Want to go camping but have no gear? This rental company will deliver it to your door
VANCOUVER -- A new Vancouver camping equipment rental company has seen a surge in interest for its services – largely because the pandemic has sent the demand for any kind of delivery services through the roof, and British Columbians are vacationing closer to home.
Packlist founder Kurt Johnston was laid off just before the pandemic, and couldn't figure out what to do.
"I was hitting the jobs and there was nothing, nobody was hiring, everything was shut down," he says. So with the help of his wife Jennifer McLachlan, who shares his love of camping, Johnston came up with the idea for Packlist.
It launched in August, and turns out, may have been the right idea at the right time.
"Deliveries are everything right now, you're getting everything delivered," Johnston says. "Before COVID it was a big deal and now it's everything."
His company puts together what he calls camp kits – a full set of everything you need for a weekend in nature, except for food and clothing. You can rent kits for any number of people that include sleeping bags, tents, pillows, cookware and a stove, chairs and a cooler, all the way down to the little things you might forget, like matches and a can opener.
All are delivered right to your door the day before you leave for your trip, and picked up when you return home - anywhere from Vancouver to Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, New West and Coquitlam.
After being returned, they're cleaned and isolated so they're fresh for the next customer.
Johnston says his service is perfect for people who only camp once or twice a year, don't want to buy or store thousands of dollars' worth of gear, or for families that just can't get it all together.
"When it comes to camping gear nobody's organized – except for us," he says with a laugh.
In the month since the company launched, it's benefited from the local surge in interest in camping.
"I'm not taking advantage of it, but it's just camping in regular times is a tricky thing to set yourself up for. Doubly so during COVID," Johnston says. "The pandemic and the lack of tourism - it's actually opened up the province to the people that live here, and it's great to see people out there, it's just sometimes it's hard to do. And we're just here to make it easier."
He's planning to expand the rental service to snowshoes when the camping season is over, and will have specialty items available to more experienced campers, like tents for winter camping.