A closer look at MWR: Rentals for military families
(Photo: Unsplash, Anthony Cantin)

Military spouse Teri and her family had just moved into their house in Bahrain. Their household goods had yet to arrive, and she and her husband needed something to sleep on. So what’s a military family to do when they need temporary items quickly and on the cheap?


Morale, Welfare and Recreation, or MWR, provides a variety of leisure programs designed to support military personnel and their families. Service members probably already know about most of the services offered by MWR at their local military installations, such as bowling alleys, libraries, fitness centers, golf courses and much more. But what many military families may not know is that MWR also offers a variety of practical and recreational items for rent.

Navy wife Teri did know that, and shortly after she moved into her house in Bahrain, she headed over to MWR and rented two camp cots.

“The cost was $10 for two cots for a week,” Teri said. “I was able to rent as the dependent with no advance reservations.”

Although Teri wished MWR had helped transport the cots to and from her home, she said overall it was a successful experience.

Military spouse Jen has also taken advantage of MWR rentals.

“We rented camping gear from the Port Hueneme, California MWR,” Jen said. “We didn’t have the storage space to buy lots of extra camping gear so we rented it for the weekend.”

Jen also rented a boat with friends at the Naval Station Norfolk MWR. Her friend who rented the boat was required to take an instructional course on how to drive it, but otherwise the rental process was easy and affordable. She was also pleased with the availability and quality of the rentals.

“It was such a steal to rent for a day and split with friends,” Jen said. “We had a great experience with both locations. Everyone was friendly, and the prices were fantastic.”

Former military spouse Michelle rented items like a pop up camper, canoe and kayak from her local MWR.

“The service was great,” Michelle said. “I would have liked more training on the equipment and help loading since I was doing it by myself. But the cost was perfect, and the stuff was good quality.”

Like Jen, Michelle realized it was more practical to rent equipment rather than buy it.

“I could not have afforded to buy it, and it would have been a waste since the use would have been so infrequent,” Michelle explained. “So renting was the perfect solution.”

The MWR rental possibilities are endless. Depending where in the world you are, you can find kayaks with trailers or ski equipment for weekend fun. You can rent bounce houses, climbing walls and coolers for birthday parties. You can rent tools for yard maintenance. You can even rent tables, chairs and turkey fryers for holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

Items, availability and pricing vary by location, so check with your local MWR to find out what they offer.

By Heather Sweeney,

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