic site if you want to get rid of your old gear. It not only sells gear but also allows you to load off your old gear.

It’s a bit like eBay, but for used gear.

However, there are certain items you can’t sell on Geartrade. For example, footwear is not allowed (unless it is in excellent condition and from certain brands).

In general, items must only be gently used and in good condition. They must be clean, without stains or odors.

While you can’t sell watercraft, like kayaks or SUPs, you can sell bikes.

When you want to sell an item, simply print out the return label from Geartrade and attach it to your parcel. Once Geartrade receives the item, it will assess it, and you will have two days to adjust your price or listing.

Earnings can be cashed out via PayPal or Venmo. You can also use your earnings as store credit to buy additional items on Geartrade.

You don’t get the full amount, though. Instead, your payout ranges from 15 to 70 percent of the sale price, depending on how valuable the item is.

If it sells for less than $50, for example, you will only get 15 to 30 percent. If it sells for $565 or more, you will get a whopping 70 percent.

Now, just because you can’t sell an item on Geartrade doesn’t mean Geartrade itself doesn’t sell it. For example, while you can’t sell a used kayak on gear trade, kayaks of all models and types are available for purchase.

The Airhead Montana tandem kayak, for example, is available at a great price.

Bikes, biking accessories, ski gear, camping gear, and apparel are all available as well.

6. Campmor

If you’re looking for a wide range of camping and outdoor gear at great prices, check out Campmor. It has a vast selection of brands and items.

For example, it sells various types of hydration packs, flasks, water bottles, and other items to keep you hydrated. It sells car racks and all sorts of accessories for fishing, climbing, running, cycling, and other activities.

Shipping is free for orders above $49, and it offers 90-day returns on its items.

7. CampSaver

CampSaver.com is one of the best places to find hot deals on camping equipment. Whether you need bear protection, air pumps, tents, backpacks, weather instruments, or any other type of camping equipment, you can find it at CampSaver.

Not only that, but CampSaver offers lots of climbing gear, such as helmets, chalk bags, and climbing holds.

Kayakers can find kayaks, car racks, kayak covers, and other kayak accessories. There is lots of fishing gear available, too.

Footwear, travel luggage, and running accessories are also available.

There are over 1,400 brands being sold on CampSaver!

8. Mountain Side Gear Rental

Mountain Side Gear Rental is based in Denver, Colorado. However, it ships to everywhere in the United States.

Backpacking and camping kits for 1–4 people are available for rent. These are premade kits with everything you need already inside.

For example, the 1 Person Ultralight Backpacking Kit is incredibly affordable and perfect for someone who wants to go backpacking solo, without carrying too much equipment.

It comes with essential items such as a sleeping bag, matches, a can opener, eating utensils, a backpack rain cover, and more.

Winter gear rentals are available as well if you’re interested in doing some skiing or winter adventures.

You can also purchase used gear from Mountain Side Gear Rental. They are all gently used and in great condition but available at a significant discount.

9. Backcountry

Backcountry is one of the most popular online retailers for camping, fishing, hiking, and travel gear. It regularly has sales during which it slashes its prices, making camping equipment affordable to everyone.

It also sells kayaks, fishing gear, surfing equipment, and other water activity equipment.

Shipping is free for orders of $50 or up, and if you join the loyalty program, you can earn rewards with your purchases.

10. Eastern Mountain Sports

Eastern Mountain Sports is based out of Boston, but it has since expanded throughout the Northeast.

If you’re in a major city in the Northeast, you will likely have an Eastern Mountain Sports store near you. The in-store rental program allows you to rent kayaks, paddleboards, tents, and other camping gear at affordable prices.

You can also purchase gear and equipment for kayaking, hiking, cycling, climbing, skiing, and more.

Eastern Mountain Sports also sells items online, with free shipping for orders over $99.

It has a program called EMS Schools. It’s designed to help people go on adventures they would not go on alone.

With helpful guides to teach you new skills and show you the way, you can feel confident going mountaineering, rock climbing, kayaking, ice climbing, and more.

For example, if you’re new to kayaking, you can take kayaking lessons with EMS Schools or opt for guided tours. All of the kayaking instructors from EMS Schools are certified by the American Canoe Association.

EMS Schools also offer kayak rentals.

Furthermore, EMS Schools offers a variety of certification programs.


I love Outdoors Geek, but Xscape Pod rental pods are very affordably priced too. I suggest shopping around on a few of these sites until you find the items you are looking for.

If you’re not sure whether a product is worth buying, you can always rent it from one of the rental providers mentioned in this list. If you like it, find it online and purchase it.

For kayak rentals, check out Lower Gear if you’re near its physical location. If you end up purchasing a kayak at its shop after renting one, the cost of the rental will be deducted from the sales price.

Enjoyed Best REI Alternatives For Kayaking, Camping And Hiking? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Kayak help journey.

Share on Pinterest

Picture of Peter Salisbury

Peter Salisbury

Pete is the Owner of KayakHelp.com. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of KayakHelp.com. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.