Did you ever take a look at how much stuff you take on vacation?
If it is a camping vacation you’ll pack tents, sleeping bags, cookware and maybe even a canoe. If there is a winter vacation planned you might take skis or snowmobiles. Considering today’s economy and the limited space we have in our homes, I’m presenting some alternatives to purchasing and owning vacation “stuff”.
If you only use a piece of equipment (tent, canoe) once or twice per year, consider renting it. Rental equipment is usually the latest model and is always in good working condition. Another advantage of renting is that you can rent the exact piece of equipment that you need instead of trying to make do with what you already own. Check camping supply stores to see if they rent equipment or talk to some outfitters in the area.
Renting sporting gear such as boats, bicycles and skis allows you to try out several different models or designs. This will permit you to make an informed decision should you decide that the particular activity is something you wish to pursue.
If you have growing children, renting sporting equipment may be a great option. Many kids will outgrow ski boots after one season or decide they no longer wish to participate in the sport. By renting, you don’t have to store items in the off season or worry about how you’ll re-sell outgrown equipment.
Most outfitters buy a new fleet of rental boats almost every year so if you rent, you’ll always have the most recent model. They sell their older models at a discount so you can usually get a good deal should you decide to buy. This also holds true for pro shops (golf, ski, cycle).
For certain things you may wish to consider sharing equipment with family/friends that live close by. For example, you might want to go halves on a canoe with a neighbour or halves on camping gear with a family member. Draw up a contract that you are both comfortable with detailing the use, storage and maintenance of the equipment. Make sure you come to an equitable agreement about what happens when one of you wants to stop sharing.
If you own vacation/sports gear (scuba tanks, downhill skis, boats) the most important thing you can do is to take care of it. Clean and service the equipment as soon as you’re done your vacation and store it properly according to the manufacturers directions. Record serial numbers of your gear and take some detailed pictures. Store this information in a safe place (filing cabinet). Should your equipment become stolen, you will be able to provide the police and your insurance agent with the appropriate information in a timely manner. This will allow your items to be replaced quickly so you can get back to enjoying your vacation.
My task this month will be to get rid of unused (or under-used) sporting gear (kijiji here I come!), and to collect serial numbers and pictures of all of our bikes, skis and other related equipment.