I let people borrow stuff all the time. SOmetimes I am there, sometimes I'm not. I've lost some stuff, but usually people bring me their spare stuff to and the gear gets passed around and it's a pretty neat thing. I've had some wrecked stuff, but we fix it up over a few beverages and all is good in the world again. (All the stuff i loan out is inflatable style rafts, kayaks, etc). Usually it's my boating buddies outfitting their girlfriend or brother, etc.
My only fear would be some type of accident. I wouldn't hesitate to loan stuff to out of towners as long as they seemed "reasonable"...
hope this helps,