The Weber State University Outdoor Program hosted the 13th annual Gear Swap on Oct. 14.
According to Daniel A. Turner, assistant director of campus recreation and outdoor program coordinator at Weber State, the event was geared to get students more involved with the outdoors.
“Our goal is to get students outside and participating in our backyard of Ogden, Utah,” he said.
From Black Diamond to Snowbasin, about a dozen vendors lined the lower Bell Tower Plaza, giving students the chance to browse through discounted outdoor equipment. This year’s sale included anything from light weight sleeping gear to paddle boards to ski goggles.
Andrew Kase, sales manager for KLYMIT and one of the vendors at the swap, said that while the event was a great and free way for vendors to showcase their equipment, it was also great for community engagement.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of traffic with students going from class to class, but just being able to promote the outdoors and getting equipment to them at a better price and getting more people involved with that was good as well,” said Kase.
The Weber State Outdoor Program even had its own booth at the event. From used ski boots to last year’s snowboard models, the WSU Outdoor Program featured the used rental equipment from the WSU Outdoor Equipment Rental Center.
According to Turner, offering this rental equipment back to the students was the “bread and butter” of what they do as the WSU Outdoor Program.
“We have this big inventory that has to turnover. So since the equipment is actually purchased with student fees, we bring it back to the students so that they can purchase it first,” said Turner. “And it’s kind of cool to see it all come full circle.”
The event primarily hosted outdoor retail stores located in the heart of Utah. Among the vendors was one new store that made its debut: Aura Optics. Joe Canfield, CMO of Aura Optics, said the gear swap was a great opportunity for him to get exposure for his new start-up business.
He also said it was a great networking opportunity for students.
“You know, I had met one student today who was an engineering student and he was thinking about doing some work for us,” Canfield said. “So this event is also good for students to interact with businesses.”
The event lasted from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and also gave students the opportunity to sell and trade their own used outdoor gear with the retailers.
For Turner, bringing all the local vendors together was a great way to not only connect students with the outdoors but also bring members of the community to campus.
“These are all local folks that we work with on a regular basis. We keep great relationships with our local retailers so that they can bring out all their equipment that is either marked down or reduced pricing,” Turner said.
According to Turner, while stores could sell gear at full price, the purpose of the event was to cater to college students that might not be able to afford brand new gear for the upcoming seasons.
During his own college years, Turner knew what it was like to enjoy the outdoors but still not have enough money for brand new gear. For him, having discounted gear swaps was what “made it work” during those tight times.
“The reason we do this event is to put this equipment back into the hands of the students so that they can get outside and just use it,” he said. “I mean, the gear still has a lot of life left in it.”
According to Turner, the Outdoor Program already has plans to host this event next year and for many years to come.