Don’t Buy Trek Gear Anymore

We recently did a small survey with our trekkers. We asked them how much they spend on trekking gear for a Himalayan trek.

And what we learnt was astonishing!

Almost all of them who took the survey said they spend around Rs 15,000 only on trekking gear! And to my surprise, many of them even went up to Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000!

I was shocked to see these responses. Extra shocked because some of these trekkers were going on 2 day weekend treks to Nag Tibba or Deoban, where the trek fee is only around Rs. 3,650.

This really got us wondering. Trekking is a minimal sport. You just need two strong legs to make it to the top and back.

And here we were, looking at trekkers fishing deep in their pockets for trekking gear!

The story of how we began renting trekking gear

Renting trekking gear solves this problem.

Unfortunately, in our country renting doesn’t seem to be an option for most trekkers. For one, they are averse to renting. They feel that rented gear is not of good quality or in good hygiene. Two, people like owning trekking gear. Even if they do one or two treks a year, they like the feeling of taking their “own” gear on a trek.

I remember we had several meetings where we discussed what we could do. We put down some resources on how much to spend on trekking gearhow to reduce the cost of your trek, but these were just resources at the end of the day. They were not solving the larger problem.

We thought, what if you go to your base camp, find a big store, with aisles of backpacks, trekking shoes, jackets, even have a chance to try them out and then rent them instead of buying them? Where you have them packed and sealed in hygienic pouches. And all this at a cost that’s close to free?

We made this our vision.

But renting gear in the Himalayas is not easy.

We would first have to get high quality gear custom-made for our trekkers, send them to remote slopes, create a seamless rental process for trekkers, make sure they are squeaky clean after every use, account for all the gear and ensure all of this at a very low cost.

Doing all this in a region without network, without internet, where people are not tech savvy… Frankly, it was a logistical nightmare in our heads. A whole new entrepreneurial journey in itself!

But we started off nevertheless.

We custom-made padded jackets (they’re better than any I’ve seen), got good trekking shoes from Decathlon and put up our Crosstrek trekking poles for rent.

A lovely picture of trekkers in our rental jackets.

Then we found another problem — backpacks. 

Backpacks were burning a hole in our trekkers’ pockets. You don’t get good backpacks in our country for less than Rs 5,000. And not all trekkers used the backpacks regularly to do justice to how much they spent.

So we got AdventureWorx on board and had them make this terrific 55L backpack! (God knows how many prototypes we have rejected before finalising on what we have now!)

Our founders were very particular about pricing them in a trekker-friendly way. In fact, we have had several debates in office that we were running rentals almost at loss!

Imagine being able to use a trekking pole, a good pair of shoes, a good backpack, a good padded jacket, all of them for just Rs.750 for an entire week

And the list of gear is constantly growing. We’re planning to include head lamps, gloves, cutlery, and more.

Today, I’m glad that so many of our trekkers use this gear. And they all have good things to say, “I chose IndiaHikes as my companion to this trek due to one of these reasons of being a one stop for all our necessities. I rented 3 items of my gear and all of them were in good condition,” says Vasudev Bongale. 

We now have rentals on almost all our treks

We rent gear almost on all our treks except Goechala and our Nepal treks

We are even renting gear on our pass-crossing treks like Hampta PassRupin PassBuran Ghati and Pin Bhaba Pass. They will be available on the website by the end of this month. These treks start and end in totally different and remote regions! Logistically, it’s super complex to organise this! Our ops team is working round the clock to make this possible.

Have we got to our vision yet? To have a shopping mall experience of rental gears at almost no cost?

I think that will still take us time. Our teams are working very hard to get there. But what we have right now is already terrific for trekkers.

So the reason I’m writing this post is straightforward. I want to urge you to start renting gears the next time you trek.

Renting gears doesn’t compromise on comfort or quality. But it does two things: (1) It saves you a lot of money. Actually, a really lot of money. (2) It gives you access to gear that you would have otherwise not thought of taking (for example, high end trekking shoes)

How to rent gear?

I must say, our rental team has done a fantastic job to make this easy for trekkers.

All you have to do is order in advance on our website. Collect you gear at the basecamp. Return it to us after your trek.

You can order gear from here – https://store.indiahikes.com/product-category/rentals/

You just have to login to your Trek Dashboard to see your upcoming treks and rent gear accordingly.

Do we rent out to non-Indiahikes trekkers?

No. This is exclusive only to Indiahikes trekkers. Ideally, we would want everyone to rent trekking gear, especially independent trekkers — we need more time to scale up to that stage.

But frankly, this is how we envision the future of trekking to be in our country — minimal and pocket-friendly. And that’s the journey we are on.

Our vision is that people must feel good about using rental gear. Being trekkers ourselves, we know what comfort a clean pair of trekking shoes can bring!

And that’s what we aim at doing this year!

If you have any thoughts on how we can take renting of gears forward, drop in a comment below.

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

35 thoughts on “Don’t Buy Trek Gear Anymore

  1. Swati, that’s awesome efforts from Indiahikes. why buy when you can rent. imagine getting to travel from mumbai to himalayas without the load. also,gone will be the hassles to store these items at home. kudos

  2. This is a fantastic idea. Firstly it resonates with my philosophy of minimalism. Secondly, it makes trekking soo much more affordable now, especially for first-timers who want to discover their likeness to trekking, outdoors. I know how difficult,time-intensive and important maintenance of gears are but still IH has gone ahead and ventured into this. Kudos to the team! I hope everyone will respect the gears they rent and this idea is a success.

  3. Brilliant initiative..taking the experience to a different level..more than the cost saving it’s using the right gear at the right place..

  4. This is indeed an amazing idea! Maybe you can consider exploring the idea of accepting gears from people who wish to donate their backpacks/ shoes/ etc. because they might not use it as frequently as they used them earlier. Some people might wish to donate to contribute to the greater cause of reuse and recycle things 🙂

  5. it’s a great initiative from Indiahikes and I have trekked with Indiatimes twice i.e. Hampta pass and Bramhatal and both the times I have rented the shoes and poles. It was in good condition and clean and I was happy for renting as it was pocket friendly too.
    To be frank renting shoes was on high demand that I had to get a next size shoes as it was already sold out.
    So overall it was a great experience trekking with India hikes and renting gears too.

  6. Great idea and I saw this when few fellow trekkers who got gears from IH on rent during my recent trek with IH.
    Just a thought on this, There are few folks who thereafter continue after completion of a trek to another destination on their own or indulge in own treks for a couple of days either after or before a trek, In such a case only their own gears may come in handy. So is it possible that for such types of folks, Can IH also sell gears which are used say a X number of times.

    Eg. A jacket which had been rented for 25 times can go for sale… Something like that.. My assumption is folks who want to go for a trip after completion of a trek may definitely lap such an offer, subject to this if it all makes economic sense. Just a thought

    Palani
    Mumbai

  7. Hi Swati! An excellent effort by Indiahikes. A thought popped into my head. If I rent a backpack, I will have to get my belongings in another bag to the base camp and then repack the entire thing. Then will these other bags be transported to the camp where the trek will end?

  8. I really want to thank you guys for making this possible and bringing down the trekking cost to essentially nothing! The money saved can be put to use rather on another Himalayan trek! And what comes with such a user friendly method must definitely take a lot of efforts from your side, sp thanks for this brilliant initiative.

  9. Hi Swati, It is really a good idea and I personally used renting service while trekking to Hampta.
    You have initiated a discussion, which I want to discuss with India hike team from the day I started my journey to Hampta, and it is about the quality of gear which you are renting.
    Everyone would like to use the brand new trek gears which might not be economical in renting business, but the quality can be maintained, so that everyone would like to use them.
    You can imagine that how you feel if you are starting your trek with ripped bag pack, which chains are not working or imagine the feeling of wearing a dirty Jackets on your trip.
    I would suggest to implement a strict quality plan, otherwise who got a bad experience will not prefer to use this service again.
    I personally like the services India hikes provided during trek, so recommend everyone to use their services, but this renting gears and tent quality can be improve to make it a rememberable journey for everyone.

  10. This is an excellent initiative. I would advise to bring more items which are required on trek, that would definitely attract new trekkers.

  11. Awesome awesome awesome efforts by Indià hikes.!! Your post came right in time. I was planning to visit Decathlon this Saturday to buy jacket n day pack bag. Would love to rent some of these gears for my upcoming trek to KGL .

  12. As a student and as a person who’d think twice before asking 30-40k from their parents at this age, this is probably the best thing ever.. I can actually see myself going on a Himalayan trek soon!
    Thank you India hikes.
    Best wishes – Ananya

  13. Madam Swathi,
    An excellent initiative and a very good move. It takes lot of efforts to maintain the trekking equipment in good and usable condition all the time and hence now the onus lies with the trekkers to upkeep the trekking gear in good condition when they rent.

    While renting the equipment, the only problem the trekkers face is when starting base camp and the camp at the end of the trek are different places. Madam, will you please clarify whether any arrangements will be made to transport our left over bags from base camp to the end point.

  14. Hi Swati,
    it’s really a great initiative by Indiahikes. A very big thanks to your efforts. You have made trekking an affordable sport by your initiatives. I am happy to trek with Indiahikes.

  15. This wonderful concept is also ecologically sound.
    All the rental gear will be used to the end of its useful life, and then I imagine you will give it to people who can use it as work-gear. So you benefit trekkers and the environment we love.

  16. Good initiative IH it makes more people to experience the sport but I would suggest having a Trekking shoes,Backpack and Proper jacket always make s things hassle free in diffrent situations. Maybe Trekking poles,shoe gaiters,crampons etc are best to take rental. Person who explore himself can’t depends always on rentals.

    1. Hi, yes trek gears will be available for all slopes. We begin the rental process one month before your trek begins.

  17. Hi swati.wish this email was a week earlier.i spent around 30 k at decathlon buying trekking gears.
    This is an extremely good initative and boon to those who do not wish to invest.I delibrated after lots of thinking and went ahead.
    May be you can also have some plans of rebuying good condition who wish to sell their trekking gears..and rent it out..
    My bad luck…

  18. I would like to rent trekking gear for the KGL trek in July. Where can I collect the trek and where do I return it back ? Would I have to transfer my belongings only at the basecamp ? If yes then I would have one extra bag with me which could be pretty much of no use .
    Kindly guide the logistics and how I can work it out.

  19. This is really good news. I am going for Hari Ka Dun next month but through somebody else! I could have saved some money had I knew about hiring gear thru India Hikes. So hope to do a trek thru India hikes next time!

  20. Kudos to India hikes corporate team, especially Arjun for path breaking ventures and initiatives for inclusive growth and exploring possibilities for trekking community as a whole. Every communication from you guys is well thought out and meticulously crafted to resolve conflict in the minds of the reader. Wishing IH and the team for the onward journey.

  21. Since it is logistically difficult to rent all gear at base camps, why don’t you rent this gear at metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore, Chennai etc. so at least the bulk of the renting is covered by treckrs picking up this gear at a fixed address (which could even be a home address). Those coming from other cities/ towns could rent at base comp. By doing this at least a part of your problems are solved.

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