Summer is coming to a close and the dreaded first day of school is right around the corner. But worry not, GrandTrunk is here to make your back to school transition as fun as possible. Whether you’re a wide-eyed freshman or a grizzled senior, it’s our mission to make sure every college student has the right gear and the best recommendations to get out and enjoy their campus, college town, and surrounding area. So, get out and set up a hammock in the quad, find a local hiking trail or a movie in the park. Just make sure you finish your homework first (your mother asked us to include that).


Here are some of our favorite college towns!


Home to Oregon State University, Corvallis is located just an hour and a half south of Portland. This college town boasts an infinite number of places to explore, but we’d recommend Alsea Falls Recreation Area. When you venture out to Corvallis you must stop by Peak Sports to pick up any gear you may need for your outdoor adventure!

Peak Sports has been serving the needs of outdoor enthusiasts in Corvallis, Oregon for over 45 years! As a locally owned and operated outdoor retailer, they are an excellent resource for gear and information on the surrounding areas. They have everything you need to make the most of your outdoor adventures.

Peak Sports has tons of in-store events like movie nights and WTF (women/trans/femme) night where you can learn about gear and have great curated group discussions. Stop by to say hi to their awesome four-legged employee Lana, she would love to see you! To keep up to date with events, follow Peak Sports on Instagram @peaksportscorvallis and anytime you go on an outdoor adventure near Corvallis, you can post using #peakadventurereport!


Next stop on our cross country tour is...Madison, Wisconsin! Badgers will soon be returning to campus at the University of Wisconsin and surely will be looking for awesome outdoor activities. Students can swing by Rutabaga Paddlesports to grab a hammock to hang in on campus while the weather is still permitting or even in your dorm room once it gets chilly. Rutabaga specializes in paddle sports and has rentals available through the end of September. You can find all sorts of outdoor-themed dorm room supplies and decor. 


The Lower Wisconsin River is a perfect location to hit for a weekend trip to get away from campus and is wonderful to paddle. So pile into your roommate’s car with a couple of friends, and enjoy a weekend of outdoor adventure. Closer to campus in Madison, there are also many lakes and parks for your enjoyment, but a nice little hidden gem is Governor Nelson State Park. Perfect for a day out with fellow adventurers, some activities include hiking, swimming in the summer, kayaking, and fishing. Make sure to follow Rutabaga Paddlesports on Instagram @rutabagapaddlesports!



Calling all Hoosiers!! Bloomington is home to not only Indiana University but also J.L. Waters, an outdoor retailer that has been serving residents and students for over 45 years.  They’ve got gear for every level of explorer and every degree of adventure from day trippers to a summer backpacking through the mountains. Stop by and check out some of your back to school essentials. Those returning to IU this fall should have at least a month or two to hang outside and enjoy our beautiful earth! 

Brown County State Park is a hop, skip and just a 15-minute drive away from campus. They've got loads of upcoming events for the end of august so definitely check their website to see if something piques your interest! Some of the activities you can get into at Brown County state park include, but are not limited to, camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, tennis and more! An awesome place to go to and decompress after a week of classes. 

Good luck this year Llamas!