Hipcamp founder Alyssa Ravasio loves the internet as much as she loves nature. Lucky for us, she鈥檚 found a way to marry the two. Hipcamp taps into the crowdsourcing powers of the web to curate a lengthy list of bookable US campsites 鈥 both private and public 鈥 and thereby makes camping a much, much more accessible pastime.

image26

Along with building a thriving company and loyal community through their #cabinporn-filled Instagram, Hipcamp has encouraged tons of millennials to rediscover the great outdoors. 鈥淥ur overall mission is to get more people outside and, more specifically, to inspire the next generation of people who are passionate about exploring AND protecting our lands,鈥 Alyssa says. Judging by the enthusiasm of its users, Alyssa is seeing results.

image27

To further inspire folks to get outside, Hipcamp is partnering with Eddie Bauer to offer eight Hipcampouts this summer. Each 50-person weekend is set with a theme 鈥 from sustainable farming practices to arts and crafts outdoors 鈥 to create a camping trip that cultivates learning and human connection. Fellow B+C staffer Anita and I were fortunate enough to snag an invite to the Arts and Craftsmanship Hipcampout at Jug Handle Creek Farm in beautiful Caspar, California. It鈥檚 safe to say we had one of the best weekends of our young lives. Scroll on to read more about our valuable takeaways from the blissy weekend.

1. You don鈥檛 have to camp the same way your parents did

image30

Sure, millennial campers value similar themes of escaping, living simply and appreciating the great outdoors, but Hipcamp knows that we approach camping in a different way than our parents. Today鈥檚 camping movement is focused on community and nature photography aswell as living minimally. Documentation of the trip online 鈥 via Instagram, VSCO and personal blogs 鈥 is our own way of taking in the scenery. And arguably, the social media element of the movement is what keeps camping a popular activity.

Psst: If you ask us, all tents should be stargazing-friendly like this one. It鈥檚 safe to say we were smitten with this sheer and *super* photogenic Eddie Bauer tent :)

2. Unplugging 鈥 even for 36 hours 鈥 can be rejuvenating

image11

As two city gals with demanding jobs and a few too many extracurriculars, Hipcampout was a big ol鈥 sigh of relief. For 36 hours, we happily traded in tech at our fingertips for the earth under our toes. The trip gave us a chance to slow down and single-task. It was a welcome change from our urban pace.

3. Camping fosters authentic interpersonal connection

image09

This one鈥檚 an old lesson that we millennials are constantly re-learning: It feels good to get to know people in person. Having a good ol鈥 conversation around a picnic table or a campfire is just better. Period. The weekend鈥檚 agenda fostered community and human connection with workshops, fireside chats and communal dinners.

4. Being outdoors inspires you to fill your day differently

image29

Wake up, make coffee, eat breakfast, make something with your hands. That鈥檚 what our mornings consisted of at Hipcampout. No email-checking, phone-scrolling or any of the other dozens of time-fillers we鈥檝e become accustomed to in city life. TBH, we didn鈥檛 realize how much peace of mind we sacrifice daily until we shed the multi-tasking habits for a few days. We HIGHLY recommend it!

5. Learning a skill together is an easy way to bond

image23

We couldn鈥檛 help the smiles from spreading across our faces as we spent the afternoon carving alongside Tonu Eagleton 鈥 a Polynesian master wood carver, environmental artist and educator 鈥 and shibori dyeing with Yoshiko Wada, the President of the World Shibori Network and the founder of Slow Fiber Studios in Berkeley, CA. At these workshops, we created tactile art with our hands and conversed with our tent neighbors. Let us tell you, collectively carving a redwood totem pole with 50 strangers is one way to make new friends :)

6. All meals taste better when served family style鈥 in enamelware

image17

There鈥檚 nothing like eating delicious, bottomless meals together 鈥 paired with Underwood canned wine 鈥 to bond a group of people together. Alright, the family-style aspect of the meals shouldn鈥檛 receive ALL the praise: We have to give credit to Luke鈥檚 Local for the unbelievable meals we devoured at Jug Handle. The menu included fresh stone fruits, braised greens, slow-cooked meats and even grilled abalone. We ate like kings.

7. The best group events have a structured schedule full of optional activities

image22

Here was the weekend鈥檚 schedule: Coffee, breakfast, workshop, lunch, workshop, dinner, beach bonfire concert. Ample time was provided for each occasion and ALL were optional. The agenda provided enough structure to facilitate group bonding while also providing the choice to own our time, giving us meaningful yet individualistic experiences.

8. Want to add instant magic to a live concert? Host it on a beach at sunset

image24

Yep. Saturday night concluded at dusk on the beach with a live concert and a bonfire. Hipcamp hosted The Farallons, a band with ethereal, dreamy tunes that kinda put us into a blissful trance. That, plus the giant bonfire, s鈥檓ores, Fort Point libations and a fellow camper who brought a telescope (and helped us find Saturn!) made this evening one for the books.

9. Wilderness can inspire major creativity

image25

Hipcampout attracted folks from all walks of life 鈥 from a young couple camping in every US national park in under a year to an LA helicopter pilot-slash-aspiring actor to folks like Anita and me working in the Bay Area startup world. Sure, maybe it was the utopian setting and the Stumptown Cold Brew-induced glee, but each person we met seemed creatively fulfilled and really happy. Since the theme for this weekend was Arts and Crafts, we were eager to learn about their journey with creativity.

鈥淎t the risk of sounding lame: Wilderness inspires. In terms of photography, I love the challenge of trying to capture a beautiful moment outside with just one frame. I don鈥檛 get that urge in urban environments or indoors.鈥 鈥 Madison Kotack, Hipcamp Field Scout Manager

鈥淸Creativity means] letting loose and digging deep. Being in the outdoors often gives you a second to pause and reflect. Sometimes, all you need is a little space to get creative juices flowing.鈥 鈥 Julie Kukral, Hipcamp Marketing Intern

10.聽Success and happiness come in many forms

When interviewing fellow campers about their relationship with creativity and the outdoors, we were particularly humbled by Hipcamp Photographer Ezekiel Gonzalez鈥檚 story.

image36

He says: 鈥淵ou only have what you have now.鈥 A reflection on being present, cultivating relationships and honoring your art.

After feeling an indescribable discomfort from being attached to so many material things, our new friend downsized everything he owned to one box and chose to live out of a van for a year. By shedding the excess, he found that his mind was considerably less cluttered and his love for the outdoors grew. What struck him the most was that his relationships with people felt deeper and his creativity was reignited. His knack for visual storytelling helped him find a community and eventually led him to Hipcamp.

BONUS: We got the best swag bag ever!

image34

Major kudos to Eddie Bauer for the A+ swag bag. Receiving this guy upon arrival felt like Christmas.

At the end of the weekend, we all swapped contact info. It was just like the old days at summer camp, only instead of phone numbers and mailing addresses, we shared Instagram handles, occupations and emails. We left Jug Handle Creek Farm heady, satisfied and just a tiny bit more optimistic about humankind in the digital age. Cheers to Hipcamp and finding yourself outside.

image35

This collectively-carved totem pole is now firmly planted and lives on the Jug Handle farm.

Scroll on for more photos from the weekend!

image07
image02
image14
image04
image15
image12
image10
image05
image20
image33
image16
image03

What鈥檚 your favorite thing about camping? What do you think of Hipcamp? Share with us on Instagram at @BritandCo using the hashtags #bcweekender and #FindYourselfOutside.

Author: Maddie Bachelder + Anita Yung
Photography: Anita Yung + Nic Castellanos