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Outdoor gear vending machine part of business goal to make wilderness adventure accessible

by Summer Zalesky Daily Inter Lake
| May 29, 2022 12:00 AM

A new outdoor gear rental and meal facility in Columbia Falls is striving to create seamless trips for adventurers headed to explore the Flathead Valley, Glacier National Park and beyond.

Known as The Wilderness Edge, the facility is essentially a giant vending machine for renting outdoor gear and purchasing meals. Right On Trek, the company behind it, is aiming to provide a myriad of services for those looking to take a day hike or head into the backcountry.

Victoria Livschitz, the founder of Right On Trek, grew up in Lithuania and learned to love the outdoors through fishing and foraging for mushrooms and berries. Her passion for the wilderness further blossomed when she decided to embark on the John Muir Trail in California. Her friends had won a permit for the trail and they were trying to find a fourth person to join them.

“When I heard about it, something just clicked. It was going to be epic and I wanted in,” Livschitz said.

Trekking helped Livschitz forgo much of the stress of daily life.

“I fell in love with the solitude and the process,” she said. “It was the perfect blend of challenge and self-reliance. I loved the feeling of accomplishment after climbing a pass and the minimalism of thriving in an environment. Many people don’t learn these lessons in a protected, civilized world.”

Livschitz said the experience was life-changing and taught her how to be confident and maintain balance in life. “It enriched my personal life beyond my wildest dreams.”

It was on this adventure that Livschitz realized she wanted to share this experience with everyone. According to Statista Research Department, over 57.8 million people in the United States hike.

“But when you ask people if they recreate enough, they say no. They want to do it more, but there are very formidable barriers to achieving this,” said Livschitz.

The first barrier to tackle is making gear more affordable. Right On Trek offers hiking, backpacking, and camping packages that start at $25, $40, and $50 respectively per person, per day. A backpacking package includes a 60-liter backpack, a three-season tent and liner, an ultra-lightweight mattress, carbon fiber trekking poles, a lightweight stove, a pot, utensils, a water filter, bear sack, trough and satellite device.

“Everything has to be ultra-light and ultra-quality,” Livschitz said.

Gear can be rented separately depending on the customer's needs. They also offer a camping set for $35 per person per day which is designed uniquely for that experience.

The second component of an enjoyable trek is good food.

“We are making our own meals and that is a big and complicated part of the business,” Livschitz said.

Right On Trek’s backpacking meals are mostly air-dried which provides fresher food than other meal alternatives. The packaging is 60% compostable and by next year, they hope to be 100% bio-based. Right On Trek’s meals cater to people’s lifestyles and diets whether they are vegan, vegetarian, keto or gluten-free.

Livschitz said she wants people to eat well in the backcountry. The meals can also be found in over 50 stores throughout Montana.

The third component of Right On Trek’s mission is technology. Rightontrek.com is a platform where hikers can collaborate, plan their trip and even create custom meal plans. The website has a tool called Trail Finder to help plan itineraries.

“It’s one of the most impressive databases full of multi-day and single-day adventures,” Livschitz said.

Another part of Right On Trek’s mission is to educate people on creating good habits to protect the environment while staying safe.

“When people are unprepared, they can destroy the wilderness,” Livschitz said.

She hopes to combat this concern with education and proper resources and a Right On Trek educational center is currently in the works. The company is environmentally conscious as a portion of its proceeds goes to creating carbon offsets for anything related to the shipment of products.

In the near future, Right On Trek hopes to have a Wilderness Edge at the gateway of Yellowstone National Park. Their long-term goal is to have a Wilderness Edge at every national park, and eventually to go global. The team’s shared vision has largely contributed to the success of the company.

“Without our team, we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing at the speed and scale of what we have done so far,” Livscitz said. Everyone on the team is highly qualified, loves the outdoors, and has empathy for their customers, she notes.

Gear can be rented and meals purchased at rightontrek.com.

After ordering, a locker code will be sent to pick up gear at one of several locations including Whitefish Outfitters, Glacier Outdoor Center and the newest location of The Wilderness Edge which is located at 1010 Conn Road in Columbia Falls.

Detailed information about the gear will also be provided and any questions can be answered via email or a chat feature on their website. Gear is then returned to the same location.

Livschitz and her team are excited to make wilderness exploration a tangible dream for those who previously may not have had the resources.

The Wilderness Edge is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily now with the goal of being open 24/7 in the summer.

To find out more about Right On Trek, visit rightontrek.com or find them on Instagram @rightontrek

photo

The Wilderness Edge, created by Right On Trek, is essentially an oversized vending machine for outdoor gear rental and meal purchases. It is located at 1010 Conn Road in Columbia Falls. (Courtesy photo)

photo

The Wilderness Edge, created by Right On Trek, is essentially an oversized vending machine for outdoor gear rental and meal purchases. It is located at 1010 Conn Road in Columbia Falls. (Courtesy photo)

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