If we’re being completely honest, you’re not getting the full Colorado experience unless you’re spending some time off the grid in our great outdoors.
But unless you’re Bear Grylls, getting outside requires a laundry list of stuff that’s both awkward and expensive to cart around. Luckily, lots of Colorado adventure gear-rental companies are on the case — here’s where to start.
Mountain Side Gear Rental, Golden
Home to Coors Brewing Co., Golden is just a few miles from Morrison's famed Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre — and has as some of the best cycling trails in the state. Serious road cyclists with their own wheels can rent a bike pack at Mountain Side Gear Rental for longer paved rides like the Clear Creek Bike Path (38 miles roundtrip) or 32nd Avenue Bike Trail (37 miles roundtrip).
Outdoors Geek, Denver
Colorado gets major festival fever in the summer, when the sultry days and breezy nights are made for grooving in the sun or spinning under the stars. Whether you’re headed up to Rockygrass in Lyons (July), Jazz Aspen Snowmass (July and August) or ARISE in Loveland (August), you’ll want to stop at Denver’s Outdoors Geek on your way up.
Here, you can rent a complete glamping package, including a snazzy canvas tent, overhead lighting, beds/bedding, an oriental rug (because your feet deserve it) and bedside tables/ lamps. Seeking souvenirs? Skip the hoodie and take home some gently used gear from Colorado-made brands like Kelty and Big Agnes; ask the Geeks what's in stock.
Pikes Peak Outfitter, Colorado Springs
For a landlocked state, Colorado is unexpectedly awesome at water sports — and Pikes Peak Outfitter in Colorado Springs is a smart first stop if you’re planning to get wet. Pick up a single or tandem kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard or float tube (all including life vests) before setting out for nearby Quail Lake or Manitou Lake in the Pike National Forest.
Ridgway Outdoor Experience
For equipment plus expertise, turn to Ridgway Outdoor Experience, where owner Albert Adams is an accomplished outdoorsman and guide. His well-stocked outdoor shop in the shadow of the San Juan Mountains can either outfit any adventure you’ve already dreamed up (with boats, bikes, camping kits and beyond) or help you build the trip of a lifetime from the ground up.
Rocky Mountain Adventures, Fort Collins
It’s said that “you never step into the same river twice,” and this is especially true in Colorado, where seven major river basins contribute to nearly 160 notable waterways. Rocky Mountain Adventures, based in Fort Collins with offerings statewide, has likely set foot in every single one. If you’ve already got swiftwater know-how, you can rent a raft, kayak or canoe from them and have at it. But if you’d rather slip into the swirling abyss with an expert at your side (ahem: not the worst idea), sign up for a guided whitewater-rafting, kayaking or fly-fishing expedition.
Pulsing away at the heart of Summit County, the mining-turned-ski-resort town of Breckenridge is an excellent home base for al fresco summer fun. If you can plan ahead with reservations, beautiful camping areas abound, both in the nearby White River National Forest and at a handful of private facilities.
You can rent a car-camping kit for two to four people (tent, sleeping bags/mats, mess kit, stove, umbrella, lantern, etc.) at Ridden. on Main Street. Nights a little colder than you expected? They also sell name-brand consignment duds for dirt cheap.
Native Campervans, Denver
There are 26 designated scenic byways within our borders, and Denver’s Native Campervans has two tricked-out ways to see them: Biggies and Smalls. Each of these custom-built Dodge vans has a fully functional kitchen (sink, stove, cooler, dishes and utensils), a bed that sleeps two, seating for four to five passengers and lots of room for your outdoor gear.
Take the 82-mile Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway across the Continental Divide from Minturn to Leadville to gawk at Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, the two tallest peaks in the state. Or head south on the Silver Thread Scenic Byway to cruise from Lake City to South Fork through delightfully isolated swatches of wilderness. Each route has distinct topography, a unique personality and endless #vanlife photo ops. Find more Colorado scenic byways >>
Adventure Camper, Englewood
With 13,000 state, federal and private campsites to choose from, Colorado has a camping escape for everyone — from wilderness warriors to “where can I plug this thing in?” rookies. For the latter crowd, Englewood’s Adventure Camper offers pop-up and travel trailer camper rentals, along with passenger vans to pull them, should you need one.
Colorado Teardrops, Boulder
Colorado Teardrops in Boulder also rents various teardrop trailers — each with a sleeping area for two or more guests, cabinet storage, battery-powered lights, electrical outlets and a kitchen galley with a propane stove. Bonus: Teardrops are light enough to be pulled by a variety of vehicles.
Want to get your hands on some great gear without dropping serious coin? Download the Fluid Market community sharing app to borrow low-cost equipment from a local.
Awesome Colorado Bike-Sharing Options
With such a cycle-centric culture, we literally can’t imagine life without bikes. Check out these easy bike-sharing options — perfect for pedaling from point A to B.
With 88 stations and 700 bikes in Denver and 600 bikes and 42 stations in Boulder, B-Cycle makes pedal-powered exploring a cinch.
Download the Zagster app to easily snag some wheels from one of Fort Collins Bike Share’s more than 20 stations.
Pick up a cruiser, brewery map and helmet at the Golden Bike Library to hit the local bubbling beer scene, then return it to any of the town’s new bike-share stations.