Many people have a good excuse to stay indoors during chilly winters in Alaska. But, in the summer where temperatures rarely exceed eighty degrees, there are hardly any ways to justify being inactive and indoors.
Money can be a big factor in whether or not someone will be sitting on their butt or getting outside and doing the activities they love. Outdoor equipment is expensive to buy and not cheap to rent. A rental at a sports store in town such as REI can cost over $100 to rent a bike for the weekend, and that’s the price before the deposit requirement.
College students like Marc Peterson don’t have the cash to shell out for rentals. “It’s ridiculous what some stores want and then they refuse to give us student discounts and stuff making it harder to rent stuff because of price.”
It is for this very reason that the Commuter Student Services offers their own gear rental service for a fraction of the prices in town. UAA’s gear shop, located on the top floor in the Student Union, is run by students at the Information Desk and has a variety of equipment to choose from. The gear ranges from tents to mountain bikes to canoes and even backpacks.
“We just got a whole bunch of new gear, like new life vests, a new bike, new helmets, and new backpacks. Also some new tents which are pretty cool,” said Sarena Hackenmiller, student manager of the Commuter Student Services.
The prices become even more right when they offer their frequent special deals. The current deal is for the Fourth of July special to get people geared up for the upcoming holiday. The special will allow students to rent out any gear from June 30 to July 6, for the weekend rate. This is nearly half off their prices that are already more affordable than most of those around town. Instead of $58, renting a mountain bike for the week is only $39.
“Most of the items are like brand new for the price of something like five years old,” said Amanda Jameson, a second year Biology Major.
Contrary to most deals, the gear rentals aren’t limited to just students.
“The deals and specials are available for students, faculty and staff with a valid ID,” said Athina Maroudas who works at the Information Desk.
According to Hackenmiller, rentals have been pretty popular this summer. One of the hot vacation spots for renters is Seward, with the number one rental item being canoes.
“It’s cool that people are renting so many items and it’s nice to see the gear going out and getting some action over the summer,” said Hackenmiller.
If any students, staff, or faculty have a vacation planned in the near future, they can reserve the gear up to two weeks in advance. They are giving no one an excuse to sit inside this summer. So why not take a look at what they have and get outside.