Adult Summer Camp: Don’t Laugh, It’s Awesome

The newest wave of weekend getaways gives people the chance to camp, bond, and participate in outdoors sports. It’s like sleepaway camp for adults.

Camelbak Pursuit Attendees San Francisco 2017
Pursuit Series: Summer Camp for Outdoorsy Adults | Image credit Josh Currie

Maybe you went to summer camp as a child, have fond memories and dream of returning. Or perhaps, like me, you’ve never been to camp and never understood what all the fuss is about. Either way, I’m pretty sure you’ve never been to a camp like this.

A mountain biking class at the Pursuit Series Adult Summer Camp
Day 1 Mountain Biking | Image credit Josh Currie

The Camelbak Pursuit Series kicked off in 2017 with two successful outdoor summer camps for adults (and even more planned for 2018). Each event ran over a 3-day weekend, with the option to attend for a single day. Attendees tested out some of the newest gear on the market and learned from industry experts in a variety of disciplines including rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking, first aid, wilderness survival and more.

I headed to San Francisco in early September to experience camp for myself and learn more.

Camelbak Pursuit Series: The Activities

The biggest problem each day at the Camelbak Pursuit Series was choosing which classes to attend. “Yoga under the redwoods looks great, oh but so does the camp mixology class. And the morning surf lesson sounds rad, but then I’d miss the photography nature walk.”

It’s impossible to list every activity, but here’s a rundown of some of the classes I took: ninja warrior training, trail running, meditation, fly fish casting, slacklining, wildcrafting, hiking, and night time SUPing. Now take this list and multiply it by five for a good idea of the weekend’s activities.

On top of all that, each evening we enjoyed making new friends at dinner, sipping local brews at the open bar, roasting s’mores around the campfire and listening to live music before heading off to tents for a cozy night under the stars.

Participants enjoy a lesson in camp cooking at the Camelbak Pursuit Series San Francisco
A lesson in camp cooking | Image credit Për Jerner

Adult Adventure Camp: Who It’s For

Anyone excited to sample a new outdoor hobby or refine their skills. Adventurous people looking to meet other outdoor-loving friends in a welcoming and low-stress environment. Or weekend warriors looking for a bit of variety.

During the weekend I also met a mother-daughter duo seeking adventurous memories, a small business staff intent on bonding outside of work, and numerous couples hoping to grow their outdoor skills together.

It’s important to note that most of the classes are geared towards beginners (though this may change at future Pursuit events). And while the instructors are skilled and happy to accommodate, there’s only so much that can be done in a group setting. If the idea of slowing down for the newbies to catch on drives you crazy, this may not be the camp for you. Or maybe you simply need to see it as an opportunity to be the newbie yourself and jump into classes you’ve never experienced.

Adults learning to climb at the Camelbak Pursuit Series summer camp
Day 2 Intro to Climbing | Image credit Jason Hatfield

Why “Adult Summer Camp” Is Awesome

Four important words: Grownups trying new things!

The Pursuit environment was geared towards learning, packed with supportive people. Not once did I hear anyone – staff nor attendee – be anything less than encouraging. High fives were handed out, encouragement shouted excitedly, praise rained down. And it wasn’t fake or weird because it came from a place of genuine community. We were in it together; campers united in our mission to make the most of the weekend adventure.

Yoga under the redwoods | Image credit Talia Touboul
Yoga under the redwoods | Image credit Talia Touboul

Other Useful Details

  • Location – Salt Lake City, UT and San Francisco, CA, with more cities being added in 2018.
  • Price – 2017 day passes started at $225 and 3-day weekend tickets (which include lodging and food) ranged from $649 to $1,699 depending on the accommodations.
  • Lodging – Bring your own tent or enjoy a tipi glamping experience.
Roasting smores at the Camelbak Pursuit in San Francisco
S’mores, friends and live music | Image credit Talia Touboul

Bottom Line

The Camelbak Pursuit Series may not be a fit for experienced outdoor athletes. But it does offer a much needed opportunity to try new outdoor activities and come together with a community of active people.

The only real question is, how do I sign up to be a camp counselor next year?

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Mallory Paige is a Storyteller and Adventurer. As the creator of the Operation Moto Dog adventure, she spent a year traveling and camping her way across North America on a motorcycle-sidecar with Baylor the Dog, proving you don’t need to be fearless or perfect to live your dreams.

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