The brand-new CamelBak Pursuit Series launches this summer, first in Salt Lake City, then in San Francisco. The three-day events will feature all kinds of outdoor adventure and education, like SUP, mountain biking, and trail running, and courses about smartphone photography, map and compass training, and backpacking. Tickets start at $399, and accommodations range from camping in your own tent ($149 for the weekend) to sleeping under the stars in luxury carpeted wall tent ($1,299).
The series was co-founded by Brian Heifferon, CEO and founder of The Outbound Collective, and Julia Stamps Mallon, co-founder and VP of business development of Eventus Outdoors, and CamelBak quickly signed on as the title sponsor. We asked Heifferon, Stamps Mallon, and Jessica Klodnicki, general manager of CamelBak, how these weekends of outdoor luxury will come together.
Where did you get the idea for the Pursuit Series? Why did you want to pursue this (no pun intended!), and how did CamelBak and The Outbound Collective come together as joint hosts?
Brian Heifferon: Lots of people we know have said that they've always wanted to try a lot of different outdoor activities, but that they never tried them because they didn't have access to a friend who could teach them, or the equipment they needed to try it on their own. We wanted to help empower these people to finally try all of the outdoor activities they've always dreamt about, and to ultimately help grow outdoor participation. As we discussed how we could do this, we immediately saw an opportunity to marry the event expertise of Eventus Outdoors with The Outbound's online community of more than 7 million outdoor enthusiasts, to create a unique, transformative outdoor experience.
Jessica Klodnicki: People tell us over and over again about the awesome adventures and amazing feats that they have conquered with a CamelBak on their back. We love hearing these stories because we truly believe your CamelBak allows you to go further, to conquer something that might scare you a little or go off the beaten path a bit. The CamelBak Pursuit Series is a space to do exactly that – an opportunity to try the activities you’ve always wanted to, whether it is stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, trail running, or camp cooking.
The Outbound Collective is an online community of seekers, adventurers and people who just want to get out and do something. This is so complimentary to our mission that our partnership was truly a no-brainer. As partners, we can collectively inspire people online to get offline and conquer more.
More and more outdoor brands are finding ways to interact directly with the consumer. Events like the Pursuit Series, OUTFOUND, Questival, and smaller-scale events run by local retail shops, or tours going around the country, seem to keep popping up. Do you see this as a growing trend, and if so, why do you think it’s happening now?
Julia Stamps Mallon: I appreciate this question, as Eventus founded Outessa, which brought women together to teach and educate in the outdoors. I like to think we were one of the first doing this! We decided to take the good from Outessa and fix the inefficiencies and address some of the questions and concerns that a lot of participants had. We were able to take the same model, bring it closer to major cities, drop the price in half, and now you can invite your significant others, friends, brothers, and, well, the whole family. I believe it’s an honor, and I'm excited that others see this as the way of the future. People are moving away from consuming and more toward experience events around education and safe practices. That being said, we take great pride at making sure the experience is over the top. From the time you arrive to the time you leave, you'll know we don't cut any corners.
It seems like the Pursuit Series is capitalizing on a new kind of outdoor luxury adventure. Those accommodations and meal plans look pretty swanky! Why did you decide to go that route over dirtbaggy camping? Who’s your target customer?
Stamps Mallon: Well, we want to make sure that we have accommodation options that fit every budget. We do offer a traditional camping experience (which has been very popular), but we also recognize that there are a lot of people who are just getting started in the outdoors, who may only camp once a year, or get on a paddle board when they are on their family vacation. We want people to have an truly worry-free experience and we want them to feel like they are being spoiled. So while some might be used to staying in fancy accommodations at resorts, we hope they will find this an equally comfortable, unique way to head outside and challenge themselves with the activities they only dreamed of. We are truly camp for anyone.