Obtaining equipment can be the most challenging component of taking Girl Scouts backpacking. Here are some resources that may help reduce costs for your girls.
Donations and Borrowing
Gear Forward helps connect donors with youth organizations in need of gear. Groups request gear, potential donors provide lists of what they can provide, and Gear Forward matches donors with groups. Additionally, when they need gear to meet current requests or have gear donors that they can't match, they advertise this on their website.
Hiker Direct is a program by Alps Brands that provides discount camping and backpacking gear to members of various scouting organizations in the United States including the Girl Scouts. Once you are registered with them, you will gain access to browse and purchase the available gear on their website.
Liberty Mountain is a retail distributor that allows scouting organizations to purchase from their inventory at prices below retail. Access may be granted at the council level; troops and individuals cannot register for an account. To get started, email their sales team for a group customer application.
Rentals and Second-Hand
Arrive started as a company that provided premium outdoor equipment rentals at a very low cost. At the beginning of 2022, they started focusing on brand partnerships to recycle returned items into resale opportunities. Arrive appears to be phasing out their own gear rentals, but they still have plenty of used product left that they're selling. Some good deals are there to be found!
REI Co-op not only sells a wide variety of outdoor gear at retail and outlet prices, they also rent equipment as well as sell lightly used gear. You can even sell YOUR used gear to them for store credit. In order to buy and sell used items, you must be an REI Co-op member. However, at $30 for a lifetime membership, this could easily be worth it for an active outdoor troop.
Do you know of a gear resource that Girl Scouts can utilize?
Let us know!