Just because you’re not a kid anymore doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one of the best things about summer: sleepaway camp.
The Outbound Pursuit Series gives adults the opportunity to create new summer camp memories at its three-day events, which are filled with guided activities for both new and seasoned adventurers. Co-created by Julia Stemp-Mallon, who started the Outessa women’s retreat (which was recently acquired by REI), and the founders of The Outbound Collective, an online community dedicated to making the outdoors accessible to everyone, the Pursuit Series is focused on being inclusive and approachable.
The next event is Aug. 8–11 in Bear Valley, located between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite in California's Sierra Nevada mountains—about a three-hour drive from San Francisco.
Before arriving at “camp,” you get to map out your adventure schedule for the weekend. (Check out a sample schedule here.) Activities vary each year, but you can expect sessions such as kayaking basics, introduction to mountain biking, how to fly fish, and standup paddleboard lessons. Instead of counselors, your teachers are expert wilderness guides and pro athletes. Other classes teach useful fundamentals like wilderness survival, map and compass basics, adventure photography, and backpack camping.
Each Pursuit Series event is intentionally capped at 500 people to maintain an intimate environment and low instructor-to-participant ratio. The cost, which includes meals, activities, gear, and nightly socials with open bars, is less than $500 per person for the entire weekend (camping or glamping requires an extra fee). One-day passes are also available.
One bonus perk at the Pursuit Series is the access to more than a dozen outdoor brands, including Moosejaw, Klymit, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Wigwam, Mountain House, and Niner Bikes. The companies provide campers the opportunity to test the latest and greatest gear and some offer demos—like how to cook over a campfire (Stanley) or how to pack a bag for months on the road (Eagle Creek)—as well as freebies for participants.
Activities continue into early evening with camp cocktail mixology lessons and social hours with brands such as West + Wilder, a canned wine company based in Santa Rosa. When you've had enough adventure for one day, relax in a hammock, play cornhole, or roast s’mores over the fire pit and listen to the nightly live music under the stars.