Laura Carlson

Current Camp Crew

Laura Carlson

How long have you been a part of Camp Crew and where have you worked?
I have been a part of Camp Crew for 3 seasons and I’m planning to work a 4th season. I have worked the Zion & Bryce trip, the Yellowstone & Tetons trip, and the Glacier National Park trip.

What has your experience been like as Camp Crew?
My experience as Camp Crew has been nothing but positive! It’s a perfect blend of the hardest work I’ve ever done and having the most fun I’ve ever had. I applied for Backroads with this position as my #1 choice and I know I made the right decision because the summers I’ve been a part of Camp Crew have been incredibly rewarding.

What are some of the highlights?
Every day on the job brings something different and special. One day you’re celebrating a guest’s birthday and their eyes light up when you bring out a candle lit cake you cooked on hot coals in a Dutch oven and the next day they’re beyond appreciative that you started a fire in the rain. Having time to explore while the guests are away, sleeping outside every night, and connecting with my co-camp crew and leaders on the trip are also special.

What is the hardest part of the job?
Being outdoors 24/7, the weather has a real impact on the job. I’ve been snowed on in Yellowstone and had some really windy/rainy days in Montana, but you just have to work through it! Almost every trip has some bump where you just have to come up with a creative solution, roll with it, and laugh about it later.

Give us a little description about what it looks like behind-the-scenes at the campgrounds.
On a normal day, before any guests wake up, Camp Crew has already started brewing coffee, prepped hot/cold breakfast, & started a fire if it’s chilly. If it’s a move day, we’ve started breaking down camp so we’re ready to take off for the next campground as soon as possible. After the guests have eaten, we tackle the dishes, do some dinner prep, and if we aren’t on a move day we tidy up camp and have some time to relax. As often as possible when there’s downtime I like to find a lake or river to jump in! Mid-day we may run to the store to grab some more trip food then start working on dinner. Right before the guests return to camp, we get an appetizer and cold drinks out. Grilling, chopping, stirring, sautéing, baking – it’s all happening at once but you’ve got the timing down and you & your co-camp crew carry the table full of delicious food out to guests and their jaws drop. After joining everyone for a quick bite, it’s right back to the trailer to brew decaffeinated coffee, prep dessert, & get dishes going. After dessert is served and the dishes are done, you may have some time to jump into a game of capture the flag with the kids or sit by the fire you so expertly built and chill with the adults. After the sun has gone down and everyone’s asleep, you check to make sure everything is put away, hang out with your fellow co-workers, and then finally fall fast asleep in your sleeping bag under the stars knowing you’ll do it all over again in the next day.

What skills have you gained during your time on Camp Crew?
How to cook…at all but especially outdoors with coals/Dutch ovens, hitching and driving a van and trailer, setting up camp gear quickly while making it look nice, anticipating guests’ needs before they even ask, how to work as a close-knit team, and, personally, how to be a leader amongst Camp Crew to help set others up for success.

Any advice for future Camp Crew?
Be proud and confident in working hard behind the scenes (it never goes unnoticed), make sure you have a watch, take care of yourself and your coworkers, and have fun doing whatever makes you happy on and off trip