RightOnTrek Director of Operations David Diehl at the company's new storefront on Highway 2 just south of the Blue Moon.
RightonTrek recently completed its facade for its equipment rental business in Columbia Falls. backpack
The company takes a three-pronged approach to the area’s backcountry adventures. First, it has an online trip planning website, where a person can research and plan trips.
Secondly, the company rents gear like tents, sleeping bags and other amenities. Thirdly, it sells ready-to-eat meals that require a pot and some boiling water.
The company was founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and backpacking enthusiast Victoria Livschitz and partners in 2018.
The company owns about 25 acres of land south of the Blue Moon off Highway 2. David Diehl is the director of operations.
The idea of the company is to make local backcountry trip planning seamless. The company’s website offers trip planning and maps of popular area trails and routes. It then dovetails that into equipment rentals. For example, a person can plan a trip online, get off an airplane, rent a tent, backpack and other gear and then buy RightonTrek’s meals.
In a matter of hours, one can be on the trail after touching down from some far off place like New York or Los Angeles.
It’s not exactly inexpensive, however. A tent, backpack and other amenities rent for $50 a day. Still, it is convenient and a person doesn’t have to lug their own gear through airports and security. The gear is quality, too. The day use backpacks are Mystery Ranch — a Bozeman based firm and the backcountry packs are from Granite Gear — a Minnesota based company. The tents are the Hubba Bubba fromMSR.
The company also rents front country gear as well, like campstoves and heavier, less hiker-friendly equipment and tents.
A traveler doesn’t have to stop by the kiosk in Columbia Falls, either, where the equipment is stored in lockers. RightonTrek can make it available at the airport, in West Glacier at the Glacier Outdoor Center and other locations.
They also have been partnering with local guides as well.
The website features tutorials on how to use the gear as well as Leave No Trace principles, Diehl said, answering to critics who claim the company is simply unleashing folks out into the woods.
Still, there is often no-person-to-person interaction like one would get at say, Glacier National Park’s backcountry permit office or a National Forest ranger station.
Diehl said information on hikes is vetted by about 150 “ambassadors” to its website.
The website is quite handy — it features many of the trails in Glacier National Park, along with plans for multi-day trips, such as elevation gain, permits and other pertinent information.
Though not all the information is accurate — for example, on one Glacier Park hike, it said the summer average high was 55 to 70 degrees F — perhaps no one went out in the sweltering 90-degree days this summer.
That aside, it does give plenty of information about traveling in bear country and there are links to all the rules and regulations in the Glacier Park.
Diehl said the company has also been working with local nonprofits like the Glacier Institute its also works with Glacier Jeep Rentals in Columbia Falls providing camping gear rentals for that company.
He said eventually the company would like to expand to other national park communities across the West.