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Ottawa blogger launches hiking gear library in hopes of making the outdoors more accessible

Meg Kelly credits the COVID-19 pandemic for providing her with the fuel to get the library up and running.  
2020-09-21 adventure report gear library 1 HGJ
Photo/ Meg Kelly

An Ottawa outdoor enthusiast is offering hiking gear to those facing various barriers, so that they can experiencing all of the positive benefits that local trails and the wilderness have to offer. 

Meg Kelly, who is known for sharing firsthand experiences of various hiking trails around the capital region on her blog, has now incorporated a gear library.

The Adventure Report features over 100 trail reports, consisting of highly detailed practical information like geographic coordinates, trail length, level of difficulty and necessary supplies, and although the gear library is a recent addition (it's only been active for this past summer season), it’s an idea that has been percolating for some time.  

“You collect gear over a certain amount of time and it takes money to get a collection going and it takes space to be able to store it,” says Kelly. “There's a lot that goes into having this stuff and being able to get out there that can be tricky for a lot of people. There are a lot of barriers to it. That was always on my radar.”  

Interestingly, Kelly credits the COVID-19 pandemic for providing her with the fuel to get the library up and running.  

“I found myself on a trail really close to home and felt so happy for it and so grateful that it was there that it really kicked into focus for me that spending time outdoors is so beneficial for me. If there are barriers to it for other people, I really need to be doing more.” 

With the help of her Instagram followers and their generosity in providing donated supplies and funds, Kelly was able to construct both a two-person and three-person kit, consisting of the basics required for a car camping excursion. Although primarily intent on reducing the financial barrier, Kelly also provides pickup/drop off options, flexibility with scheduling and no required paperwork in an effort to make the gear library accessible to everyone and the lifestyles unique to them. 

“I have a job [where] I only have to work 35 hours a week in order to sustain my lifestyle. I have a luxury and privilege of having free time to research gear and learn about things and scout Kijiji for deals. If you don't have that time, we’ve done some of that work for you.”

Although Kelly explains that the gear library will be shutting down for the winter on October 15, she’s already looking forward to next year and plans to incorporate additional individual items, as well as a backpacking kit for those who are ready to discover yet another way to take in the vast outdoors.  

To use The Adventure Report’s Gear Library, or for more information, click here.

If you would like to donate funds or gently used gear, you can contact Meg Kelly here.

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