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When the world began shutting down this spring due to the spread of coronavirus, the staff at Backpacker magazine, one of the outdoor industry’s media staples, immediately recognized the need to start building community among its audience. People were desperately missing the outdoors. As a specialty interest consumer magazine, Backpacker has long been in the business of bringing people together. Now, the need is greater than ever.
As stay-at-home orders started taking effect across the country, the Backpacker staff got the idea to host a daily virtual campfire on Facebook Live from photo editor Louisa Albanese’s backyard. Shannon Davis, editorial director of Backpacker, said the project grew from a desire to “relieve stress, even when we can’t go out together and hike.”
The nightly campfires caught on fast, prompting the staff to think about expanding the effort. Eventually, they settled on the idea of a digital festival to connect people with the outdoors—and with each other—in a safe, responsible way. On May 16, Backpacker will host the first Backpacker Camp-In, a daylong virtual event featuring fitness livestreams, storytelling, music, and more. Davis said the intention of the Camp-In is to make people “feel like we’re hanging out together…a moment to forget our worries and celebrate.”
The Camp-In will take place on Backpacker’s Facebook Live and Instagram Live feeds from 12 to 9 p.m. MST and will conclude with a campfire. The day’s content will be outdoor- and fitness-themed, with guided yoga sessions, gear and cooking demos, readings by Backpacker authors, trivia, and live music. There’s even a photo contest for the “sweetest Camp-In setup” and other prizes offered throughout the day.
Participants can tune in from anywhere in the world—a tent in your living room, a sleeping bag on your back porch, or just “wherever you have good wifi,” Davis said.
Find more details and register for the event at backpacker.com/campin.