Being an outdoor enthusiast can be expensive these days. With camping equipment, kayaks, binoculars, fishing gear, and of course, Dropcams to record your sweet bike stunts, the costs can really add up. And let’s face it, if you’re not spending every weekend in the great outdoors, is it really worth storing all that equipment in your own home? Newly launched startup The Outdoor Exchange, spotted at TechCrunch Disrupt NY Startup Alley this week, wants to help.
The New Jersey-based company offers a subscription-based lending service that provides high-quality outdoor gear for an affordable fee. Launched in January, The Outdoor Exchange (or The OX for short) offers a catalog of roughly 100 items, including bikes, kayaks, canoes, tents, camping, fishing and paddle sports gear, sleeping bags, backpacks, kiteboards, and much more.
The service isn’t only for those who can’t afford the gear, don’t have a place to store it, or those who use such gear infrequently – it’s also for people who may want to try a new sport or activity to see if they like it without the initial upfront investment.
For now, the company lets N.J. locals pick up their rentals at a warehouse in Fair Lawn, or The OX can drop off the gear at a lake or trail on demand. They’ll even help you outfit your car with an inflatable roof rack if you don’t have any other way to carry it to your destination. For smaller items, The OX will ship nationwide.
Co-founder Dariusz Jamiolkowski came up with idea when he bought a tandem kayak for him and his wife to use. He had wanted all of his friends to come out kayaking with them, but none of them had kayaks, as it turned out. And because kayaks were expensive to buy or rent, no one wanted to go with them. So he created The OX to take away the burden of price, storage, and commitment of outdoor gear as well as to get people to enjoy outdoor activities more often, the company says.
Also co-founded by J.J. Chojnowski, Sebastian Niezgoda, and Roman Jaworuk, The Outdoor Exchange is running an Indiegogo campaign to sell memberships to the service, which start at $100 per year for individuals, offering them one free rental per week. Family memberships with up to four rentals per week are $250 per year.