There is a hidden treasure trove of rentable, outdoor gear nestled to the left of the Student Union Information Desk.
A red kayak greets any student who walks through the Student Union. Venture further and one will find a rainbow of hiking bags, stacks of coolers and rows of ice skates lining the walls of room 213. Amidst the bicycles, portable stoves and wilderness proof trash cans, a student worker smiles up at anyone who walks through the door.
The outdoor gear in the Student Union Outdoor Gear Room is available for rent to any current UAA student.
Building manager of the Student Union, Chris Brake, is a senior geomatics major. In the four years Brake has spent working in the gear room, he has mastered the art of gear safety.
“Kayaks and canoes are one of the more popular options that we have, especially when we do deals,” Brake said. “We have four or five singles and four or five double seat kayaks that are watertight and suitable for stormy lakes and seas. I’m in charge of making sure all the kayaks are washed out and ready to rock ’n’ roll.”
The kayaks come fully equipped with life jackets, paddles and more. Discounted rental deals usually occur around major holidays, such as the Fourth of July. Brake feels that the Student Union Outdoor Gear Room has much more to offer than students notice. Brake personally recommends the portable stoves.
“We have [stoves that are] really good for alpine areas and then just the basic stoves for on the side of the road and all that sort of jazz,” Brake said.
While it may not be a warehouse, students who prefer quality over quantity may find the Outdoor Gear Room to be a safe and affordable option.
Adult campers spent an average of $546.41 on camping gear in 2016, according to the 2017 American Camper Report. The majority of the nationwide top camping purchases, such as coolers and backpacks, are available to rent from the Student Union Outdoor Gear Room. Renting a cooler for a weekend for $10 instead of purchasing one for a much higher price is a safer investment for an inexperienced camper and a cheaper option for infrequent outdoor explorers.
For more information about the rental services available, visit the Student Union Outdoor Gear Room in room 213 of the Student Union, call (907) 786-1204 or email [email protected]