Into the wild with Betty Jean

Bearded Camper

By the time Cameron Kinney was 18 he had already visited 25 countries, acquiring a taste for adventure and exploration that will never leave him. “It certainly shapes you as a person. I guess you either end up hating traveling or loving it – and I love it. When we were kids, my parents put a lot of effort into planning our vacations. And we didn’t just go abroad, we went all over the US in the family’s motorhome.”

Cameron grew up in southern California, but when the time came to get a degree, he journeyed to Utah and Brigham Young University ¬– where the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains provide a backdrop and a constant reminder of the wonders of nature. But he didn’t go alone. Love was in the mountain air, too, as Cameron headed east with his wife, Natasha, also a southern Californian. In fact, it was her idea that they both go to school in “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” as Utah is sometimes known. “Natasha is the most adventurous person I’ve ever met. She’s the one who inspires the rest of us to get out. I guess we’re a match made for the outdoors. We both love hiking, camping and exploring,” explains Cameron.

The Bearded Camper Dometic

Their travel companion is a 50-year-old trailer known as Betty Jean. “Betty Jean really proved herself one time when we were heading up to Jackson Hole,” Natasha recalls. “We were stuck in a blizzard and a six-hour drive ended up taking 14 hours. When we finally arrived, it was 4 o’clock in the morning, but we were up three hours later to hit the slopes. Thanks to the heavy snowfall, we enjoyed some of the best powder skiing of our lives. We spent the next four days living out of our camper in sub-zero temperatures. It was a trip to remember.”

Bearded caravan

To finance their yearning to explore, Cameron works as marketing manager at a coding bootcamp, while Natasha is a full-time mother to their son, Sterling. “We try to get out and explore new places as often as we can, which is about every other weekend at the moment. And we’ve got some overseas travel to look forward to – we’re going to New Zealand, which is awesome. Norway and Switzerland are on our wish list too. And we don’t see kids as a problem at all. We will continue to travel even with more kids, it’s what we love doing. I can picture us doing this until we’re too old and decrepit to carry on,” says Cameron with a big smile.

bearded family

Though they don’t all have beards, The Bearded Camper is the collective name given to the adventures Cameron, Natasha, Sterling and their two golden retrievers, Colby and Oakley, have enjoyed together as a family. “I reckon the dogs enjoy traveling as much as we do,” says Cameron.

Just because you’re on the road, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the comforts of home. “We love our Dometic fridge,” says Natasha. “It has been a game changer for us. Before, our food would become wet and nasty in a cooler full of melting ice. But now we can have ice cream on a hot day with no mess.”

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