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BPL Gear Closet (Used)
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Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
BPL Gear Closet (Used) on 02/20/2010 07:55:01 MST Print View

With seeing the recent (and past) outpouring of goodwill on this site to support those in need I had the following idea.

We could create a Used Gear Closet where members could post used items that would be available to fellow BPL members For Free. A gear list similar to the one set up for the "Hiker in Need" thread could be posted and used by members having items to give. The takers would pay shipping unless arrangements otherwise were made. This would be restricted to BPL members, both giving and taking, unless approval otherwise.

Thoughts and comments?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: BPL Gear Closet (Used) on 02/20/2010 07:59:59 MST Print View

I think it's a great idea. Perhaps Ben could set up a spreadsheet similar to what he did for Don (thanks Ben ;-). I'd include a 'shipping' column where, when someone posted an item, they could include "shipping included" or "taker pays shipping," etc.

Anyone giving would have to understand that there are some (I believe extremely few) who might abuse it just to get free gear, but I think the benefits to members in need would outweigh that. FWIW.

Arthur Yates
(RowdyY) - F

Locale: North Central Tennessee
BPL Gear Clost on 02/20/2010 08:09:02 MST Print View has a thread similiar to this, they call it "paying it forward" I have donated a few items and have gotten back as good in kind. I think this is a great idea and will work with support.

Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: BPL Gear Closet (Used) on 02/20/2010 08:26:06 MST Print View

I agree....great idea since at times we all have something laying around which we no longer need or use.

I do think Douglas has a very good point in regards to potential abuse. It's something that you hope never comes up, but the potential is there. I think Thom's suggestion of it being open to members only definitely helps address this one. (Although at the same time lots of great folks on the site that are not members that you would hate to exlclude)

Edited by PhilipD on 02/20/2010 08:28:12 MST.

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
"BPL Gear Closet (Used)" on 02/20/2010 08:30:27 MST Print View

I'm in. I still have plenty to donate.

Paul Siegel

Locale: Southern Appalachians
+1 Pay it forward on 02/20/2010 08:32:52 MST Print View

I think Arthur makes a good point.

At some time in the future you must also put up an item for someone to take.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Thom... on 02/20/2010 08:38:23 MST Print View

I agree. I would think members here would be less likely to take advantage of the situation than random passerbys.

jim draucker
(mtnjim) - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah Valley VA
Thom on 02/20/2010 09:35:31 MST Print View

I also agree it would be a great idea. I don't think members would sbuse the system.It would allow hikers to exchange and try ideas/gear. This is the only venue where i have done multipul transactions on the honor system. Gear sent then paid for etc. That says alot about the members of this site.


Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: Thom on 02/20/2010 09:54:02 MST Print View

I wouldn't classify myself as a hiker in need and I would feel guilty requesting something from somewhere here that thought they were giving it to someone in need.

However, I would love the ability to try a shelter/pack, etc. and then pass it on to the next person. If I like it I would buy it. Gear swap is great in that manner that if you buy something used and worn, you can probably sell if for not much of a loss if you have only lightly used it. This way you just cover the shipping.

The list could be more of a library. People can donate items to the library and people can then check something out from the library. Hikers in need can maybe check out more items, and for a longer duration than others. A trip report could be required for each piece of gear so others know the gear has a good home.

For those that aren't in need they can still check out an item from the library, and then when they are done make it available and be willing to ship it to the next person that wants to check it out or hiker in need that uses it.

Regarding members vs. non members, one could take a look at the date of first post, or the total number of posts. If you have to have posted 50 posts and been posting for 6 months, we are likely to minimize those people that are just passing by and trying to abuse the system.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
BPL Gear Closet on 02/20/2010 11:01:00 MST Print View

I'm ready to post like 10 items to get things started. Maybe BPL Staff should comment and verify that the idea is acceptable. Is it cool to limit the closet to members only?

Jesse Ashbaugh
(jlabpl1) - MLife

Locale: North Cascades
Good Idea on 02/20/2010 11:31:34 MST Print View

Count me in. I have lots of stuff that's not particularly valuable and not really worth selling but sits in my closet unused.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
BPL Gear Closet on 02/20/2010 11:55:47 MST Print View

Making gear available for BPL members to borrow is a great idea. Some suggestions for facilitating availability:

First, if BPL were willing to handle the logistics and manpower required, physically consolidate any donated gear at BPL's location (I suppose BPL already has some location to store the gear it sells) and have the shipments and returns of loaned gear handled by BPL at that location.

Second, finance all shipping expenses of loaned gear (to and from BPL) by BPL membership contributing to a fund that covers that expense, either through individual contributions as each member might be willing to chip in once in a awhile, or by providing the option to add some amount toward the "Gear Closet Shipping Fund" to the price of purchasing a BPL membership.

Third, whatever the means for funding the shipping fund, make access to BPL's Gear Closet available only to members who have made some contribution to the closet and/or to the shipping fund.

Finally, create a page at BPL's website to display the inventory available at the Closet -- with info about the status for each item (in stock, checked out, or reserved for some time frame), and the means to "reserve" and then "borrow" an item on-line -- all with "free" shipping.

One additional refinement -- perhaps have a couple of "pre-packaged" gear sets that pretty much contain the basics of what someone would need for a trip.

Then someone could "borrow" the prepackaged kit and add water, food, fuel, legs and go for it. An option for anyone just starting out, and also a possible solution for flying light to a destination and having the prepackaged kit shipped to your destination by BPL.

And BPL could even add a little excitement to the mix by offering a "brown bag" kit where you don't know what it contains until you actually open it up at the trailhead.

Would sure add spice to those trip reports. And opens new vistas of wilderness experience when those 3000 mile extreme expeditions into the wilds get to be too tame.

Just imagine the excitement that same route could deliver when undertaken with a "brown bag" kit opened for the first time at the trail head. Heck, some people would probably pay to experience that opportunity! Could just add it to the shipping fund as a contribution, of course.

And just think of the possibilities for revenue to BPL if that "brown bag" trip were marketed for a network to film the whole think as a "reality" TV show. Plus the promo potential for attracting new membership to BPL -- people who want a shot at stardom. Maybe a private jet could then be purchased to add to the Gear Closet!

Wake me up before something else pops into my mind, like a remote island in the Pacific -- with thatched hut and air strip included -- added to the Gear Closet.

Edited by JRScruggs on 02/20/2010 12:13:05 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: BPL Gear Closet on 02/20/2010 12:12:55 MST Print View

I'd say BPL should not get involved since lost/stolen gear could cause problems.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Lost or Stolen Gear from Closet on 02/20/2010 12:24:27 MST Print View

John --

Yes,the possibility of lost or stolen gear is a problem. But it's a problem that can arise with individuals being the source of the "borrowed" gear, too. Not sure how the risk of loss or theft is any different if BPL handles the lending of gear that's donated by members.

But can see a problem perhaps arising for BPL if BPL were to undertake the logistics of a "gear closet" and a member loaned (rather than donated) an item to the closet for BPL to lend out for use by others, where the owner of the gear expects BPL to return the item to that owner one day.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Lost or Stolen Gear from Closet on 02/20/2010 13:14:55 MST Print View

Like Jeff, I also think it'd be really neat to be able to borrow some gear to try it out. We all know how hard it is to compare products through a computer monitor, and this would really help that process.

And the benefits for those really in need is a no-brainer.

Unfortunately I don't think BPL would get involved in this. They don't even like to have a large presence in the current Gear Swap section. But, who knows?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
The needy vs the borrowers on 02/20/2010 14:09:42 MST Print View

I see these as two separate things. I like Thom's original and simple suggestion that we, as a community/group, keep a running list of things we would be happy to donate to a needy hiker/BPL member. Anything you're willing to simply give away -- the only two conditions (honor system conditions) being that you really are in need and that you'll use the item you take and not sell it to get something else; and that when you no longer need it you'll 'return' it to the list and not sell it. If you got it free, you give it away. The only condition to add something to the list is that it's actually in usable shape, not just some junk you're trying to get rid of. So if someone is in need (which is different than needing something.....), they check the list, and then contact people through PM to inquire instead of letting 'the world' know that they're down on their luck. I've got a long-handled BPL Ti spoon, shipping included, for the person who creates the spreadsheet (like Ben did for Don) that we can all access and add to/subtract from (when an item is taken). I'd see columns for: item, owner (BPL name), number available, shipping.

The other part of this thread -- a repository for gear to borrow -- is something else entirely. If there are enough people interested, it could actually be a successful part of BPL's business model (but that's a big if, I don't know how many people would really be interested). Lifetime members get to borrow gear for shipping only. Members get to borrow gear for a small fee and shipping. Non members pay an even higher fee. Everyone has to put down a deposit which is large enough to make people want it back (which means they'll return the item!). Deposit is forfeited if you don't return the item, or if you return it trashed. After an item has been a loaner for a year, BPL sells it at a reduced price.

Paul Siegel

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Overly Complicated? on 02/20/2010 14:33:29 MST Print View

I'm thinking that what you fellows are pulling together is a little complicated.

Another Forum I belong has a system where you can offer up anything for the cost of shipping provided the member is new and "in need"- which is decided by the offerer. It was a great way to get started and I was able to pass on what I gained to someone just starting out as well.

This is person to person altruism, without the need for a central database or anything. Say you ramble through your gear closet and see you have a spare stove you don't use anymore. Offer it on gear swap with the assumption that it goes to someone just starting out.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
BPL getting involved... on 02/20/2010 15:22:48 MST Print View

No offense to BPL, but I don't think someone in need would be able to pay BPL's ridiculous shipping costs. A lending library system would indeed be cool though.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How About This? on 02/20/2010 16:37:06 MST Print View

Yeah, maintaining a common list in The Cloud should work.

How about some simple "house rules" like:

General Rule

o Add at least one item to the list for every item you wish to take.

o Receiver contacts donor and pays for shipping.

Exception Rule

o If truly in need -- then take now, but remember to add something back at a later date -- when you can -- honor system.

o Receiver contacts donor to make mutually-agreeable shipping arrangements.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: How About This? on 02/20/2010 16:52:08 MST Print View

"General Rule
o Add at least one item to the list for every item you wish to take.
o Receiver contacts donor and pays for shipping."

I'd say your exception rules should be the general rules, and skip what you have for general rules altogether. Shipping should always be between receiver and donor. And your first exception rule is really what this is all about, IMAHO, it's not about building a database for anyone to take from. FWIW.