Among the usual picnickers, sunbathers, families, and Frisbee-players gathered at McCarren Park last weekend there were a group of fellows advertising camping equipment.
They call themselves the Outdoor Exchange – an organization that rents out camping and outdoors activities equipment, and offers the outdoorsy set and those as yet uninitiated, plans and advice on planning outdoor vacations.
“We got an overwhelmingly positive response at McCarren Park,” said Dariusz Jamiolkowski, the founder of Outdoor Exchange. “Our long-term goal is to be the world’s largest place to rent outdoor gear. Just as people go to airbnb to rent homes for vacations, or use Rent The Runway for clothes, I want Outdoor Exchange to be that place for outdoor gear.”
Jamiolkowski came up with the concept while on a kayaking trip with his family. Once the trip was over he didn’t quite know where to store the expensive kayak he’d bought – and trying to find a storage space would mean shelling out even more. A little bit of research showed he wasn’t the only one with a similar conundrum, and Outdoor Exchange, comprised of Jamiolkowski and six aditional employees was born soon after.
At present, Outdoor Exchange offers a range of gear for fishing, hiking, water sports, paddle sports, and snow sports to name a few.
Annual memberships start at $100 and allow people to rent one piece of equipment each week for an entire year. A higher-end membership at $250 increases the items per week to four. Add in $74 more to any annual membership package and Outdoor Exchange offers free delivery. Even though the start-up is based out of New Jersey – they deliver throughout the United States – and currently have drop off locations in the tri-state area to return the rentals.
The organization is currently running an indiegogo campaign to encourage people to sign up for memberships and to help increase their inventory. The group has currently reached close to half of its $25,000 goal and has 19 days left for the end of the camp.
Jamiolkowski lived in Greenpoint when he was young, and then again with his wife a few years ago, before he moved out to New Jersey. He now wants to lead camping groups from Greenpoint for weekend trips. He reminisced about his time living in cramped quarters in the neighborhood with storing camping gear seeming a distant possibility. Now with Outdoor Exchange steadily growing, he sees all of that changing.
For more information on Outdoor Exchange and to sign up for memberships visit http://www.usetheox.com.