Introducing the KAMP Crew

KAMP is an explorer boutique that caters to city dwellers (we try to imagine how all of this cool gear is going to fit in your apartment in-between adventures). We are also a true "mom and pop" shop in the sense that KAMP is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Jason and Mandi Gray. If you stop by in the evenings or on the weekends, you are likely to meet our two, wonderful boys too, Harper and Ellison. Because of how close this venture is to our family, we wanted to use this post to introduce ourselves to all of you. 

One of the most common responses that people have when we tell them about KAMP is, "You must camp all the time." While we do camp as often as we can (not nearly as much as we want to), we are by no means Mr. and Mrs. Bear Grylls- we have no special survival training, and we'd probably be just as likely to be eaten in a zombie apocalypse as you. That's sort of the point though, KAMP is not your usual outdoor store. We welcome all, and hang all judgments about your outdoor experience up at the door. The only special skill required is that you love getting outside.

We want to build a community that fosters exploration, and that encourages you on whatever adventures lie waiting in your heart and mind.  

Mom:

Mandi comes to KAMP from a career in Interior Design (check out her vision for the store when you're here). She is the savvy, fashionable side of the operation, and loves running and warm weather. Her boys are her life's focus and are a big part of her inspiration behind KAMP. Her favorite hikes were in Hawaii: the Pipiwai Trail on Maui for its bamboo forest and waterfalls, and the Kalalau Trail on Kauai for its raw beauty and challenge.

Pop:

A range of experiences drive Jason's interests toward KAMP. His background in photography has led him to work managing brand ambassadors for an adventure photography bag company, teach photography to individuals ranging from third grade to adults, and freelance work covering things like the hidden, subterranean environments of St. Louis. He is the Founder and Director of Photo Flood Saint Louis, a community for photographers that documents the city and its residents, neighborhood by neighborhood. His childhood home was just south of Cherokee Street, so the location of KAMP is a little sentimental. Jason's favorite hike was the hike to Charlie's Bunion, along the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During this hike, he had a fever and carried his camera pack and tired three-year-old on his back/shoulders, so it was a struggle that took way longer than it should have to complete, but is a reminder of pushing through a challenge.

The Boys:

Harper and Ellison are our two, precocious boys. Harper is five years old, but acts like one of the adults. He has transitioned over the years from being slightly nature-averse to loving camping,  hiking, and exploring (we are still working on Ellison, see our post on LOSP). Harper has developed an interest in photography, and usually carries his own point-and-shoot and video camera on family adventures. Ellison is 21 months old, and dances to any and all music. He has a special fondness for Moana, and as a result, you might hear this film softly playing from some distant recess of the store.