Sarah Knapp, the founder of Mappy Hour, invited me to chat about backpacking this week, and in about 20 minutes, I shared my top tips & tricks for planning a backpacking trip. You can watch the talk or check out my slides below, but be sure to catch my favorite winter camping hack, which could probably apply to all seasons and involves a Nutella jar (Hint: 32:06).

Drop me a comment if you have any other backpacking-related questions! I'd love to make the journey of planning a backpacking trip far easier than it is today.

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Yvonne channeling her inner child in June Lake. Photo taken by Michael Mayernick.

In February 2020, in the shadow of the pandemic, I launched the first version of Bewilder: a personalized outdoor planning service. As a solo founder, I spent a year planning all kinds of adventures, from car camping, multi-day backpacking, glamping to road trips. I learned everything I could about the outdoor industry and ultimately realized two things:

- Planning a camping trip in California still sucks.

Despite developing an extensive database of camper-approved campgrounds in the past year, the pandemic and state-wide wildfires made trip planning particularly complicated. Park conditions were continuously changing and there wasn't a one-stop shop for the latest information. The problem persists and it's a real barrier to getting more people outdoors. - Personalized planning is limited.

I started Bewilder to help more people fall in love with the outdoors, not a select few. The cost and culture of being a "personal camping concierge" also didn't sit well with me. While every Bewilder camper loved their trip, I deeply believe the outdoors should be affordable and accessible to all.


The view from a winter camping trip on Mount Shasta. Photo by Michael Mayernick.

So here we are. Last week, I nervously and excitedly relaunched Bewilder. I redesigned the website and put a weekly newsletter out into the world. Instead of planning personalized trips, I decided to design fun, one-of-a-kind itineraries and make them available for anyone, for free.

Thousands of people signed up within a matter of days. My heart is still reeling. I'm overjoyed to connect with a community of people who care and want to experience nature.

Bewilder is a baby of mine, but the mission has always been bigger than me. We have to reimagine outdoor recreation in California. Like so many other places, the tools and information we use to access the outdoors are outdated. Let's make it easier for people to realize what they're missing in nature. Bewilder is my attempt to rattle the status quo.

This wild ride is just beginning, but after driving solo for more than a year, I'm happy to have a growing community ride shotgun. Let's fly.

#Bewilder #California #Camping


TBD is our north star. Find Bewilder's behind-the-scene stories & lessons learned.