GETTING THE GEAR
Where to rent outdoor gear in Whistler
With such a plethora of outdoor opportunities in the Sea to Sky, choosing just one sport per season in Whistler can be tough! Even tougher is buying a whole new equipment set-up when you decide to go for it. Hiking, biking, climbing, camping... the gear isn't cheap! However, there are some great resources that allow you to access these activities without shelling out $2k in a day.
As mentioned in our Making Friends article, we love WB's GT Women's Nights and Men's Nights *not available Summer 2020. Mountain biking can be a little intimidating for newbies, and this is a great way to get a taste of what it's all about.
With standard 1 day bike rentals cost upwards of $100, a one day bike park around $80, and lessons starting from around $120 - trying out downhill biking for the first time can be super expensive. Imagine splashing out $300+ to find out you don't even like it! The solution? Do a taster evening!
At the Men's and Women's Nights, you get all your gear, plus two hours in the bike park with an instructor for a really decent price. Downhill biking is very different from regular bike riding, for first-timers you will definitely want a lesson!!
You will be assigned to a group based on your experience, and the coaches will take you up for some pressure free riding, tailoring it to your needs, whilst also offering tips and pointers to help you get the best out of your experience. Each lesson wraps up with an après session at Merlin's where you'll get a free beer and can play to win tons of giveaways every week.
As we've said before, when hiking in Whistler you should always be prepared with the right gear! And when it comes to camping out in the wilderness, better gear will ensure a warmer, dryer and much more comfortable nights sleep!
If you're not feeling like forking out lots for a camping set up this year, definitely look on the Whistler Buy and Sell Facebook Group, as there are usually tons of great deals on second-hand gear!
If you're wanting a more luxury set up, or want to 'try before you buy' you could always rent the gear you need for yourself and your group via The Escape Route Demo Centre or WeRentGear.com. Escape Route is easily located in the centre of the village and have super knowledgable product advisors. Their rental fleet often includes some of the biggest names in outdoor gear, such as Arcteryx, Black Diamond and Deuter. We have also had great experiences with WeRentGear, who offer free delivery and pickup in Whistler and have top of the range tents, sleeping bags and stoves. Brands include Osprey packs, MSR cookware & Rab sleeping bags. Use the code 'local' for a little discount.
Arguably one of the more daunting sports to get into, climbing in Whistler is incredibly popular and there are lots of resources to help you get started!
The Core hosts weekly locals climbing nights, where you can go solo with their auto-belay systems or try with a partner. On Thursdays, show up to The Core at 7pm and for $18 you get your harness, shoes and a group lesson. This will teach you the basics of climbing, useful techniques and how to use the safety apparatus. You should leave feeling comfortable using their indoor climbing wall alone.
In the summer, The Core also hosts weekly outdoor climbing nights at one of Whistler's local crags. Pre-registration is required for this one, it costs $30pp for the 3-hour lesson and includes all instruction and rental equipment! What a bargain.
If you're looking for further instruction or a more intimate lesson, The Core have multiple options for longer climbing classes. Mountain Skills Academy also offer full day outdoor climbing courses, such as Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing. Another great company is The Mountain School who also offer a 1 Day Rock Climbing Intro Course. Neither of these have any required pre-requisites, so you can jump right in! The benefit of these courses is that you can you all the necessary gear included in the price and you can get a taste for climbing before having to navigate the field of purchasing your own gear! Once you've got some experience, be sure to join Whistler Climbing Scene, introduce yourself and find some climbing buddies! For buying gear, your best bet is definitely the Buy and Sell or Craigslist.
There are so many options to rent ski and snowboard setups in Whistler it can get a little overwhelming! A good rule of thumb is that it gets cheaper the further you get from the lifts. We think that Spicy Sports offer the best deals, make sure you always ask for the locals discount.
Want to try out backcountry skiing or snowboarding? Welcome to a whole new world of technical safety gear! Before you leave the resort, you'll need to do an Avalanche Safety Course, and you'll also need to get yourself on a split board or some touring skis!
The most important things to have in your backcountry arsenal are a probe, shovel, and beacon. The whole setup will set you back a few hundred dollars at least, which if you're ready to commit to, you can grab on the BCA website here. However, if you need to rent your gear for your safety course, you can do so from Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre or Excess Backcountry. If you are doing an AST course on the days you are renting, you will likely get a 10% discount on your rental.
We're a big fan of road trips. BC has infinite opportunities for packing your bags and hitting the open road for some exploring. You can see some of our favourite road trip routes here!
However, what do you do when you've got all the ambition but no vehicle? Do you trust your '88 Honda Civic to get to Revelstoke and back? Want a stress-free trip without the hassle of buying all new camping gear? Worried about buying a new, reliable vehicle just for one summer trip?
Whistler finally has the answer. Affordable campervan rentals are finally available from Roam Free Campers. Founded by two seasoned travelers committed to making sure your road trip is an adventure, not a nightmare, Roam Free offers very reasonable prices on their modern fleet with heaps of potential upgrades if you want them.
BUYING THE GEAR
Once you've decided to pursue a hobby, it is likely that you're going to need to purchase the gear. After you've checked out Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and the Re-Use-It Centre, you'll want to keep an eye out for the sales.
The Turkey Sale is Whistler's annual Thanksgiving pre-season sale where you can shop top name brands at huge discounts. Skis, snowboards, boots, jackets, gloves, thermals.. you name it! You can get fully kitted out here for the winter season at a fraction of the usual price.
In summer, Comor Sports, Whistler Blackcomb, and other companies will have their annual spring bike sales where you can get big discounts on ex-rental or pre-season bikes, from cruisers to enduros and downhills. Look out for advertising on Facebook and posters around town. Cruise around the shops on the village stroll in the spring to get the best discounts on new, past season bikes.