COLUMBIA FALLS - Right On Trek has created a unique way to help make the outdoors more accessible for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.
The Wilderness Edge — an automated gear rental system located between Glacier International Airport and the west entrance to Glacier National Park — allows people to rent gear for any adventure from car camping to day hikes, to multi-night backcountry trips.
“I went and I looked at the data and the data says people want to spend more time in the wilderness, but it's too hard. Gear is hard to come by. It's expensive. You never have it when you need it,” said RightOnTrek Founder and CEO Victoria Livschitz.
Right On Trek was started four years ago in Montana by creating better-tasting backpacking food which can now be found in 50 stores across the state.
“Eating well in the backcountry is sort of, sort of a disaster for people. It's really bad food because they don't know any better. It's just not nearly as convenient and accessible. And so, I said well maybe we can fix that," said Livschitz.
The Edge is a giant vending machine for food and outdoor gear. Some of the gear you can rent includes satellite communicators and other gear necessary to keep you safe in the backcountry. The gear goes through a rigorous inspection process after it is returned to make sure it is in good working condition for the next renter.
“I think there's some skepticism among locals in the community about making the outdoors in the backcountry more accessible to people that are coming in for tourism, but I do think it will have a positive effect because like I said, we're keeping those people safe. We're giving them proper gear and we're getting them out there responsibly." - Whitefish Outfitters and Tours General Manager Jessica O'Hearn.
Locals are encouraged to use The Edge to explore parts of the wilderness around them that may not have been accessible due to the lack of equipment.
“The main purpose of Right on Trek is to radically lower the barrier for people of all walks of life to enjoy the great outdoors and spend more time away from screens and in nature having meaningful transformative experiences," said Livschitz.
The container that currently holds Wilderness Edge is a temporary pilot setup. Construction on the permanent location off US Highway 2 will hopefully be completed by September.
Watch below to see how The Edge works.