Big Agnes partners with and sponsors a number of non-profit organizations throughout the country. Not only are we proud to help people of all ages and abilities get out and #sleepinthedirt, we’re honored to work with some amazing people and groups doing inspiring things to help others. AndShesDopeToo is one of these organizations.
Here, CEO and Owner of ASDT, Jennifer Killian, shares from a personal perspective on behalf of ASDT why camping is so important to her, her family, and her company.
Big Agnes: What does it mean to you to be sponsored by Big Agnes?
ASDT: We have met a lot of outdoor gear companies being in this industry, but only few come close to the realness of the Big Agnes team. From day one we have felt and been treated like an extended family; we feel a real buy-in to what we are doing and why. Our level of confidence in Big Agnes has given us the voice to be transparent and honest in our partnership, which in turn helps us both achieve our goals and combined missions together–to get even more people outside. And when you have as large of base of women as we do, there is inevitably a very large portion of them who do not have the gear or knowhow to really get out and after it with us. Big Agnes has been vital, as we have been given all the resources truly necessary to make our events possible, and to supply top-quality gear to those women who need it to experience our Rendezvous and Retreats. We can honestly say that we feel we have found a sponsor that we can build with well into the big, bright future. The Big Agnes family has always had our back, and we will always have thiers. We are grateful to have them by our side!
Big Agnes: What and who inspire you to live the lifestyle you do?
ASDT: The reason why we started AndShesDopeToo was to build the community that I was searching for myself. A community of relatable women who wanted something more than screens and conversations that happened only indoors; conversations that had roofs hanging over their possibilities as well. I wanted to experience the outdoors with other women: women who were searching for a non-competitive group of friends to explore with, to travel with, and most importantly, to live with. The women who come to our Retreats and Rendezvous continue to inspire me each time I meet one of them. It’s beautiful to see women who have kids, sometimes grandkids, own businesses, are principals of schools, who are Dr.’s, educators and everything in between–come to adventure with us! They inspire me because I realize, everyone is going through something; every single one of us is experiencing life, and real life-changing moments. It’s the participants who keep the fire under me to want to make sure I take time for myself and make sure I continue to have these events for them to feel, learn and live.
Big Agnes: What current world issues are most important for you to raise awareness about and why?
ASDT: One of the many issues that we are big advocates of is the family. Time spent with family outside is the number one thing we have noticed to counteract the intense barrage of technology on all of us, and especially our children. We truly feel that technology dampens and suggests our humanity, whereas the movement in the outdoors with others heightens our humanity and frees it. We feel that we are in a time where the family is being divided more than ever by technology and all of its programed distractions. Children no longer want to play in the dirt and climb trees because they are too busy playing games and becoming systematically addicted to the routine of technology. The current state of the social climate around the globe is proof that people need time spent outdoors more than ever. As owners of an outdoor company, and parents of soon-to-be four kids, we see firsthand how this affects our children, and we are always looking for solutions to these issues. Big Agnes has helped us in more ways than just being a part of our business. We have gear to create memories and bring other kids with us when they have never slept in a tent, or maybe their parents are too busy to take them. We have always had the outdoors in our lives and teaching our kids the benefits of imagination, exploring, mudpies, and feeling the dirt between your toes, the sun on your back and the wind dance with your hair. We believe that the deepest connections happen where there are the least amount of distractions and agendas. We will always work to promote family ties and values, and that these values begin in the outdoors.
Big Agnes: What do you enjoy most about sleeping in the dirt?
ASDT: What I enjoy most about sleeping in the dirt is how each of your senses are heightened. Think about it–when you remove yourself from the city lights and noises of cars, you immediately become part of nature. You can breathe in so deeply and smell the many kinds of scents from the trees. You can smell the flowers and how clean the air is when you inhale. I love what I hear when I’m in the outdoors. I hear birds, and the wind as it moves through the trees, I hear the rushing water and how much alive nature is. We are so distracted with other world noise that taking a moment to be present in natural sounds can really bring so much joy. I love walking barefoot when I camp, to feel the mountain grass, and streams, to wiggle my toes and connect with the earth. It’s how it should be when we are outside. But, you can’t forget the taste of the outdoors…so many times I have tried to recreate my camping meals at home and I had to stop doing this because I was so frustrated why I couldn’t make those delicious meals in my own kitchen. When you’re away from the comforts of home, like running water, everything is heightened–the entire experience.
Big Agnes: What is your favorite piece of Big Agnes gear that you never adventure without?
ASDT: It’s hard to pick just one item. Each piece we own we use all the time. If I really did have to pick one, our sleeping bags that allow the sleeping pad to be tucked in is genius. I have always rolled off my pad since I move around at night. This system has changed my sleep quality tremendously, and I could never be without the Big Agnes sleep system. Taylor would also have to say that because of the Big Agnes sleeping bag/pad system he has never slept so well in the last 30 years that he’s been camping…ever! We also love the ultralight Copper Spur and Copper Hotel tents. Oh, but we just did Tahoe with 25 friends and the Tensleep tents were ridiculously accommodating…we call the vestibules the garage on those bad mamas!
Big Agnes: Where is your favorite place you’ve camped?
ASDT: I’ve been lucky to be able to camp in many different ecosystems, but my absolute favorite would be in the Sawtooth range at the Cramer Lakes. It honestly was the most magical place I have experienced. The biggest reason is because there weren’t a lot of people there and we had lakes and rivers to ourselves. It’s incredible when you can experience that and have views and a place to hear yourself think. The Sawtooth’s are a very magical place, the weather was perfect, the company and trip was definitely pretty high up there. The high deserts of Utah are always up there also. And, I will never forget the first time I slept in Costa Rica while hearing the waves crash next to us.
Big Agnes: Do you have a favorite, must-cook campfire dinner?
ASDT: When I’m car camping, I absolutely love the classic hobo dinner. I love it! The smell of veggies and meat and sauce all sizzling in the embers and opening the steam pocket of the foil–immediate mouth waterer!! When I’m backpacking I love having pancakes with fresh-fruit sauce and syrup. It starts your day with a full belly, and you want to lick up every last bit of that delicious fruity syrup!
Big Agnes: Any epic or memorable camp stories?
ASDT: I do have a few stories of first time backpacking–first time in a new range. All of those are pretty high up there. But it doesn’t compare to sharing my love for the outdoors with my kids. I love camping with my family. I like to get up early and walk around before they wake up. The mornings when you camp are gifts from heaven. The lighting, the birds and how the sun shines through the trees to make beams–it’s perfect. I love to watch them run around and play games that I used to play with my cousins. Seeing kids be kids and playing night games with flashlights and capture the flag; those memories are ones I will continue to cherish because those moments are times where it life iss pure joy. Until someone gets hurt and has a World War III meltdown from dropping their marshmallow in the fire, haha. But, it’s pretty incredible to share what we love so much with them, and to see their eyes light up when the stars come out while we just sit around the fire hearing it crackle. Kids keep us young.
Jennifer Killian shares how ASDT got started:
“There was such a need for a positive platform on Social Media that completely ditched the compare and compete. A place was needed where women could come and never feel incapable or below average. Not only do I run AndShesDopeToo full time with 3 kids and another on the way, I run this women-inspired platform with my husband, Taylor. Four years later, ASDT has grown into something we never imagined. Friendships and adventures have been created and experienced by so many women from around the world. ASDT has shaped itself into a place I am proud to call a sisterhood and home for so many. We encourage those to take a look into what our events offer. We saw a need for these rendezvous, but wanted to make sure they could be experienced by all and not just those who could afford these style of adventure weekends. AndShesDopeToo is for all women wanting to enjoy the outdoors, find confidence and experience a true community.”
Learn more about AndShesDopeToo and how you can get involved, HERE.