Meet the Randall family from Santa Cruz: Matt, Andrea, Brady, and Charley
Matt and I got married in 2008 and celebrated with a “road trip honeymoon” to Colorado. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to see all fifty states, so when our second son was born, we started venturing around the country every summer, always coming home with cherished memories, good stories to tell, and some new states to check off the map. Our family goes camping locally a couple times a year, but our summer road trips have always been hotel-style… that is, until we got our Tepui! Now we are free to wander off the beaten path; connecting with nature and strengthening our family bond in our home-away-from-home above the truck bed.
We took our Tepui to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming this year, bringing our total up to thirty-three states. We spent our days hiking, biking, exploring, fishing, swimming in rivers and lakes, and brewery-hopping to the eye-rolls of our children. Our nights always ended with that exciting (and nerve-racking) feeling you get when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep! We look forward to using our Tepui from now on, whether the trip is short or long, near or far. We even like to use it in our yard to gaze up at the redwood trees or catch a meteor shower. But I think the best place to set up will always be somewhere on undeveloped land; no picnic tables, no bathrooms, and not another soul in sight… just nature, as camping was meant to be. Now that we have a Tepui, we could never go back to a regular tent. Let the endless adventures continue…!
“This Tepui tent rocks. It absolutely rocks.” That’s what my eight-year-old son said as he was singlehandedly setting up our Tepui tent on a road trip through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Later that evening, on the Lochsa River off of Idaho’s Highway 12, he said to me, “Campsites are better than hotels.” It warmed my heart to know that my son felt the way I do.
I fell in love with our Tepui the moment I saw it on the table at the warehouse, and my family was on board as soon as I brought it home. Camping in a Tepui is a whole new world. The set up is quick and easy; so easy that our son can handle everything but the ladder. You feel safer when you’re off the ground; especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere -with not a soul in sight- or deep in grizzly country. The built-in mattress is clutch because we no longer have to bring pads, but the best part might be that you can leave your sleeping bags and pillows in the tent when you close it, which makes setting up or getting ready to head out a breeze.
The first time we took the fly off, my five-year-old son said, “I’m so stoked that we took off the fly. I’m so stoked that I love you. I’m so stoked that I am alive.” That night, with a full tent and a full heart, I watched our children sleep, listened to the river, and looked through the roof at a starry sky. I felt connected to nature and my family (and comforted by the bear spray and buck knife at my husband’s side, just in case).
Our Tepui took us to quite the variety of campsites this summer; a cement pad with homeless folks for neighbors, a turnout on the side of Highway 395, a riverfront hideaway in Idaho, a miles-from-nowhere lake that was shockingly packed with Boy Scouts, a reservoir with grassy campsites at the water’s edge, a primitive spot in the woods where we spotted a moose, and a KOA-style establishment, where I initially cringed, but was later thankful for a shower and the cool people we met. My definite favorite, however, was a secluded bluff surrounded by wildflowers, somewhere in the Flathead National Forest.
I feel like we’ve redefined ourselves as a family with this tent. It’s like we’ve got our house on our back and we’re ready for anything, anytime, anywhere. My husband and I love our Tepui, and most importantly, our kids love it, which creates the perfect recipe for some tasty adventures in this wonderful life.