Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions after reading about how to get started and learning about our activity groups? Maybe you'll find the answer here!

Where do you guys meet? Do you meet every week?

We meet every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the Mendota Lodge at Memorial Union.

Where is the Mendota Lodge where you meet? And where is the boathouse?

The Outdoor UW space (where the boathouse and the lodge are) is located at Memorial Union, right where Lakeshore Path dead-ends into the terrace. If you are coming from inside the Union, follow the signs for Hoofers.

I don’t understand the boating ratings…

Maybe these charts will help!

Also, you can check out how we stay safe on the water by reading our Water Safety Code by clicking here!

What gear does the club NOT have that I may need on a club trip?

The main items you will need that the Outing Club does not have are:

  • Water bottle (bring on every trip)
  • Footwear (except climbing shoes and ski boots)
  • Clothing
  • Towel
  • Raingear (jacket and pants)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Headlamp or flashlight

Members should find themselves some good outdoor clothing, including non-cotton long pants and shirt. Cotton will chill you when wet. Synthetics and wool are best. We recommend quick-dry synthetic pants, a polar fleece jacket, and a long-sleeved “base layer” shirt that will be warm when wet. Also, wool socks are great for all outdoor activities.

For activity-specific recommendations, check here.

Check out these places if you are interested in scoring some outdoor gear:

Broke college student? Check out St Vincent de Paul, the Dig n Save, or the clearance racks at Target and Dicks for appropriate outdoor clothes.

I’m not getting the club emails… what should I do?

If you have Hotmail: try a different email service. Hotmail doesn’t work well with our listserver.

Your membership may have expired. Renew your membership if this is so.

You might need to change your email preferences.

What do I need to do to check boats out for use on Lake Mendota?

Outing club members can use canoes and kayaks on Lake Mendota for free, but you must attend a lake lesson first. The lesson will cover basic paddling strokes, safety procedures for Lake Mendota boating, and familiarize you with our equipment. Even if you have prior paddling experience you must attend a lake lesson to become familiar with our equipment and the safety rules for the lake. Once you have taken your lesson, you can go out on the lake when the weather is nice! Check the lake rules on the boating cage in the boathouse for details about conditions and required lessons.

I already have paddling experience. Do I really have to take all these lessons to participate or become a leader?

We welcome paddlers who join Hoofers with previous paddling and leadership experience. We can fast-track you to the appropriate paddler or leader rating by working with the Water Safety Chair and other paddling leaders. Even if you have prior experience you must attend a lake lesson to become familiar with our equipment and the safety rules for the lake (it should take about an hour).

Essentially you just need to paddle on a trip and have the trip leader assess your paddling and leadership skills to make a recommendation to the Water Safety Board. Certifications such as from the American Canoe Association are helpful to determine the appropriate paddler and leader rating, although we always require some direct observation and assessment from a current leader. In short, just paddle with us and we’ll figure out the club rating!

The kind of trip I’d like to happen isn’t happening. What can I do to make a trip happen?

Contact a leader with experience and ask if anything is on deck, or ask around at a meeting. If you are willing to put in a little bit of leg work (sorting transportation, making reservations, plotting trails, buying food, organizing chaos not otherwise specified), experienced leaders are often willing to step up to lead on the river/set anchors/teach skiing technique/do other necessary stuff. What goes in to leading a trip? Check here!

Also, our leaders aren't psychics - if you want to see something go out, speak up!

Who can lead a Hoofer trip? What qualifications are there?

For more details, check our leadership resources by clicking HERE.

How do I use all that gear you have?

Hoofer gear can only be used on Hoofer trips (see above); we do not rent it out. If you are part of an official trip, please check out what you need and return it in good condition for the next group to use! In other words, wet tents and crusty cookware will result in the wrath of the gear chair. Before you depart on a trip, check with your leader to make sure you go through the correct checkout process. Leaders should check with the appropriate gear or activity chair to ensure that they are not using gear incorrectly or leaving it broken or smelling like rotting feet.

We have a lot of nice stuff. If we don’t have to replace or fix it, we can buy more different nice stuff. Everybody wins!

How does this whole trip thing work? What do I have to do?

Since we are a club led by volunteers, rather than a guide service, everyone is expected to help out with cooking, packing, cleaning up, setting up tents, loading boats, etc. Your leaders and other club members will help and teach you!

Still have questions?

If you would like to contact anyone, check out our leaders and officers and send them a message through our member search, or kindly ask to get you in touch.