Pursuit Series Opens Door to Outdoor Sports Through Adult Summer Camp Concept

In a seemingly perfect weekend world full of glamping teepees, sit-down dinners, live entertainment and brands and instructors for every sport you’ve ever wanted to try, the CamelBak Pursuit Series celebrates the outdoors with action-packed weekend getaways in stunning locations.

In its first year, the hands-on series invites people to share in an growth experience that each “Pursuer” can custom-tailor with activities and education ranging from mountain biking to kayaking to photography to outdoor cooking. Participants are given access to professional educators and the best gear — including discounts to purchases through Backcountry.com — and even though the event was sold out with more than 400 people on site, there was never a crowd for a class or for a beer or a meal.

Photo and top image courtesy CamelBak Pursuit/Talia Touboul

CamelBak Pursuit Series provided not only an array of adventure experiences, but also the food, music and encouragement to succeed in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Essentially all the outdoors was on the table in the form of non-threatening ports of entry, connecting primarily urbanites with the outdoor world and providing them the opportunity to learn lifelong skills and passions.

The first three-day event kicked off at Snowbasin Resort, Utah, August 11-13; and again at Sanborn County Park, just 50 miles south of San Francisco, Sept. 8-10. The Series’ aim is “to turn Instagram envy into reality,” creating a new-economy outdoors-immersion experience. Registration analysis indicates that urban weekend warriors, particularly from metropolitan hubs such as San Jose and San Francisco, are seeking a similarly minded people for outdoors endeavors. Registrants came from 22 States and two countries, average age of attendees is 34, and the gender split is 55 percent female — guys, now’s the time to listen up.

With an all-inclusive construct, Pursuit Series encourages those with limited community, know-how, gear, expertise or confidence to have the best possible experience in a multitude of activities and take away skills and enthusiasm for future endeavors and sharing.

Photo courtesy CamelBak Pursuit Series/Talia Touboul

“It’s exciting to see such a deep interest in Pursuit Series and the diverse spread of Pursuers attending, from all over the U.S. and beyond,” said Julia Stamps Mallon, co-founder of Pursuit Series, who also founded the women-only Outessa event series now run by REI. “Our aim is to encourage more people, particularly those wanting to share and continue their experience and skill-building, to find connection in the outdoors, to a sport, activity, community and nature, all very much at our fingertips during the series.”

The weekend can be as active or restorative as participants please. Activities included: Dawn Patrol surfing, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Trail Running Clinics, Urban Gardening, Wildcrafting Hikes, Natural Skin and Body Care Sessions, Backcountry Cooking, Meditation and Yoga, Slacklining, SUP, Kayaking, Hiking and Backpacking, Cocktail sessions, Farm to Table Dinners and many more options to suit every type of outdoorist.

Photo courtesy CamelBak Pursuit/AJ Johnson

Inclusive and hands-on, this new concept in exploration and connectivity is put on as a joint venture by Eventus Outdoors and The Outbound Collective — a unique and possibly the world’s fastest-growing online outdoor and travel community — and title sponsor CamelBak, industry leader and pioneer of hand-free of hydration (and everyone got a pack and a mug to use for the weekend and keep). There are plans to expand our Pursuit Series offerings for 2018 to more locations and include differing lengths of events to support the various needs and desires of potential campers and brand partners.

In San Francisco, we jumped in on every type of course, from Ninja Warrior training to backcountry cooking with Camp Chef. But the Intro to Trail Running with Altra founder Golden Harper may have stuck with us the most.

Altra founder Golden Harper demonstrates and drops knowledge. Photo by Aaron H. Bible

I’ve run with Harper and listened to his philosophy on numerous occasions and it has definitely inspired me to improve my running technique and to learn more. Because I test shoes for a living as a footwear editor for Backpacker and Gear Institute, I do wear many different brands and styles of shoes, but I have also become a huge fan of the thoughtfulness, technology and science that goes into Altra shoes, not to mention the brand’s success on the podium and commitment to keeping authentic, athlete-driven leadership in place. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the running tips you can find on Altra’s website, and some of the marketing myths Harper has been working for years to help people understand.

According to Altra, Here’s a few simple ways to run better :

  1. Use what Harper calls Proud posture, or “run tall”
  2. Keep compact arms or “chicken wings”
  3. Utilize a bent knee landing or “soft, quiet landing”
  4. Keep a high cadence, about 180 steps per minute

And, according to Harper, here are some of the marketing myths he and his brand, born out of his family’s running store and decades of coaching and research, are trying to debunk:

  1. Cushioning protects your ankle, knee and hip joints.

Research shows cushioning protects your feet, but landing under the big, natural spring of a bent knee is the only way to really protect your joints. Golden used the analogy of a boxer. Boxers wear big padded gloves to protect their hands, but retire because of damage to their shoulder joints.

  1. Foot problems can be fixed with shoes.

Populations that don’t wear modern shoes don’t have foot problems, yet 73 percent of Americans report foot problems. Altra designed its shoes so that when you wear shoes for running, hiking and walking, the shoes let your feet stay in virtually the same natural position as when you woke up and put your bare feet on the ground. That’s why Altra shoes were designed with a level — or zero drop — footbed and a toebox shaped like an actual foot.

  1. Harder surfaces can cause injury, or softer surfaces are better.

Runners can equalize the impact of a variety of surfaces by running naturally and landing under a bent knee. Studies show that the human musculature is designed to ambulate over a variety of mixed surfaces.

  1. Overpronation is bad and needs special shoes to fix it.

The best running form incorporates a high cadence for quick foot turnover, especially when running downhill or on scree, loose leaves, rock, sand,. A high cadence decreases the likelihood of foot wobble or rolling an ankle. According to Harper, almost no one is served by orthotics that are designed to correct overpronation, and even in over-pronators, poor running form and high heels are more likely to cause injury.

EO Contributing Editor Aaron H. Bible has been covering the outdoor and footwear industries for two decades. Follow his adventures on Instagram.


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