“Would you ever go camping in Gorpcore?”
A friend of mine recently asked me that question, and I have to admit — I felt a little ashamed to have no clue what she was talking about. After all, I’m known as the “camping queen” in my circle of friends, so to be out on a camping trend brought out all the imposter syndrome. That was, until… she showed me a picture of what Gorpcore was.
In case you haven’t seen this latest fashion trend, here is what could be coming to campgrounds near you soon:
Gorpcore is a street fashion trend that gets its name from a typical food source for campers, “Good ol’ raisins and peanuts.” It merges the outdoor aesthetic with high fashion creating a unique combination of luxury in the wild.
I have to admit, this video featuring the North Face X Gucci collaboration is compelling. While some hikers instantly cringe seeing Gorpcore as a rising fashion trend, I don’t. With that said, I do see a reason for taking a bit of caution.
For far too long, I’ve felt that the outdoor industry has put adventure in a box. You can either be a pro on the slopes, tackling Black Diamond slopes with no fear and speeding downhill on the mountain bike at top speeds, or you’re out. There’s no beautiful middle ground.
Judgment has laced campgrounds and trails, causing far too many people to shy away from getting outside to explore. Camping, in particular, has been one of those hot-button outdoor adventure types to receive this criticism, especially RV camping.
RVing isn’t *really* camping, is it?
While it’s true that there are plenty of creature comforts to camping in an RV, there are also plenty of beautiful elements. Being able to have a national park as your doorstep is one. Having the ability to go off-grid during frosty months with your family is another. But as soon as I tell some crowds of people that I love to camp and they hear I’m in an RV, there’s a certain side-eye look that makes me feel “less than.”
I’ve become immune to it now, but it wasn’t always that way. That less than feeling made me less than likely to explore for a certain amount of time because I didn’t feel I made the cut. I didn’t know enough. I wasn’t tough enough. I wouldn’t say I like the cold, so I wasn’t able to camp in the winter months enough.
Fast-forward to today and doing some serious mindset work around being “enough” in the outdoor space (there’s a huge metaphor around feeling like “enough” in the entrepreneurial space in here too), and I can give the same side eye back to those hardcore campers who believe it’s a tent, hammock, open-air or…nothing. I wholeheartedly disagree that there’s only one facet to this age-old recreational activity because I have experienced beauty I would never have experienced had I not been in an RV.
So where does Gorpcore come into this?
If Gorpcore serves to inspire people to get outside and explore a little deeper in the backwoods, pitch a tent when they otherwise might not have, and embrace the outdoors, then I’m all for it.
If Gorpcore cracks open the beauty of camping and invite others in who might not have always felt like this industry was for them, then I’m all for it.
If Gorpcore encourages even one more family to get outside and see the world from a new park, campground, or scenic viewpoint, then wear the North Face X Gucci jacket all you want. I won’t be giving you a side eye at the campground. I’ll probably be smiling at you, happy to be meeting a fellow camper, and making that new connection.
Because to me…connection is what camping is all about.
One argument in the article on Gorpcore, making a case against this fashion trend, was that it would bring more people to the trails and clog up the systems.
If you know me, you know that I’m an introvert/extrovert. I love meeting people and making connections, but I also love quiet time and space, especially at campgrounds. Considering that fact, you might assume I agree with the hiker, but that’s not the case. I love that more people will be exploring the great outdoors. And the possibility that more people getting outside will intrude in my/your/our space on the trail or campsite is the function of a lack mentality.
Where’s the abundance mindset?
In 2020, RVs flew off dealer lots. People jumped on the RV bandwagon because the pandemic had forced a new mode of travel. There was a lot of concern over overbooked campgrounds (and there still is), but those sold-out spots did two things:
Neither of those outcomes is bad. There are lots of places to explore. As soon as we limit who can explore there based on clothing preferences, we stop others from seeing the world and experiencing some of the earth’s greatest gifts — nature, wildlife, and unexpected adventures outdoors. Who are we to decide who gets to see this?
You probably assume I’m all for the Gorpcore fashion trend at campgrounds. But, with all that said, there is a grey area worth considering — you can’t simply fake it ‘til you make it with RVing. Too many hazards before, during, and after the camping experience can cause trouble on the road and at the campground if you’re not careful.
There is certainly room for a learning curve, but there’s no room for gross negligence. Going out to a campsite without at least one person in your party understanding how an RV works or the basic rules of engagement for being in the wilderness can cause serious problems. Litter gets left behind. Campfires don’t get properly extinguished. Campground rules aren’t followed. Fire pits and BLM land gets filled with trash. A lack of respect for being outdoors can lead to a lack of care, which is problematic.
It’s not about worry that there will be MORE people. It’s a worry that trends, like Gorpcore, will lead to a general misfocus on what matters when you go outside — caring for the environment and others over what you’re wearing.
Probably not anytime soon, but that’s not because I’m against this trend. I’m all for it if it inspires others to get outside who might not have felt like the outdoor adventures were accessible to them before. However, I hope this fashion encourages people to not only get outside but also respect what it means to be outdoors and camping.