In 2020, the world seemed to come to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Outdoor UW proved no exception. The University-run equipment rental service closed during the initial pandemic lockdown, but they have now reopened and are ready to help you make the most out of your time outdoors. Here’s how you can take advantage of Outdoor UW’s services.

What’s available to rent?

As of now, only the equipment under the Camping, Hiking and Climbing category is available to rent. In this category, you can find gear like tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, cooking utensils and even stoves, as well as trekking poles and climbing helmets and shoes. Paddling equipment is currently not available for rent. 

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How to rent equipment?

If you’re ready to rent some equipment for your outdoor adventure, you’ll want to start on the Outdoor UW website. There, you can fill out a rental request for what and when you want to rent. Then, Outdoor UW staff will process your rental request and you’ll receive a confirmation email with a way to make an appointment to pick up your gear.

When you pick up your equipment, you’ll turn in your signed liability waiver and you’ll be good to go. Once you’re ready to bring back your gear, you’ll be able to return it through contactless drop-off from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday or through their office drop-off from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday or Thursday.

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How has UW Outdoor changed because of COVID-19?

Given the global pandemic we’re in, there are obviously a few things that are different now than they were before. These differences are primarily in the shape of a much more structured process for renting. Appointments are necessary for pick up in order to limit the amount of people in the space, and the office is operating under limited hours of only 3 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.

Even with the changes because of COVID-19, Outdoor UW’s reopening is still very exciting for all the outdoors lovers in Madison and it’s a great opportunity to make memories and enjoy your time outside so take advantage of it!