I'm currently planning a grand canyon trip where the proposed trip cost is 1400 per person plus park fee. It's a throw together trip where the permit holder and trip leader have limited river experience and are looking for boatmen through the Buzz. That's how I met them. We have one potential boatmen who would like to only pay 1000 dollars because that's what he feels he can afford and he'd like to provide group gear to make up for the difference. The problem I'm having is cost sharing vs complicating logistics vs do we really save that much? Currently we're thinking 4 rented boats instead of 6. But each boat only works out to 80 bucks per person per trip. The outfitter says they can pack everything in three boats if we need to. If he brings his 14ft raft and I bring my 14ft raft we could probably split what one 18ft would carry and have a two 18ft two 14ft boat trip, back to a four boat trip. If he were to bring a kitchen we could save another 35 bucks per person, however if he wants to be compensated for the use of his kitchen, the group as a whole could just pull one together via the potluck/spreadsheet style of who brings what. I would have a real hard time paying a fellow trip participant 35 bucks to use his dutch oven when I could have brought my own. There are a few other things we could nickel and dime, we could assign propane tanks, see how many 20 ml ammo cans we have between us and so on. I have a fire blanket, one groover, one poop seat etc. So basically if we did a whole lot of work we might be able to save around 300-400 bucks per person. While that is a nice chunk of change it has drawbacks. We would have to show up to Flagstaff a few days early, the outfitter would like a week, so they can incorporate our gear with their gear and make sure everything is buttoned down before we head to the put in. So if we were to accommodate him and his budget we would be looking at a hotel room for a couple of nights, probably some meals out and so on. Even though now we're doing our own logistics instead of paying someone, that doesn't mean there isn't a cost It's in February so it's not like camping in Flagstaff will be comfortable and if we went to a lower elevation we would still have logistics costs. If the issue is he just wants to row his damn boat, he still needs to help cover the costs of the other boats he needs to carry the rest of the gear he will use. I'd like to row my baby but if its silly its silly and how do I tell the permit holder they need to pay more money for my privilege to do that.
So I'm saying each trip is different. If the situation were opposite, a small core group, who are bringing their own gear, packing their own food (food pack is over $8000) and were interested in bringing more folks along to share the shuttle costs and increase support, then sure. That is a DIY trip, this is a painless private trip. If someone wanted to go but would need to rent a boat there is no incentive to help pay for that persons ride. Just like if we're renting a bunch of gear there is no incentive to incur more costs to ourselves so he can bring his own ride. I realize that's kind of like shooting yourself in the foot because if he contributes $1000 we would still spend less even though he spends way less (15/1000=66) so $1466 for 15 and $1000 for one vs (1400/15=93) so 1493 for 15 and no free loader. He saves us less than 30.
I could see a potential to help with gas money in some situations. If, for example, there was a friend who had critical gear that lived in a distant location and would spending an extra couple hundred bucks to drag their truck and trailer to the put in and if they can't go the trip can't go. So basically back to an incentive for the group to share costs. If all the group needs to borrow is a fire pan then again the incentive is lost. Buy it as a group and make it a prize for ammo can tug of war. Competition would be fierce, maybe just raffle it. So that' where I'm at with it. Like most people I buy my gear to use and if it fails due to wear and tear whatever, if it fails due to abuse (that I'm not responsible for) the group should chip in. An extra can of beer, a rolled joint and the like is sufficient for me if I end up bringing some scrubby pads, dish soap or bleach.