Warm weather means it’s time to get outside and adventure! Are you looking to try out a new activity before making the investment in the gear? Or maybe you only want to do something a couple times a year, so it doesn’t make sense to buy it. Consider checking out one of Maine’s gear share programs!
A number of organizations throughout Maine have rental or membership programs giving you access to a range of outdoor items like camping gear, bikes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, skis, snowshoes, and more!
Recently, we met up with Kindling Collective, a new queer-centered gear library, to learn more about their mission and what they offer.
The concept of a LGBTQ+ focused gear library was inspired by the importance of nature and the acknowledgment of the obstacles faced. Co-Founder Hallie Herz explains, “We felt that starting with a gear library was the right thing to make sure queer people have access to the knowledge that they need to get outside, play safely in nature, and experience the wonder of nature together in a community.”
Kindling Collective offers an online inventory for members to explore and reserve the equipment they need for their outdoor adventures. Once reserved, members make an appointment at the gear library, where knowledgeable staff guide them through each item to ensure their safety and understanding of its use. Equipped with their gear, members embark on their endeavors, confident in their knowledge of the gear and understanding that Kindling Collective will take care of the equipment upon their return.
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Not only do gear share programs help assist with cost barriers to explore new outdoor activities, but they also support a sharing economy that encourages community collaboration and produces less product waste. Kindling Collective is one of a number of new programs starting throughout the state.
Other gear share libraries in Maine:
- Katahdin Gear Library in Millinocket: Gear-lending library, outdoor adventure hub, and public space for people of all ages to access equipment and tools, information and leadership, and to connect with people around a common interest in outdoor adventure and recreation.
- Maine GearShare in Brunswick: Collaborative outdoor gear library meeting the needs of groups working to promote equitable access to the outdoors.
- Skowhegan Outdoors: Gear library operated by Main Street Skowhegan.
- University gear libraries: While these programs are student-centered, they often are open to the community as well like University of Maine at Farmington’s Mainely Outdoors or University of Maine’s Maine Bound Adventure Center.
- Select local libraries: Some libraries throughout Maine like Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and the Portland Public Library sometimes include gear in their “library of things” that you can check out with your library membership.
Be sure to learn more about all these great organizations and programs. Even if you aren’t renting their gear, you can support these programs by donating your gently used equipment. Happy summer adventuring!
—by Sarah Bierschwale, Digital Content Manager