San Francisco’s Alite Designs may be onto something. The camping equipment company recently opened a library, but instead of books they're offering basic camping supplies free to the public.
Tae Kim, who co-founded the company in 2008 and brought the Ranger Station lending library to life, explains:
“Our whole mission is to get people outside, especially young people. We want to make sure they’re not scared or inadequately equipped. A lot of these people grew up in suburbia and moved to the city, and never really spent time outside.”
The free service (unless you bring back dirty equipment, which is a $50 charge) is open for business at Alite’s store on Mariposa Street in San Francisco.
Its 11-piece camping kits include just about everything one would need for a weekend in the wilderness—from backpacks and lanterns to basic utensils and tents.
Alite has paired the program with its retail operation, and many of the items in the kit are also on sale in the store and online. With any luck, more companies will follow Alite's lead and we'll see more gear libraries sprout up, lowering the price of entry into the great outdoors for newbies everywhere.