2019 Mountain Rendezvous

Nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest is Camp Tahquitz, home of the American Adventurist Mountain Rendezvous.  Here in a small hollow surrounded by towering pines, our community gathers each September for a long weekend of camping, community, and enjoying spending time outside in the mountains.  Starting on Thursday, members are free to arrive when they want and be as active or relaxed over the next few days as they feel like.  That’s the beauty of our community events – we’ve got stuff on the schedule, but what you participate in is up to you.  Thursday afternoon saw a rain shower that cooled us off and left the forest damp, which would set the stage for a weekend of near perfect weather.  By the time the stars were out on Thursday night, folks were busy enjoying each other’s company at various campsites, and you could tell from the animated conversations that all were having a good time.

Many attendees are still showing up late into Friday, and so the day has a more relaxed schedule.  Kids are issued lists for the scavenger hunt, and they set off in search of all kinds of items.  This year’s shopping list had some items on it that couldn’t be found in camp, and the staff was impressed with the resourcefulness of the kids who put the work in to go find everything on the list.  After closing registration for the day, the staff got together with the crew from Tembo Tusk to cook up burgers and hotdogs for the evening’s BBQ Social.  A serious thank you goes out to Tembo Tusk for hosting this BBQ and feeding all these hungry Adventurists!

Saturday is when things really get going at Mountain Rendezvous – from trail runs to classes, and the world-class cooking competition, there’s something going on for everyone.  Michelle from Leitner Designs, offered to lead a trail run up gold mountain, and a number of rigs lined up to get in on the action.  By mid-morning, our first class of the day was kicking off with Drew at Falken Tire putting on a very informative class on tire tech.  He did an outstanding job talking about the intricacies of tire design and how they affect performance, which impacts the age-old question of “what’s the best tire for me?” The class concluded with a very important, yet most often overlooked exercise on how to use your vehicle’s weight to determine the correct tire pressure you should be running.  Overall, he did a great job turning complex tire-geekery into fun information that benefited everyone.  Thanks Drew, and Falken Tire for your support!

Our next class was on Improvised Medicine taught by Dr. Jo Feldman and her research fellow Tiffany.  This class was an awesome experience that taught attendees how to work with the things you have on hand to improvise all sorts of splints and other interventions to stabilize and manage injuries in a wilderness setting.  The course was very hands-on as Dr. Jo and Tiffany would instruct on how to treat a given issue, and then they would have the class work with the gear provided to manage injuries.  It was awesome to see kids working on their parents and vice-versa, and highlights a great point in that if you get hurt, does your family know how to help you out?  Dr. Jo and Tiffany did a great job teaching, and we really appreciate them coming out to share their knowledge with us!

With the courses concluded for the day, folks headed back to their respective camps to work on their entries for a Rendezvous tradition – the Camp Cooking Competition.  Members who attend our Rendezvous events know how to make some very good food in camp, and I’m continually impressed by the creativeness and quality of what folks can do in the forest.  Our cooking competitors could shame any Iron Chef TV show, both in quality and originality.  This year they created all kinds of dishes from scratch right in camp, from Reuben sandwiches, to chili verde.  By the time everything was lined up for judging, our entrants had covered several picnic tables with their awesome cooking.  This allowed everyone to pile their plates high and sample everything prior to casting their votes for their favorite dishes.  LT Wright Knives sponsored the cooking competition at this year’s Mountain Rendezvous, providing awesome prizes to the top three dishes by community vote.  With the competition concluded, folks gather around our giant fire ring to enjoy a campfire, good company, and another great evening in the billion-star hotel.

Sunday is the last day of the event, and the big order of the day is to give away a literal mountain of gear provided by the awesome sponsors and partners that support American Adventurist and our Rendezvous events.  American Adventurist as a community is very fortunate to have the support of so many awesome companies – and we’re really thankful for that support over the last nine years.  Attendees get a raffle ticket at check in, and an extra ticket for participating in events like the Camp Cooking Competition, so the odds are very good for actually winning something.  With the raffle concluded, folks pack up their campsites and depart for home or other adventures.

Like all American Adventurist events, Mountain Rendezvous gives back to the community, and this year we raised over $2K for the Scouts at Camp Tahquitz. Our events are a great use of a weekend – whether you want to take advantage of everything that’s offered from trail runs to classes, or just kick back and enjoy a relaxing weekend with good people, you can make your Rendezvous weekend anything you want it to be and that’s what’s awesome.  By showing up, you’re supporting the local community, and you’ll have the opportunity to take some awesome classes, eat some excellent food, and enjoy good people around a campfire and have a real chance at winning some great gear from some of the best companies in the overland industry.  Keep an eye on the forums for information on our events for 2020.  Rumor has it that we’ll be moving our Desert Rendezvous to a new, remote location, and we’re excited to share more information about that in the coming months!

A BIG thank you to all of the people and companies who make Mountain Rendezvous possible.  To Tembo Tusk, our BBQ social sponsor.  To Drew from Falken and Dr. Jo and Tiffany, our instructors for our classes.  To LT Wright Knives for sponsoring the cooking competition.  To Leitner Designs for leading a trail run, and to all of the awesome companies that supported our event. And of course, many thanks to Camp Tahquitz and the Long Beach Council for letting use their outstanding location again.  Special thanks to Greg Richardson for all of the awesome event photos!

Please support the following companies that support you and TREAD LIGHTLY! out there – see you on the trail!



Warbonnet Outdoors

Tembo Tusk









Promethus Design Works

Princeton Tec

Outland Living

Off The Grid

MoJoe Outfitters


LT Wright

Leitner Designs

JRs Knives

Goose Gear

Fun Treks

Front Runner


Factor 55



Deadman Off-Road

Colby Valve

2018 SoCal Mountain Rendezvous

2018 SoCal Desert Rendezvous

Thursday, Day 01:

Our day started with the American Adventurist team already on-site and prepping for the slew of members to arrive for check-in at our 8th Annual SoCal Mountain Rendezvous. We’d arrived a around 3:00pm after loading up and making logistics stops along the way. Traffic was light, the weather was very pleasant but warm, and we finally arrived to Camp Tahquitz with not a cloud in the sky. The entire team was there at the check-in station, along with our founder, Dave Bennett, who had flown in from the Midwest the day before to see everyone. We got our camp setup and joined the team already on duty. It was a day to unwind and get into the Rendezvous mindset!

Friday, Day 02:

It was a wonderful morning as the sun began to rise and shine between the many trees throughout Camp Tahquitz. The camp slowly began to come to life as breakfast was being prepared and cooked, and others were preparing for the day’s activities to come.


After having breakfast and coffee, the check-in station reopened and we began to gather the members who were interested in a trail-run to the Holcomb Creek Trail led by Falken Tires. Brandon and Don of Falken Tire gave the drivers meeting and safety brief before they saddled up and hit the road.  We had people coming from as far away as the east coast for the Rendezvous again this year, so we manned the check-in area as members and vendors alike began filtering in throughout the morning.




At 11:00am, a first-aid class was hosted by Dave Bennett. A great turnout from our members to soak in the knowledge from his many years of Navy medicine and real world field experience with the Marines.  Staff member Stuart also advised on information regarding CPR with his 25 years of EMT experience.



The rest of the day on Friday was left to relaxing and socializing, saying hi to old friends, and meeting new ones. At 5:00pm, a social hour was hosted by Goose Gear. One hundred and fifty burgers and hotdogs were cooked up for everyone to come and eat around the main fire pit. All the folks in camp from all corners came down to enjoy the delicious food. Thanks Goose Gear for providing a ton of food for everyone to eat!



As everyone lounged about the fire pit, the group that had left this morning on their trail run finally began to arrive at home base with the guys from Falken Tire. During the afternoon, we had comms that they had encountered a broken down Jeep YJ that had a broken belt. After a little bit, it was decided to send our good friend Tim out on a mission to pickup a fan belt and deliver it to them on his KTM motorcycle. Unfortunately comms were very spotty, but it turns out that the shop had already sent someone out to meet the stranded Jeep and Tim’s rescue wasn’t needed. He had returned after raising Brandon and getting the update. Brandon and Don literally returned to camp as the remaining “campfire” loungers were about ready to head to bed. They had a long day and long night and also decided to turn in as well. Friday had been a very eventful day.



Saturday, Day 03

Another clear and crisp morning greeted us as we all awoke from our nights’ slumber on Saturday morning. Today’s event schedule consisted of a Gear Science class hosted by Adam from Step 22 Gear, and a Recovery 202 Class hosted by I4WDTA Certified Trainer Dave Bennett with help from Deadman Offroad.  A Scavenger Hunt for the kids was also hosted by American Adventurist which had the kids running all over the place looking for items and key people. Saturday evening would bring the main event: the Potluck Dinner and Camp Cooking Competition, which gets bigger and better every year.



Step 22 Gear began their Gear Science class at 11:00am. Adam gave us a rundown on how to properly choose recovery gear, what the materials are really meant for, and what the differences are. He shared lot of great information we all should know, and made it easy to understand the mysteries and importance of things like working load limits, safety factors and independent testing. Thanks again Adam for taking the time to teach the class!



After a lunch break, it was I4WDTA Certified Trainer Dave Bennett and Deadman Offroad to host the Recovery 202 class. This was an advanced class which built upon the basics of recovery that most of us should know. The idea of this class was to simulate clearing a blocked trail by moving a large log via a 9,500 lb winch. A layout was made using a tree strap and single pulley block to redirect a VERY large log 180 degrees from where it lay to it’s new position out of the way. Careful consideration was given to the approximate weight of the deadfall (6K lbs), the rating of all gear used, and also the weight of the vehicle doing the winching.  A great instruction of what to do, and what not to do in regards to winching skills and setting up the lines properly. Safety is always number one!



After a successful and educational afternoon, it was business as usual in camp, with the days’ schedule left up to you. That’s a Rendezvous tradition after all – do as much, or as little, as you like!



Meanwhile, the younger Adventurists had a fun event coming up, the American Adventurist Kids Scavenger Hunt. An awesome prize was given out to each participant for finding the listed items on their hunt. Every year is always a different prize! The kids had a blast with the hunt and even more fun using their prize at night fall.



As the afternoon wore on, preparations began in earnest for the Potluck Dinner and Camp Cooking Competition. Participants had been planning their meals for this main event for months, and now it was show time. The issue of open flame and heat is always a concern given the fire restrictions in the San Bernardino National Forest in the latter days of summer. Unfortunately, the winds had picked up so charcoal was a no-go this year.  Luckily the participants weren’t strictly limited to Dutch Oven cooking and they had arrived well prepared with a variety of camp cooking tools at their disposal. Our members are truly the Kings of Camp Cooking!



At 6:00pm, the tables were filled with dishes of all kinds, from main dishes to sides and desserts. It was awesome to see how many different dishes there were. Not only the variety, but mostly just because of how many of you participated in this event, which included both contestants, and also the Adventurists who contributed to the Potluck. A huge thank you to everyone who brought a dish to the table. Team efforts like this are what American Adventurist is all about!


An AMAZING variety of dishes, and quite delicious all around! Congratulations to the winners of the Potluck Dinner and Cook-off Competition!

In Third Place:


In Second Place:


In First Place:


A big thank you tour friends at Tembo Tusk for sponsoring the Camp Cooking Competition, but more importantly, a massive thank you to everyone who participated in this delicious event!

With full belly’s and smiling faces, we all kicked back and enjoyed the rest of Saturday night, sitting around our faux campfire lanterns. The night sky this entire weekend was so clear, no moon and a flooded with stars. A perfect clear night.



Sunday, Day 04

Sunday was a nice and leisurely morning as everyone was readying up for the huge raffle. After everyone gathered around the main fire pit, Brent Haywood Photography rallied everyone together for the always happening Rendezvous group photo. Thanks Brent for coordinating the photo!


With the photos taken and everyone settled in around the main pit, everyone was ready for the raffle. This part of the event cannot be successful without the endless list of devoted sponsors who continue to donate items to the raffle to help support American Adventurist with our cause and purpose.

We want to give all our sponsors a huge THANK YOU!



With the Sunday afternoon approaching, everyone returned back to their campsites to pack, clean up and head home. The staff stayed behind to wrap up, debrief and say our goodbyes to everyone who attended this always great Rendezvous event at Camp Tahquitz in the mountains of Southern California.

At our Mountain Rendezvous we raised over $3,300 to help support Camp Tahquitz and the Scouts at this event. Another BIG thank you to all our donating sponsors, and of course, to every member of American Adventurist for continuing this annual tradition. Until our next Rendezvous event!