Basecamp Journal was a made in the spirit of company slogan "Create Adventure." We speak with Whitney Schuettpelz, graphic designer at Feral Mountain Company, who helped design the adventure journal.



Your Adventure Needs A Canvas

Feral Mountain Company Started With The Simple Mission To Create Adventure, & Basecamp Journal Helps You Do This With Prefilled Pages for Documenting The Essentials

Water color painting inside the Basecamp of a destination visited by this journaler [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]

Sometimes it's nice to have a record of your favorite destinations. And not in an iPhone or picture, but something written and taken the time to think out and get a feel for the spot. Take, for example, the Beartracks Lake Trail on Mount Evans near Denver. This is about a 13 mile loop, going through meadows, creeks, and lakes at about a 2700 elevation change. "I like to map out my route ahead of time and map where I intend to camp," explains Whitney Schuettpelz, designer at Feral Mountain Company, "And for this trip through Beartracks I did the same and, as I go, I fill things in on my map - water here, break location here, and so on- it's a great way to document." She says that before she started journaling on hikes, it would drive her crazy because she would pass a great place to camp and say 'Wow let's remember that' and then come back a year later and she could not find it.

Schuettpelz started working for Feral Mountain Company about 5 months ago after a decade long career in architecture. “I wanted to realign what I enjoy about living in Colorado with what I really want to do and Feral is a great fit as their graphic designer,” she says.

The journal she uses now is the journal she helped create called the Basecamp Journal. The journal has some unique features that make it well worth one's time. The journal was a made in the spirit of the company’s slogan "Create Adventure." "It's everything that we do," explains Schuettpelz. "When we started talking about projects, Jimmy Funkhouser, the founder of Feral, and I talked about making a journal."

Basecamp Journal is an adventure journal including sites like National Parks to check off as you visit [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]
Writing can be peaceful and where better to do it than a peaceful outdoors [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]

Why wouldn't one go out and just buy a Moleskin? "We wanted to create something that guided or inspired adventurers," Schuettpelz explains, "And the first 20-25 pages are inspirational." There are checklists for national parks, adventure activities materials list, highest points in all states, and other lists for enjoyment. After the inspiration pages, there is plenty of pages to "draw, paint, sketch and write," she says.

The journal was carefully created by the team of 6 at Feral Mountain Company, one of the few independent outdoor recreation companies in Denver. “It is totally American made, many parts of it come from Colorado,” explains Schuettpelz. The paper is 100 pound stock paper and the leather covers are hand selected by Schuettpelz and Jimmy Funkhouser to “find hides that had lots of scars that tell their own story.” The leather cover is handmade and designed by a Feral Ambassador.

As for the process of making the journal, it really was a group effort. “I was the lead designer and Jimmy is the idea guy - he cooks up all this crazy stuff,” she laughs, “Another guy, Joe, does the videography and our other employees were the guinea pigs.” They sent prototypes out to many different people - some who write, draw, even paint. “We sent it to a girl who does watercolor and she just loved it,” Schuettpelz says. A particularly fine point on the journal is that it uses a Symth Sewn binding. Smyth Sewn binding is very time consuming, but the best possible bookbinding for journals because the journals lay flat. This means, “You don’t have to use your elbow to write,” Schuettpelz says. After they had a prototype, they took the project to Indiegogo and quickly raised their $10,000 goal to get the project going.

The finished product from water color painter sketching a mountain side [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]
Reflecting in the wild with the Bascamp Journal in hand [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]
Designing the exterior of the journal using Smyth Sewn binding [Photo Credit: Adventure Journal Photography]

An interesting question surrounding the journal is how to guide an adventure without taking control of it. “We say you are the author and hero of your own story,” explains Scheuttpelz, “So we wanted to make sure there is enough inspiration and prompts, but be flexible enough to be used in any way the person using it wants.” To do this, everyone of the team members at Feral took the journal and went out on adventures. They wanted to make sure the experience was authentic. 

Feral Mountain Company (feral meaning not domesticated or cultivated or in a wild state) started with the simple mission to “Create Adventure.” According to their manifesto, so to speak, it informs all their decisions. The company doesn't have corporate policies, drinks a lot of beer on Feral’s porch, and all really big decisions are made in consultation with the shop dog. Their ideas are an effort to nudge people towards adventure and create new experiences. They hope the Basecamp Journal will help do that.

Andrew Malo

A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Education, Andrew has taught for the past decade in Chicago, New Mexico, and Japan.  He  enjoys tinkering with trucks and motorcycles, woodworking, reading and computer programming. 

Feral Mountain Company

Make Sure To Check Out:

Feral Mountain Co., who cares deeply about the mountains that we explore. The company  commits 1% of all revenue to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, and you may occasionally hear them speak out on issues that affect the wild spaces of Colorado.

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