RightOnTrek Begins Automated Gear Rental Operation

Every successful adventure rests on four basic elements: a sense of discovery, a bit of advanced planning, food and gear. Victoria Livschitz founded her company, RightOnTrek, to streamline all four of those components and last week unveiled a new method for tackling the latter two.

RightOnTrek, which Livschitz describes as having the ultimate goal of becoming the “Grand Central Station” for planning all stages of outdoor adventures, unveils its Wilderness Edge (or “Edge”) program, an automated self-service gear rental and meal-sales outfitter .

“You know that anywhere you go you can rent a car to get around,” Livshitz said at the April 27 ribbon cutting ceremony for Wilderness Edge. “You should be able to assume that anywhere you go, you can rent your adventure gear.”

The program, which launched on May 1, currently consists of a boxcar filled with gear lockers along with a vending-machine stocked with RightOnTrek backpacking meals. The company recently broke ground on a wedge-shaped building on Conn Road in Columbia Falls that will be the permanent home for Wilderness Edge.

There are two ways to utilize the service. Last-minute essentials like meals can be purchased on site, while full complements of backpacking or car camping gear can be reserved online and picked up at the automated storage lockers, then returned at the end of the trip. The 24-hour, self-service style features are intended to accommodate late-night flights into the airport and spontaneous adventurers.

A selection of packaged backpacking meals by Right on Trek sit in a display locker in Columbia Falls on April 28, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

“The beauty of this system is there’s no need to plan for transporting your group’s gear, especially if you’re flying in,” said RightOnTrek’s public relations director Patricia Walterick. “You can book the flight, find the Edge and it’ll be waiting for you.”

The company’s pilot-program Edge station is located along US Highway 2 between Glacier Park International Airport and the west entrance of Glacier National Park. Walterick said the goal is to have an Edge station near the entrance of every national park, as well as at convenient locations along the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, providing thru-hikers on months-long treks with another option for replacing gear or restocking food.

Livschitz describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” having founded nine companies prior to RightOnTrek, including most recently several successful tech companies in Silicon Valley. This latest venture grew out of her first backpacking experience in 2017, a 16-day trek along the John Muir Trail, which hooked her on the outdoors.

“I learned a long time ago that anything that becomes a hobby of mine becomes an obsession, and anything that becomes an obsession becomes a company,” Livschitz said.

With her new obsession, Livschitz tried to figure out why it took people like her so long to discover the outdoors, and why those who had discovered it didn’t spend more time out there.

“Studies show that people are recreating more than ever, but when you ask people how much they want to do versus how much the actually do, the gap is giant and only growing,” she said. “I figured why not start a company that can remove the barriers to adventuring.”

The Wilderness Edge offers a low-cost, low-risk way to acquire gear. Livschitz said no one should have to compromise between cost and quality, which should be “high quality enough to help you get hooked.” RightOnTrek’s line of meal kits is designed to steer people away from freeze-dried or bland backcountry food and can be found in 50 stores across Montana. There is also a full-service meal planner online that calculates, and assembles, meal kits based on an individual’s caloric requirements. In addition, the meal kits are made with a compostable bio-based packaging, part of the company’s plan to have a net-zero environmental impact.

Eric Boxer, Director of Meal Products & Chief Sustainability Officer at Right on Trek backpacking equipment company, cooks some of the company’s backpacking meals at a product launch event in Columbia Falls on April 28, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The company is also continuously building out its online database to address the discovery and planning aspects of adventuring. Livshitz hopes that soon people will be able to search for fully crafted itineraries by entering a few simple keys — such as the number of nights out, daily mileage and destination goals, like sleeping next to a lake — and quickly browse all the options in their chosen region, along with a guide that covers everything from parking to permitting to meal planning.

Livschitz said another main goal of the company is to funnel travelers to local guides and outfitters. Local guiding services can get visitors discounts on gear rentals through the Wilderness Edge, which also researches the need for small services to own and maintain their own gear. RightOnTrek also partners with Whitefish Outfitters and Glacier Outdoor Center and offers gear drop-offs in lockers at both locations.

“We aim to make wilderness more accessible to people of all walks of life so they can discover transformative experiences,” Livschitz said. “Wilderness Edge is up and running and we will learn a lot this summer, go back to the drawing board and continue to make it even better.”

To learn more visit rightontrek.com or visit the Wilderness Edge at RightOnTrek’s Glacier Campus at 1010 Conn Rd. Unit A in Columbia Falls.

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