5 Best First-Timer Family Camp Spots in Colorado

Roofnest was founded on the belief that escaping from the familiar sights and sounds of your daily routine and immersing yourself in nature refreshes, relaxes, and reminds you of what’s most important.

And in those moments, what could come into sharper focus than sharing the awe-inspiring beauty of the great outdoors with your family?

Camping with our family is a way that many of us get our first exposure to the wonder of sleeping under the stars. That’s why we’re such strong supporters of helping families get outside faster, where memories await.

Whether you’re new to Colorado or it’s your family’s first time camping in the Rockies, it’s important to choose a camp spot that both offers an intimate experience with nature while still providing a few important comforts.

Here’s our list of family-friendly camp spots around Colorado, from the most accessible to the slightly more rugged.

1. Mountain Park Campground


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Just 40 miles from Fort Collins, Mountain Park is the perfect gateway to the Rockies for first-time family campers.

When you pull up to your site in Mountain Park, you and your family will be wowed by lush meadows, dense forest, and steep mountain peaks that surround the established sites. But all that bountiful nature doesn’t mean you’ll be out in the bush — comforts include restrooms, water, pay showers, horseshoe pits, and a playground area.

During the day, your family can go wild and make memories with classic outdoor adventures like fishing, white water rafting, and hiking. And once the evening rolls around, you can stay warm and swap stories around a crackling camp fire.

Each site contains a tent pad, fire grate, and picnic table, so you’ll have plenty of room to lay out your kiddos’ favorite snacks and board games. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis outside the reservation season. Make your reservations and check availability for Mountain Park Campground here »

2. Green Mountain Reservoir Campgrounds

 

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If your kids are a couple of water guppies, Green Mountain Reservoir is the ideal campground for first-timers to try their hand at camping and stay cool while doing it.

At Green Mountain, you can alternate between classic camp activities, like hiking, biking, and picnicking, with fun on the water — including boating, stand-up paddle-boarding, and swimming at the beach.

Day hikes around Green Mountain Reservoir include:

There are 7 different campsites to choose from around Green Mountain Reservoir, giving your family plenty of options to choose from. And nearly all the campsites give you easy access to water activities, so you don’t have to worry about competing for surefire shore space (say that five times fast).

The majority of campsites (except for the Cow Creek campsites) are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so remember your sun screen and life jackets for the kiddos and get there early.

3. Turquoise Lake


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With a name like Turquoise Lake, you can only imagine the pristine beauty and awe-inspiring views that await you and your family at this campground.

Nestled in the forest just west of Leadville, Turquoise Lake earns its name from the iconic Turquoise mines that produced the gorgeous stones throughout Leadville’s history. Now, you and your family can discover the treasures that await in the crystalline waters of Turquoise Lake — namely mackinaw trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.

Once you’ve had your fill of fresh fish cooked over the fire, stretch your legs and take in the views on one of the many day hikes in the area:

This area is heavily visited, especially in the summer, so be sure to make your reservation early for any of the sites that take reservations. Below are a few starting points:

Tabor Campground and Belle of Colorado Campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Amazing views, world-class fishing, and more than a handful of family-friendly hikes…that’s why we love Turquoise Lake.

4. Moraine Park Campground

Rocky Mountain National Park is host to everything from rugged back-country sites to established full-service camp spots. Located just inside the park through the Estes Park entrance, the Moraine Park campsite offers your family the best of both worlds.

With lush meadows, towering Lodgepole and Ponderosa pines, and incredible views of craggy peaks that reach over 14,000 feet, you’ll feel like you’re out in the bush — without having to sacrifice your proximity to the road and other amenities (like a real bathroom).

Scenic driving, hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing are all up for grabs in Moraine Park. And make sure you bring your camera, because Rocky Mountain National Park is rife with grazing elk, bighorn sheep, and moose!

5. Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite


Image courtesy of Steve Harbula

If your little tykes (or teens) are ready to get rugged in the backcountry, the trail that leads to the Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite near Cub Lake is a great place to start.

The campsite is a moderate 2-mile hike from the Moraine Park Road trailhead. This is perfect practice for first-time backpackers as your family gets used to carrying their camp gear on their backs (which is another valid reason that iPad has to stay at home).

The trail to the campsite passes through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands, making for prime animal-spotting and bird watching. And once you reach the site, your family will be awed by the green lily pads and their bright yellow flowers that cover the pristine mountain lake in the summer months.

There are only 2 camp sites available, located in a mixed pine forest on the south side of Cub Creek, about 250′ below the east end of Cub Lake.

Pro-tip: A backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping in Rocky Mountain National Park’s backcountry. Grab a permit at the Park Headquarters Backcountry Office next to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center west of Estes Park, or at Kawuneeche Visitor Center north of Grand Lake.

Camping is one of the best ways to pass down your love for the outdoors to your kiddos. And camping with a hard-shell roof top tent reduces your setup time to less than a minute, so you can spend more time memory-making.

When heading out to the wilderness with your Roofnest, there are a few ways you can make your weekend safer and easier, especially with young kids. Check out our complete safety guide to Roofnesting with kids »

August Ambassador Highlight – Francis Fraioli

This month we’re excited to highlight one of our ambassadors, Francis Fraioli! He’s been a member of the Roofnest Flock since 2018 and has cruised around the country in his FJ and Sparrow Eye! Be sure to check out his IG @iamnomad_ for some epic shots of his latest adventures.

Hailing from Montreal, Francis is a Wedding Photographer who’s been shooting photos professionally for five years. When it comes to adventure photography, he’s partnered with brands like the North Face, MEC, and of course, Roofnest!

We asked him about his favorite adventure in the Roofnest, and this is what he had to say. “I left Montreal in January to Mexico with the Roofnest tent on my Fj Cruiser. It has been the best trip of my life. 3 months spent exploring all the National Parks in the West Coast of the USA and surfing in Mexico. A 4×4 and my Roofnest allowed me to go where not many people can go and see those amazing places in another perspective. The main places I visited were Bryce canyon, Canyon Land, Arches NP, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Baja California, Nayarit Mexico, and more!”

Be sure to follow along on his adventures on Instagram, you don’t want to miss out!

5 Best Camp Spots an Hour from San Diego

When most people think of San Diego, they think of palm trees and beaches; of petting giraffes at the San Diego Zoo and shopping in La Jolla. But the San Diego area is also home to an incredibly dynamic landscape that offers an escape for every type of outdoor enthusiast.

Fly fishing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding and of course surfing can be found within an hours’ drive of this bustling city. And from hiking the 5-peak challenge to tearing up the trails on your mountain bike at Mission Trails Regional Park, adventure addicts are in good hands in southern California.

But we can’t forget our most prized way to spend time outdoors — sleeping under the stars with our favorite people. And with year-round temperate weather, nature lovers would be remiss not to take advantage of the incredible camp spots around San Diego County.

With a population of almost 1.5 million, the last way you want to kick off your camp trip is with a bumper-to-bumper slog down the highway. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite local tent camping spots that are less than two hours away from the heart of San Diego.

San Elijo State Beach Campground

Drive time: 45 minutes

 

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Summer nights ??

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It’s probably no surprise that the first killer camp spot on our list is a beautiful beachside campground. Less than an hour outside of San Diego, San Elijo State Beach Campground is something straight out of a Cali surfer’s dream, where you can park your car or van, hop out, and hit the waves.

But if you think this campsite’s only for serious surfers, think again. San Elijo is a great family beach too, with its mellow breaks and shallow water near the shore.

There’s also boogie board and stand up paddle board rentals, showers on site, and family activities so not everyone in your family has to be subject to the beach bum life (unless they’re like us and that’s just their style).

This is a popular spot, but if you’re lucky and reserve early, some campsites offer incredible views of the sunset over the coastline. Regardless, all sites come with a picnic table and fire pit, so you can top off an amazing day at the beach with a round of s’mores and campfire stories.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Drive time: 1 hour


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Imagine camping and hiking in a lush oak woodland forest, peppered with fresh pines and laced with meandering creeks. You can help yourself to this haven when you camp at either Green Valley Falls or Paso Picacho Campgrounds in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Once you arrive and breathe in the fresh high-elevation air (Paso Picacho sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet), you won’t believe you’re just an hour away from the sand, sun, and saltwater of San Diego. And bikers, hikers, and horse riders will rejoice when they see there are over 100 miles worth of trails to enjoy throughout the park.

Although these sites have limited amenities, you’ll still enjoy restrooms with flush toilets and pay showers. And once you’re ready to hang up your hiking boots, you can head 20 minutes down the road to the town of Julian to indulge in a trademark apple pie.

Palomar Mountain State Park

Drive time: 1 hour 40 minutes


Image courtesy of instagram.com/palomarmountainsp

This spot is closer to 2 hours from San Diego, but we’re confident the natural beauty will make it well worth the extra 40 minutes.
With the park’s higher altitudes and towering pine, fir, and cedar trees, campers headed to Palomar Mountain can look forward to indulging in a slice of Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere for the weekend.

Park regulations mean you’ll have to leave your two favorite trailblazing companions at home: your dog and your mountain bike. But once you and your runner-ups hike to the top of one of the park’s many vista points, you’ll be handsomely rewarded by sweeping panoramic views of the ocean to the west and sandy desert terrain to the east.

Make sure you don’t forget your fishing rod so you can try your hand at snagging a trout from Doane Pond. And when you’re ready for some out-of-this-world star gazing, visit the Palomar Observatory on the east side of the mountain.

William Heise County Park

Drive time: 1.5 hours

Remember that apple pie near Cuyamaca Rancho State Park we mentioned earlier? If you took a pit stop there at the Julian Pie Company and are itching to burn off the sugar, head over to William Heise County Park, just a 5-minute drive from downtown Julian (and less than 2 hours from San Diego).

Here you’ll find 10 miles of beautiful trails that you can tear up with your mountain bike or explore in your hiking boots. And if time gets away from you after all that fun out on the trail, there are 42 tent sites where you can get some R&R before heading out the next morning.

Campland on the Bay

Drive time: 20 minutes


Image courtesy of instagram.com/camplandusa

This is our favorite pick for families in the San Diego area. In the amount of time it takes your kid to get to the punchline of a joke, you could be arriving at Campland on the Bay for a weekend of jam-packed family fun.

Once you pitch your tent along the shores of Mission Bay (or park your car and pop open your Roofnest), prepare for the non-stop excitement to begin. From two on-site swimming pools to horseshoe pits and a skate park to an incredible kids activity calendar, camping at Campland on the Bay means obliterating the possibility of boredom for you and your family.

Prepare to play in the water by renting paddle boards, kayaks, wave runners, and more at the marina. And make sure no one in the fam forgets their favorite rocker tee, because once the evening rolls around, you can jam out to live music with the likes of killer tribute bands Matchbox 22 and Cheap Tricked.

Roofnesting in Southern California

Wherever your wanderlust takes you, there’s nothing like pulling up to your camp spot and popping open your roof top tent in a few seconds. Less setup time means more time for surfing and hiking; for telling stories and making friends in the great outdoors. And to us, that extra time in nature is a priceless reward.

But don’t just take our word for it. A member of our Roofnest Flock, Penny Sprague, can tell you all about her adventures across Southern California with her roof top tent. Discover how Penny saved on hotel rooms and escaped the hustle of LA with her Roofnest Sparrow »

August Live Outside & Play

Hey, Flock! With summer winding down, we’re trying to squeeze in as many adventures as we still can. This month, we’re continuing to join our friends Ben and Roxy on their LOAP travels through Colorado! If you’re in the area be sure to drop in and say hi at one of these awesome events:

LOAP August Calendar

9th – 11th: Telluride Jazz Festival in Telluride, CO

17th: Mountain Town Music Festival in Keystone, CO

18th: Small Living: Crafts from a Van in Denver, CO

31st – Sept 2: Taste of Colorado in Denver, CO

Mountain Town Music Festival

Come enjoy some free live music in Colorado’s high country! This year’s headlining act is The Strumbellas. This festival is an awesome way to round out the summer season. Loaded with local vendors, music, and tons of harvest pickings to choose from, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to end summer on a truly Coloradical note. The best part? The event is free!

Taste of Colorado

Taste of Colorado is a huge event that happens every summer in downtown Denver. The festival is celebrating it’s 36th year of being the largest free entry food and music event in the state! With over 500,000 attendees, you don’t want to miss it. This year the festival will host over 50 food vendors, 175 marketplace vendors, a kids zone, and 25 music acts gracing the stages! Food and beverage tickets come in at 15 for $10, and can be used at any vendor in the festival. Make sure to pack some sunscreen and bring your appetite!

If you end up coming down to Denver, keep an eye out for our Roofnest team! Being based in Boulder, we don’t think we can pass up a reason to head down to the city to stuff our faces for a day or two. We hope to see you all out there!

5 Music Festivals Where You Can Camp This Summer

Summer is here, which means music festival season is in full swing. From coast to coast, every month is packed with non-stop opportunities to sing along with your favorite artists, make new friends, and get a strong sunburn if you forget a certain essential festival staple.

Beyond stacked lineups, many summer fests promise an unforgettable experience that’s built on a whole lot more than just music. Attendees can look forward to a carousel of fun including art installations, delicious eats, community workshops, family activities, and in some cases, actual carousels.

Another perk to summer music festivals? The fact that so many of these iconic fests focus on bringing folks together to enjoy our favorite activity: sleeping under the stars.

Although many music festivals offer camping options nearby, there are a few that make camping the foundation of the entire festival experience. Check out our list of 5 of the best music festivals where you can camp this summer, and then get packing (don’t forget the sunscreen)!

What: Firefly Music Festival

Where: Dover, DE
When: June 21-23

Although Firefly Music Festival features musical giants like Death Cab for Cutie, Passion Pit, Tyler the Creator, Courtney Barnett, Vampire Weekend and a whole lot more, this festival is focused on bringing music-lovers together for an immersive camping experience.

Named “The Great Atlantic Campout”, attendees can choose to spread out along several massive lots for tent camping, RV camping, and different levels of “glamping” (not gonna lie, if we had $1500 lying around, we’d be lounging beer-in-hand in one of the super glamping setups).

Scattered throughout the north & south lots you’ll find “Camping Hubs” where you can keep the party going long after you’ve seen your favorite artists onstage. Catch live music performances by Firefly artists, late night silent discos, farmers’ markets, daily yoga, shopping, and essentials like cell phone charging stations, ice, and water refills.

When you pull up to Firefly Music Festival with a Roofnest rooftop tent, you can grab an affordable car-camping spot in the north or south lot and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the entire camping arena without having to pay for a tent setup or pitch a single tent pole.

Find weekend and single-day general admission, VIP and super/super-duper VIP tickets here »

What: Electric Forest Festival

Where: Rothbury, MI
When: June 27-30


Image courtesy of electricforestfestival.com

For those looking to plug in to a more psychedelic experience, the Electric Forest Festival is a fest for the senses. This four days of music, art, and community workshops sure to get the synapses firing.

Although this fest has a stacked lineup of dance- and beat-based artists (Odesza, Kygo, Bassnectar and Zeds Dead are the four headliners this year), it’s also packed with artistic and spiritual creative workshops, numerous art installations, feminist-focused activities and meetups and more. And about 45 minutes away lies Ludington State Park Beach where you can get a breather from all the action with a relaxing day of paddle boarding, winding forest hikes, and gorgeous sand dunes.

Just like Firefly, this fest is all about building community through camping. When you purchase your festival ticket, you can choose to bundle it with general admission camping, exclusive “VIP” camp spots, RV spots, tiny homes, cabins and more. A shuttle will take you back and forth from your campsite to the venue, so you can party all night long without volunteering your best friend to be the DD (as always).

And if you don’t have a tent, you can rent a basic or more glamorous tent where you can rest those dancing feet at the end of the day. Of course, rolling up with a Roofnest means you don’t have to pay extra for a special camp spot to get a comfy night’s sleep, so you can enjoy that extra space next to your car to its fullest (which we’re guessing probably means a hacky-sack circle or hula-hoop party).

What: High Sierra Music Festival

Where: Quincy, CA
When: July 4-7

Hope you’re hungry for some noodles this Fourth of July weekend, because the High Sierra Music Festival is overflowing with jam bands who are notorious for their long breakdowns and epic noodling skills (noodling = sick guitar playing, but you probably already knew that).

Dispatch, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Greensky Bluegrass, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Galactic and more are just a handful of the artists lighting up the rolling green foothills and pine trees that surround the town of Quincy, California.

This isn’t your typical music fest that’s only catered to 20-somethings. Families take center-stage with a family area that features family camp spots, nanny squads, kid-friendly workshops, a parade, and even a family stage that’s sure to get your kiddo’s feet moving.

There are a variety of camping options available for campers of every style. General tent camping is included in the cost of a festival pass, and you can purchase passes for on- and off-site RV parking, car camping, or a spot in the family camp.

Park your car in the Camp Panorama lot and witness the other car-campers’ looks of envy as you pop open your Roofnest rooftop tent and enjoy all the extra legroom — without any extra cost or effort.

What: Pitchfork Music Fest & Lollapalooza

When: July 19-24, August 1-4
Where: Chicago, IL

These two superstar summer music festivals take place practically back-to-back in the windy city. At the end of July, you can watch acts like HAIM, Pusha-T, Mavis Staples, Belle & Sebastian, Kurt Vile, and Parquet Courts blow the non-existent roof off Union Park at Pitchfork. Two weeks later you can rock out in Grant Park to Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, The Strokes, Tame Impala, and more at Lollapalooza.

Camping close to a big city like Chicago can be tricky. About an hour away from Union Park, you can find urban camp spots like Camp Bullfrog Lake, Camp Sullivan, or Dunewood, the latter of which allows you to choose between beachy and woodsy sites close to Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes National Park is also about an hour away from the city, where you can walk Lake Michigan beaches, dunes, and boardwalk trails, and enjoy clean bathrooms and a more laid-back atmosphere.

With your Roofnest in tow, all you need is a safe overnight parking spot in the city to get a comfortable, good night’s sleep, so you can be well rested for another day of non-stop bangers from the world’s most popular artists.

What: Arise Music Festival

Where: Loveland, CO
When: August 2-4

 

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If all the elements that make up the zeitgeist of Colorado’s Front Range could be rolled into one summer celebration, Arise Music Festival would fit the bill beautifully. Along with the stacked lineup of dancey-jam bands like Tipper, Beats Antique, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon and more, this artsy, hippie fest is a true testament to the Colorado lifestyle.

Get ready for scenic yoga sanctuaries and workshops, farm-to-table fresh organic foods, health and wellness workshops, and endless camping options.

Walk-in camping spots are free with a festival ticket, with options to upgrade to a VIP camping experience (including access to hospitality lounges, washrooms, swimming pools and hot tubs, etc). There’s also a full suite of glamping packages, a family camp area, RV spots, and tent rentals.

Car camping spots allow you to pull right into the festival grounds and set up camp next to your car right at the festival site. And with a Roofnest rooftop tent, you’ll get a panoramic view of the entire festival grounds and the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains in the background.

For a more remote camping experience, you can pick a wooded spot at Moraine Park, just past the Beaver Meadows entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. These spots are serviced by a festival shuttle, and are close to endless trails for hikers of every experience level.

With all the camping you’re in for this summer, you’ll need to plan covering some basic necessities while you’re away from the comforts of home. That includes making delicious, nutritious meals to keep you fueled and ready to rock all summer long.

You can only eat hot dogs and s’mores so many meals in a row (if you’re over the age of ten, that is). That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite quick and creative campfire meals to spice up your next camping trip »

Destination of the Month: Big Sur, California

 
Hey there, Flock! We’re back with our Destination of the Month, and for August it’s Big Sur! We’re excited to showcase a little of what this beautiful place has to offer. Big Sur is a central coastline in California that provides stunning views of rugged mountains, Redwood forests, and beach views unlike any other. The end of summer is a great time to check out this unique area, and we’ve got some suggestions of what you can do while you’re there.

Camping

So you’ve finally made it to Big Sur, but where do you camp? Big Sur provides an array of public park campgrounds or the option to rent a site within a private campground. Between the public parks and private campgrounds there are 17 different locations to choose from to set up your camp. However, the availability of these sites is only known by each individual campground. When deciding where to camp you’ll need to call the specific campground you’re interested in to make the reservation.Ventana Campground is one of the most popular choices for camping, and for good reason. Located about 30 miles south of Carmel, this campground is located within a 40 acre Redwood canyon. All of the sites in this campground are contoured around the canyon for a natural and undisturbed camping experience. The sites in Ventana are tent only, but Rooftop tents are allowed! Every site has a picnic table and fire pit, and the campground itself is home to three modern bathhouses for all hygienic needs. This campsite is centrally located to shops, the post office, and general stores for essential needs.While camping in Big Sur and enjoying all of the cliffside and coastline views, be sure to pack your Roofnest Anti-Condensation mat for your tent to keep the air circulated and your sleeping quarters dry. After a long day on the beach or trails, coming back to your Roofnest is sure to hit the spot.

Beaches

Visiting the beaches in Big Sur is at the top of most folks’ to-do lists, and we can’t help but recommend Pfeiffer Beach. Pfeiffer is located in the heart of Big Sur and is one of the most popular destinations in the area. The beach is open from 9am to 8pm every day, and we suggest getting there early! Pfeiffer is located off Highway 1, and you’ll want to follow Sycamore Canyon Road about 2 miles out. Once you’ve arrived, park and head out to the coast to be blown away. Keyhole Rock, tide pools, purple sand, and the cascading cliff walls will reassure you that the trek out here was worth the wait! If Pfeiffer isn’t the only beach you want to see, the area is home to 11 beach areas where there are hot spots galore for families, surfers, and outdoorsmen and women of all kinds.

Hiking

Aside from enjoying the coastline views and scenery, there are a ton of things to keep you busy and get outside while you’re here. One of the most sought after activities is the McWay Waterfall Trail. If you type “Big Sur” into Google images, you’ll most likely see photos from the top of this hike. This trailhead is located in Julia Burns Pfeiffer State Park, and provides open views of the Southern and Northern coasts. The hike itself is a roundtrip of .64 miles, and an elevation gain of only 50 feet. This hike is one to bring your friends and family on because the view at the top is breathtaking. There is parking and restrooms at the trailhead, so make sure to prepare for your instagrammable moment when you get there!

Elephant Seal Sightings

If you’re looking for a unique day trip without the hiking, the Elephant Seals of Piedras Blancas are calling your name. These seals appeared in the area around 1990 and were treasured by locals, but as they’ve expanded their rookery to larger portion of the beach, tourists come from all over the world to witness these magnificent creatures. Any visit throughout the year is sure to supply you with the seals breeding, molting, birthing, and just lounging.

So there you have it, Flock! Another great destination to add to your travel plans. Be sure to tag @Roofnest on Instagram so we can follow along with your adventures!

Van Lifers & Overlanders Unite at Descend on Bend

Image courtesy of instagram.com/descendonbend

Oregon is a state with such dynamic natural beauty, it needs to be seen to be believed. From the dramatic coastal cliffs in Coos Bay to the lush green forests that surround Mount Hood’s snowy summit, tourists from around the world can get their toes wet in endless outdoor adventures (and we mean that literally…there’s a lot of rain).

But then there’s Bend, Oregon. Bend is host to some of the state’s lesser-known geographic features — high desert plains, long semi-arid summers, sagebrush, and a ski bums’ favorite, Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.

For overlanders and van lifers, Bend is the epicenter for connecting with like-minded adventurers who prefer living life on four wheels.

What is Descend on Bend?

Descend on Bend is an annual gathering that brings together overlanding and van life enthusiasts from across the country for four long days of fun, food, learning, and camaraderie.

Participants circle up their rigs around the “hole in the ground” (the remains of a natural volcano) to camp, potluck, learn new skills, play music, and celebrate all the best things about living life on the road.

When and Where is Descend on Bend?

Descend on Bend takes place in La Pine, Oregon, a small town just outside of Bend proper. This year the festival will be on Labor Day weekend — August 29 through September 2, 2019.

When you register for the event, you receive private land access for four nights of camping in the Oregon outback, along with entry to the full docket of outdoor activities, workshops, and communal meals throughout the long weekend.

Activities at Descend on Bend


Photo courtesy of DescendOnBend.com

Descend on Bend provides participants with equal measures of fun and learning, thanks to the array of colorful activities and workshops that take place throughout the festival.

Be sure to come hungry, because there’s no shortage of community meals to share with fellow participants. And don’t forget the antacids, because you’ll want to help decide who should take home the trophy for the salsa and chili contests.

Activities at the festival include the following:

  • Community potluck
  • Salsa contest
  • Chili contest
  • BBQ dinners
  • Charity pancake breakfast (proceeds go to ONDA, The Oregon Natural Desert Association
  • Creatives community swap & meet
  • Slip-n-slide mud grotto
  • Heritage Distilling ladies’ cocktail hour & whiskey tastings
  • “Nightly hootenanny” including live music, dancing, and more
  • Late night live music sessions
  • A raffle you won’t want to miss

This list doesn’t include the mysterious “inaugural moondust classic”, something described as “a thing to be experienced, not explained.” (If you turn into a fairy or werewolf, we won’t take responsibility).

Outdoor Workshops at Descend on Bend

 

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Don’t go too crazy at those late-night hootenannies, because you’ll want to hit the coffee truck early and be revved up and ready for all the exciting outdoor workshops throughout the weekend.

From daily yoga to nature hikes to presentations, you’ll have your hands, feet, and mind full with the wide variety of featured workshops throughout the event:

  • Morning yoga at the rim of the “hole in the ground” (remember that sunken volcano we mentioned earlier?)
  • Nature-observation walks and trail-runs lead by ONDA
  • Cast-iron camp cooking workshop
  • Sewing, knitting, and gear care workshop
  • Leather small goods workshops
  • Overland “recovery syncro run” workshop led by Vivid Vans
  • Happy hour songwriters’ session led by Portland-based singer-songwriter Austin Quattlebaum
  • Overland the Americas presentation: “The Pan-American Highway”

More Outdoor Fun in Bend


Photo courtesy of DescendOnBend.com

Once all the chili’s been eaten, the whiskey’s been drunk, and the last song has been sung, spend a day or two after the Descend on Bend festival exploring all the outdoor recreation Deschutes County has to offer.

Bring your mountain bike and get ready to blast off some berms on one of the many mountain bike trails throughout the area. Or set up a line along the Deschutes River and try your hand at snagging some of the best salmon the country has to offer.

Hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, paragliding, and golf are also all on the table in and around Bend. And for overlanders itching to get a few runs in with their rig, you don’t have to go far to find a forested back road with your name on it.

Go Far With a Roofnest

At Roofnest, we’re long-time members of both the overlanding and van life community. Our hard-shell roof top tents are designed to fit onto any rig setup, so you can comfortably sleep under the stars wherever you park.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our Roofnest Ambassadors Karissa & Linhbergh slung a Sparrow Eye on top of their Mitsubishi Montero and have been blazing trails all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Follow their adventures and see where overlanding with a Roofnest could take you »

August National Park Highlight: Zion National Park

Happy August, Flock! We’re back again this month highlighting another National Park, and this time it’s Zion! Zion National Park is located southwest Utah, 4 hours south of Salt Lake City. If you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, start planning your trip ASAP! The park is settled on the intersection of three unique geographic areas: the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert.

Camping in the Park

The park is home to three campgrounds: Watchman, South, and Lava Point. Watchman and South campgrounds are located within Zion Canyon on the south entrance to the park, and Lava Point campground is about an hour drive through the canyon. Camping is strictly enforced inside the park and is only allowed in the designated campgrounds. According to park services, these campgrounds tend to be full almost every night from mid-March through November. There are 243 campsites available for single use in the South and Watchman campgrounds. Lava Point is only open from May through September, weather permitted. It has six primitive campsites that are available on a first come first serve basis. If you’re really looking to get off the grid during your stay permits for overnight backpack camping are also available.

Park Activities

Zion National Park has no shortage of exciting adventures. The park is a popular climbing destination that provides single and multi-pitch routes ranging from ratings of 5.6 to 5.12c. If climbing isn’t your thing, this park is also home to plenty of hikes for all adventurers to enjoy. A popular trail for beginners and families is the Canyon Overlook Trail, located right at the entrance to the Mt. Carmel tunnel. This hike is the one you’ll want to take for the ‘gram! Only a mile round trip and 213ft in elevation gain, this trail will lead you through a natural cave and out to an overlook of Zion Canyon. There are also guided horseback rides, river trips, and open mountain bike trails for those looking for a different kind of park experience.

Wildlife

Zion is home to a vast array of wildlife. The park is home to 78 species of mammals, almost 300 species of birds, and 37 species of reptiles and amphibians. While in the park, you are likely to see some mule deer, wild turkey, and rattlesnakes- but remember to keep a safe distance and not to disturb or interfere with wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a special treat in Zion- the protected Mexican Spotted Owl, Mojave Desert Tortoises, and California Condors. 

So there you have it, Flock! Our quick guide to Zion National Park. Make sure to remember to reserve a campsite before heading out, and enjoy every square inch of the 147,551 acres you’re able to experience. And, don’t forget to tag @Roofnest on Instagram so we can follow along on your adventure! Happy camping!

2019 Summer Bike Races Across Colorado

Image courtesy of Kim Heintz

Mountain and road bikers from around the world spend much of the year eagerly awaiting Colorado’s bike-racing season. From the sweeping mountain views to the thin air and high altitudes, Colorado bike races offer no shortage of bragging rights for cyclists from all corners of the globe.

At Roofnest, we’d go through our entire summer on top of our bikes if we could. But we’ve found this makes grocery shopping and going to the bathroom pretty tricky.

Lucky for us, summer in Colorado means there are endless biking events across the state to satisfy our appetite.

Many of Colorado’s road and mountain bike races appeal to serious competitors looking to go head-to-head with heart-pumping, high-altitude mountain terrain — and the following list is no exception. But whether you place or not, you’ll reap the rewards of breath-taking scenery, sweet mountain air, and the cheer of the crowd at the finish line. Not to mention all the local Colorado brews that await you at the finish.

Here are 5 Colorado bike races to get geared up and ready for this summer.

Stages Cycling Leadville Stage Race

What: Mountain Bike Race
When: July 26-28, 2019
Start and Finish: Leadville, Colorado


Image courtesy of leadvilleraceseries.com

Gravel, dirt, altitude, and grit: The Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB is infamous for its long, tough climbs and high altitudes. Set amongst the dramatic Rocky Mountains, this 100-mile out-and-back course follows the historic Leadville Trail and is spread over three adrenaline-filled days:

Stage 1 is 40 miles and begins at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds and finishes at Twin Lakes Dam (set at 9,200 feet).

Stage 2 is 20 miles and begins at Twin Lakes Dam, with a climb up to Columbine Mine (12,424 feet) and descent back down the mountain.

Stage 3 is 40 miles and begins at Twin Lakes Dam and finishes at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds, where a well-deserved celebration awaits.

Regardless of how you place, all riders get the chance to win daily prizes and receive some high-quality swag for giving it a shot.

Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb


Image courtesy of bicyclerace.com

What: Road Bike Race
When: July 27, 2019
Start and Finish: Idaho Springs to the Mount Evans summit

Remember earlier when we mentioned bragging rights? When you compete in the Mount Evans Hill Climb, you’ll be able to tell your friends you rode on the highest paved road in North America.

Cyclists in this notoriously challenging course will race up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, climbing more than 7,000 feet in elevation in just under 30 miles. Once at the top of Mount Evans, you can catch your breath while taking in the views of the Continental Divide from Colorado’s 14th tallest peak at 14,26 feet.

As if that’s not enough, you’ll also be riding in the tire-marks of the acclaimed Bob Cook, member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic cycling team and six-time winner of the race before he passed away at only 23 years old. Proceeds of the race go to local non-profits and support the race’s mission to get more people on bikes around the world.

Copper Triangle

What: Road Bike Race
When: August 3, 2019
Start and Finish: Copper Mountain Resort


Although you won’t find a precious metal at the end of this classic Colorado road bike race, the gorgeous views you’ll take in during this 79-mile loop will be worth more than gold.

Get geared up and ready to take on three mountain passes with a total elevation gain of 6,500 feet, each with their own timed section. Did we mention you’ll already be starting at 10,000 feet?

Riders will crest Fremont Pass at 11,318 feet, Tennessee Pass at 10,424 feet, and Vail Pass at 10,662 feet. And once you descend back into Copper Mountain resort and cross the finish line, you’ll be treated to live music, food, drinks, and even a few carnival rides for those party animals who still have some energy to spend.

Stonewall Century Ride

What: Road Bike Race
When: August 10, 2019
Start and Finish: La Veta, Colorado

La Veta is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away in Southern Colorado, this charming mountain town is nestled amongst green pastures and flanked by the dramatic Spanish Peaks nearby.

But during the Stonewall Century, you won’t be coddled by a leisurely pastoral course. The route follows Highway 12, a Colorado Scenic Byway known as the “Highway of Legends”.

From the starting line in La Veta at 7,013 ft, you’ll climb to the top of Cucharas Pass (9,945 ft), descend to 8,400 ft, then climb again up to North Lake (8,600 ft). From here you’ll drop down into the quaint town of Stonewall and rest for lunch nearby in Segundo.

On the way back, you’ll take on the back side of Cucharas Pass, which some have called the “Soul Crusher”, looming ahead of riders at 83 miles into the 102-mile ride. For the last mile competitors will need to dig deep to keep speed at a 10% grade.

At last, you’ll enjoy the 17-mile descent back into La Veta, where BBQ, beer, and massage tables await you.

Colorado Classic

What: Road Bike Race
When: August 22-25, 2019
Start and Finish: Steamboat Springs to Denver

As if the Colorado Classic wasn’t iconic enough, this year the event breaks ground as the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere. With more challenging routes, longer race distances, and better start times for women than ever before, the goal of this year’s event is to inspire women, challenge and redefine female professional cycling, and empower women of all ages to break the mold.

Broken into four stages, this four-day course spans the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains and streets of Denver, offering riders and spectators a dynamic snapshot of the state’s many attractions.

Stage 1 kicks off on August 22 in Steamboat Springs (6,695 ft). Riders will jump straight into the thick of it on a challenging route that winds through the Rocky Mountains.

Stage 2 is on August 23 in Avon (7,431 ft), a small mountain town just 8 miles west of Vail.

Stage 3 will be on August 24 in Golden (5,675 ft), where riders will get a taste of Old West charm and go head-to-head with winding foothill passes.

Stage 4 will start and end in Denver, the infamous Mile-High City (that’s 5,280 feet, as all locals know!) Riders will fly past the city’s iconic spots like 17th Street, City Park and Coors Field, ending the four-day affair with food, music, and exhibitors.

Hit the Trail Quicker

Whether you love screaming down a rugged trail on your mountain bike or racking up the miles on your road bike, every cyclist lives for tearing out of work on Friday afternoon and kicking off the weekend at their favorite biking spot.

Roofnest founder Tim Nickles is no exception. He’s spent nearly his entire life on a mountain bike, so it’s no wonder he’s always looking for ways to make getting outside faster and easier.

That’s where our newest Roofnest Falcon comes in. This cutting-edge model in hardshell roof top tents is specifically designed with bikers and other gear-heads in mind.

The Falcon features a set of optional crossbars that can be added to carry bikes, kayaks, skis, and any of your other favorite outdoor gear. That means when 5 o’clock rolls around, you can hit the road with all your gear in tow and a comfortable, durable place to sleep neatly packed on top of your car.

Explore the Roofnest Falcon before you head off on your next biking adventure »

Your Safety Guide to Roofnesting with Kids

When it comes to planning a family camp trip, there’s nothing like skipping the slog of gathering all your camping gear before hitting the open road. A rooftop tent gives your family the freedom to throw your hiking boots and s’mores gear in the back of the car and take off, assured that your weekend won’t be ruined because someone forgot the tent poles again.

One of the main benefits of your Roofnest is the ability to camp anywhere your car can take you, and to have your tent set up in seconds. And with almost all our models you can store your bedding right in your Roofnest, so you don’t even have to worry about designating one unlucky kid to set up the sleeping bags.

At the core of every Roofnest design is comfort, durability, and safety. A hard-shell rooftop tent protects you and your family from the elements like rainstorms, wind, and hail. It also protects you from discomforts like sleeping on particularly cold or bumpy ground.

And don’t forget the incredible panoramic views your Rooftop provides.

But sleeping off the ground comes does come with a few extra safety considerations, especially when camping with kiddos.

Just like learning to ride a bike or chopping veggies with a sharp knife, our kids need our guidance to safely try new things. The same goes for using a Roofnest ladder to climb in and out of the tent, and staying safe and secure once inside.

From securing and using your tent’s ladder to using safe lighting and trash storage strategies, here’s your safety guide to Roofnesting with your kids.

Secure the Ladder

First things first: Whether you’re climbing up a ladder to grab the Christmas decorations out of the attic or to get into your Roofnest, always make sure your ladder is secured before you or your kids step on it.

All Roofnests are shipped with a sturdy and lightweight telescoping ladder for easy access into your tent from any angle. The ladder fits securely into the brackets below the doorways on all Roofnest tents.


Unsecure – this is the ladder before it has been attached to the hooks beneath the door of the tent.

Make sure the ladder hooks are secured on the brackets beneath the door of your tent. You’ll know the ladder is safely fastened when you hear a click, and the ladder doesn’t move from the brackets.


Secure – the ladder is securely fastened into the brackets beneath the door of the tent.

Even if the ladder is safely locked into your tent, it’s important to try and park on flat land so the base of the ladder is on flat, even ground. In case of rain, snow, or mud, make sure the rungs of the ladder are dry before your kids use it so their hands or feet don’t slip.

No matter what age, it’s wise to supervise your children when they go up and down the ladder. Teach your child to always maintain a 3-point contact on the ladder when climbing (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) and to always face the ladder while climbing.

If your child is younger than 9 or 10 years old, it’s smart to stand behind them as they use the ladder and support them with your hands in case they slip.

Secure All Doors and Windows

Whether your kids are hanging out and playing cards during the day or snuggling up to go to sleep at night, make sure they stay safe once they’re inside the Roofnest by fully zipping all the mesh windows closed. This is especially important with young children or infants, since the tent is elevated several feet off the ground.

If it’s warm out, you and your children can still enjoy a fresh breeze through the mesh windows when they’re zipped up and the doors are closed.

 

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Image courtesy of instagram.com/west_coast_nest/

Light the Way

Accidents are a lot more likely to occur when you can’t see what’s in front of you. Before you set out on your camp trip, be sure to always have a light source handy to help you and your kids safely move around in the dark.

This is especially important when you or your kids need to go up and down the ladder at night. We include a rechargeable LED light with your tent, which can be used as a night light for entering or exiting your Roofnest.

You’ll also want another flashlight to light the way for your children if they need to use the ladder to get in or out of the tent at night. Light the way for them so they don’t take their hands off the ladder to use the flashlight themselves while climbing up or down.


Image courtesy of instagram.com/_chrislsmith/

Store Your Trash Away

No matter what type of camping you’re doing, you never want to store your food or trash inside your tent at night. This goes for your Roofnest, too.

Anything with a strong smell may draw the attention of bears or other animals. Aside from food or garbage, bears and other animals can also be attracted by things like toothpaste, shampoo, soap, insect repellant, perfumes, deodorant, and other hygienic products.

When you’re tent camping on the ground at a site without trash services, it can be a smart strategy to store your trash and food in your locked car and park it far away from your tent. But in a Roofnest, the last thing you want on a family camp trip is for animals to come rooting around your car looking for treats.

Don’t leave any of these temptations in your tent, car, or around your campsite. Developed campgrounds are likely to provide clearly-marked garbage bins with staff who empty the bins regularly.

If you’re camping in an undeveloped campground or in the backcountry, you can hang up your garbage in a tree that’s far away from your tent, keeping it out of a bear’s reach. But because bears are excellent climbers, a “bear hang” for your trash needs to fit a few criteria to be effective.
Your trash should be hung between two trees and at least ten feet off the ground. It should also be four feet from the trunk of any tree, and a minimum of 100 feet from your tent.

We Bring the Outdoors Closer to Every Family

From instant setup to extra comfort and durability, Roofnests are designed to help your family get outdoors quickly and easily. With just a little guidance and a few safety tips from you, your kiddo will be a Roofnest pro in no time.


Image courtesy of Instagram/getlostvans

And in the blink of an eye, those children will be teens setting out on camp trips of their own. They’ll have you to thank for their love of the great outdoors, and for their smart and safe camping practices.

But once they have their own car, they may be asking to borrow the Roofnest. We’ll leave that challenge up to you to navigate.

Discover the camp trip destination every family needs to try once: Telluride, Colorado»