in partnership
Gearhouse - Splitboarding - credit Warren Lamont.JPG
(Image: Warren Lamont)

Seattle's Gearhouse lends outdoor gear to boost the adventurous spirit

"The most sustainable thing is to not buy something."

Evan Maynard, an outdoor enthusiast and sustainability professional, loves exploring new outdoor activities. But he wasn't interested in purchasing mountains of gear and found existing rental models to be inconvenient and ill-suited for his adventures.

For example, Maynard likes to paddleboard a few times a year, but doesn't want to own one -- or store one! Traditional rental options would only allow for him to use it for a few hours in a lake in or near the city, but he wanted to take the paddleboard on more interesting and longer adventures.

So he started Gearhouse, a gear-lending library focused on community, sustainability, and enjoying our beautiful PNW. He started the company out of his apartment and opened a brick-and-mortar shop in South Lake Union in September 2021.

According to Maynard, at Gearhouse, they "want to make borrowing gear a better experience than owning gear."

New members can join Gearhouse for $45/month, which includes unlimited gear rentals (for six days per use), admission to community events, and knowledgeable recommendations and advice for planning outdoor adventures, or for $65/adventure (which includes the gear rental and trip planning assistance for that adventure).

If you're planning to utilize Gearhouse for many trips throughout the year, a monthly subscription is likely your best bet.

Only going on one or two trips? You may want to consider the per adventure option.

Maynard notes, though, that most folks who start out as a per adventure customer end up joining the subscription model - it's just such a great deal if you love exploring the outdoors. Customers can cancel their membership at any time.

But what if you aren't sure what kinds or brands of gear you'll need for your trip? The advice and planning help from experienced staff and community members set Gearhouse above other rental companies.

For example, if you're looking to get out on a three-night backpacking trip, Gearhouse staff will help you determine all of the gear that you'll need for your trip and suggest some locations that fit your interest and skill level. Or you may attend a community event, such as Winter Hiking, and meet some fellow hikers. You get all the gear that you need for your first winter hike and arrange to meet with your new friends for a hike the following Saturday.

Instead of spending money on gear you won't end up using or will end up replacing because you initially bought cheap gear, borrow it first through Gearhouse.

Try out and see what gear works for you, and then decide later if you'd like to purchase those items for yourself. Perhaps you'll realize that, like Maynard's experience with paddleboarding, it will always make more sense to borrow some items instead of purchasing and storing them.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast looking to experience the beauty of our mountains, sea, and everything in between, there really is no downside to checking out Gearhouse. Try gear, meet new friends, and save hours of time planning and researching for outdoor adventures - Gearhouse has it all.

Happy borrowing and happy trails!