Renting winter outerwear in Minnesota for visitors from the tropics
December 17, 2018 6:56 PM   Subscribe

In January I'm taking some friends to my parents' cabin in northern Minnesota for the full Minnesota wintertime experience (snowshoeing, sauna, Nordic skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, etc.). These friends live in a tropical climate and don't expect to experience subarctic conditions again for the foreseeable future, so they don't want to buy some of the heavier winter clothing (mainly snowmobile suits) that might be necessary for standing around a hole in the ice at -20°F. Is it possible to rent snowmobile suits (or super well-insulated skiwear) in the Twin Cities, Duluth or Ely, MN?

To be clear, my friends have clothing layers that'll be adequate for most situations, and I'll be able to supply things like mittens, balaclavas, etc. But if we go snowmobiling or ice fishing they'll probably need complete snowmobile suits.
posted by theory to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've already checked with REI and they only rent gear, not clothing, btw.
posted by theory at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2018

Have you hit up friends/relatives? If that doesn't pan out, try offering money on to rent someone's snowsuit.
posted by stray thoughts at 7:06 PM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

When I had visitors to my camp in the Adirondacks, they rented snow mobile suits from the same place that rented snow mobiles. Sounds obvious, but like you, we had a hard time finding a place. We actually did not rent the snow mobiles. After they had rented out all the sleds they had for that weekend, they still had suits available and then rented to us. The risk was we had to wait until they rented all the sleds and then had to hope they had the correct sizes left.
posted by AugustWest at 7:19 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I live in a place with nearly as cold winters and I see people in my neighborhood who have visitors from warmer places asking on our local Nextdoor-equivalent (ours is called Front Porch Forum) if people have snowsuits they could lend/rent.
posted by jessamyn at 8:07 PM on December 17, 2018

My friends went to Alaska in the winter and I think the people they were visiting ran out to a Goodwill or equivalent in advance and showed up to the airport with (newly washed) cheap clothing in hand.
posted by Toddles at 8:19 PM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I was lucky enough to do a Girl Scout dogsledding and skiing trip through the Boundary Waters starting in Ely when I was in high school. Wintergreen was our main outfitter, and they still do rentals. Although most of the info seems to be aimed out folks doing their trips, it wouldn't hurt to call and ask if they do rentals for other folks visiting Ely. Their gear is awesome, too.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:35 AM on December 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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