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Looking for gear options to start backpacking.

I am a tent camper but have never backpacked and would really like to try it.  Are the any opportunities in New England where I can do this?  I’d like to find a trip that will provide a tent, pad and backpack to use for my first time.  After that, I’d probably get my own equipment (gradually, possibly used.) 



10 Replies

I was a tent camper before I started doing actual backpacking, and I found myself going to the out-of-the-way campgrounds to avoid people LOL. The biggest differences are that you spend most of your time carrying your "home away from home" and spending every night somewhere new. You also tend to see a lot less people while backpacking, depending on where you go I suppose. 

I can't answer your actual question, other than to say I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find what you're looking for.

Welcome to the world of backpacking!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


Thanks for reaching out!

You'll likely get some good advice here in the community, but I wanted to call out a Virtual Backpacking Basics class coming up in early May that may be of interest to you. Additionally, at this time, rental options at REI are limited and vary by store. If you're interested in renting, you'll want to reach out to your local REI store and see if they will have backpacking equipment available to rent.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ  Do you ever take a day off? LOL

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Also, rental might be an option. I think that REI rents equipment, not sure on that, but I'm sure you'll get an answer here. Otherwise here's an option**LP%20Search%...

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I second what other folks have mentioned here! The "New England Trail" & the "Taconic Crest Trail" are two that go south/north through MA - other than sections of the LT, those might be good trails to look at once you've settled gear rentals!

In terms of finding a trip, I do not have many suggestions, however, if you are looking for equipment rentals and are in New England there is the MaineBound program at UMaine.  I know they typically organized expeditions, but I think that may be more limited now.  



I'm recently coming back into backpacking after 30 years away. Good luck in your quest for rental gear and have fun! Have you considered craigslist or FB marketplace for used gear? It might be a cheaper option just to get started. REI (if there is a store near you) can set you up with rental gear if the store is set up for it. I've found that there is a bewildering array of backpack specific gear and so the info on this site, as well as gear reviews online can be pretty useful. 


Rent, borrow, or share before you buy.  ideally you would hook up with an experienced packer who would be a source of information and gear.  .  Pay attention to boots, sleeping bag, and backpack.  These are fundamental items that will always be with you;  their suitability will have an enormous effect on your satisfaction....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I have not backpacked there myself but New Hampshire has lots of places you can backpack.  This site seems helpful...

If you are looking for something more instructional,  Outdoor escapes offer guided backpacking trips in New Hampshire

I have not used them so just pointing them out.   There may be others.  

I did this kind of thing when I first went backpacking in the Sierra and found it very helpful.  It is not "cheap" though.  Generally you supply your own gear (backpack, bag, pad, tent clothing etc.) .  They supply the food, cooking gear, water filtration, first aid, navigation, any necessary permits and a guide who on my trips, prepared the meals.  Generally you go with a small group of other people.  Often these businesses are associated with an outfitter that rents and sells gear.

REI also offers this kind of thing in select areas too.  Actually here is one in New Hampshire although it is apparently sold out for this year.