Snow Peak: Japanese outdoors firm opens 1st U.S. 'Campfield' in Long Beach

 

Snow Peak, purveyor of Japanese-designed, “heirloom quality” camping gear and apparel, recently opened Campfield Long Beach. It is the famed company’s first Campfield in the U.S.

“The site was chosen after years of careful searching,” says Campfield general manager Josh Simpson. “The Snow Peak board immediately fell in love with this area and purchased the unique Wildwood Park location as soon as possible after visiting it.” In the nearly four years since, Snow Peak has partnered with numerous local and regional contractors and public officials to transform Campfield Long Beach into a unique site that manifests Snow Peak CEO Tohru Yamai’s desire to create spaces and products that enable customers to have “memorable outdoor experiences that restore the human spirit.” “The Snow Peak board immediately fell in love with this area and purchased the unique Wildwood Park location as soon as possible after visiting it.” said Josh Simpson, Campfield general manager. Snow Peak began development of Campfield Long Beach by working to reverse past wetland damage as well as prevent future wetland damage. Seven trees were planted for every one that had to be removed. Local architects Erik Fagerland and his son, Scott, were the lead architects. They created designs complementary with Snow Peak’s values and aesthetics for Campfield Long Beach’s Gate House, Campstore and Ofuro (Spa) buildings. Interior design firm North 45 was hired to create soothing and welcoming interiors intended to create “a rich guest experience.” Inclusion of Nakamoto Forestry products adds naturally nuanced grandeur to the exquisite designs of the Campfield Long Beach’s brand-new buildings. Use of “temple grade” cypress in the Campfield’s Sauna is a particularly stunning feature. Though new, the exteriors of these buildings meld into the landscape as if they were always meant to be there. EFA builders, Ford Electric, Helligso Construction, Lindstrom and Sons Construction, Sue Svendsen — now the mayor of Long Beach — the Pacific County government and the City of Long Beach worked with Snow Peak to transform the site to better express the company’s vision and ever-evolving brand. Through the efforts of many skilled individuals, 30 acres of what was once highly developed property is now a rustic and restorative environment intended to subtly welcome all to experience joy and peace in nature-inspired settings. Campfield Long Beach is nearing completion on its Jyubako Suites — serene micro cabins — and the Ofuro Spa, a Japanese-style restorative heated soaking pool, sauna and cold plunge pool set in an indoor-outdoor building overlooking a pond. Though Snow Peak campers receive first priority when it comes to booking the Ofuro, it will also be available to the general public. Once the Jyubako Suites and Ofuro Spa are fully operational, Campfield Long Beach will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The Campfield employs 15-20 people, all of whom will be hired from the local community. Long Beach Campfield expects to have 20,000 to 25,000 camper and non-camper visits within its first year.

‘Car-free’ camping

Currently, campers can book Field Sites and Tent Suites from the Campfield Thursdays through Sundays. Camping at Campfield Long Beach is intended to be part of a thoughtfully curated experience. Camping sites and facilities are only accessible by foot. All vehicles are left in the parking lot, and hand carts are provided for transport of gear to camping sites.

“Car-free” camping is intentional, and meant to foster connections between humans and nature. Throughout the Campfield, guests walk on elevated boardwalk trails, surrounded by mature trees, a creek, a lake and wildlife, to their camping and relaxation destinations. The pedestrian nature of the Campfield setting diminishes the effects of shrieking car alarms and piercing headlights that sometimes shatter tranquility at more traditional campsites. Walking to tent sites, the store, community spaces and café, rather than driving to them, makes it easier for campers to engage with other guests and with nature. At this time, there are two styles of camping available at Campfield Long Beach. You can bring your own gear and opt for an Open Tent Site, most of which are spread across a grassy field, fostering human connection and offering a full view of the night’s sky. Snow Peak provides for guests’ use a complimentary pack-and-carry fireplace, single action table and folding chairs. Also available are Tent Suites, a fully-kitted Snow Peak campsite set up by Campfield staff. These include a sheltered sleeping area, full camp kitchen and dining space. Jyubako Suites, designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will soon be available and will feature a queen-sized bed, kitchenette and private bathroom. Beyond offering first-rate sites, grounds and facilities, Snow Peak’s Long Beach Campfield will encourage guests to gather at various live music events, on-site ecological programming and, during Takibi Time, a communal campfire gathering that happens every Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the Campstore.

Community hub

The Campstore is intended to be the hub of community at Campfield Long Beach. It is currently open noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The Campstore has a café, community spaces and a retail store. Snow Peak gear, various sundries, local specialty items and an assortment of libations, including coffee, beer and wines, are some of the offerings at the store. To allow customers to test gear in real-life situations, Snow Peak’s gear can be rented for demo, with demo costs applied to purchases.

The Campstore will be hosting its first community event on May 9. Campers and anyone from the community are invited to gather around its campfire from 6-8 p.m. while The Horsenecks play some tunes. The event will be free and open to all ages. The Campstore’s first Night Market, featuring local food and craft vendors as well as musical entertainment, is planned for July 18. Locals and campers are welcome to attend the event. It is expected to be the first of many Campfield Night Markets. Snow Peak established its presence in the USA in 1999 doing wholesale distribution out of a garage in Gresham, Oregon. In 2015, Snow Peak opened its first American retail store in the Soho district of Manhattan. It subsequently relocated to Brooklyn in 2022. Snow Peak USA’s flagship store, headquarters and Takibi restaurant are located on NW 23rd, in Portland. Snow Peak is currently remodeling its Takibi restaurant and expects it to re-open by the end of summer. Visitors are welcome to enjoy and appreciate the many different layers of Campfield Long Beach. It is a site that must be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated. Visiting periodically over the years will give campers and visitors an opportunity to see the space mature and blossom into an inspiring oasis of beauty and joy that feeds and feeds from its community.

Legacy of outdoors innovation

Campfield Long Beach is the latest of many bold and innovative steps taken in a long, steady journey that Snow Peak’s founder Yukio Yamai began in the late 1940’s. While acquiring the skills and experience which eventually made him widely recognized as an accomplished mountain climber, Yamai became dissatisfied with the climbing gear available. In response, Yamai spent years working with skilled metal craftsman in his hometown of Tsubame-Sanjo to create climbing and camping equipment that could satisfy his standards for performance and durability. In 1958, Yamai founded Yamai Shoten to design, produce and sell tools and climbing equipment. In 1963, Mr. Yamai’s company became known as Snow Peak. Snow Peak remains committed to its founder’s dedication to quality and durability by continuing to offer “lifetime-guaranteed outdoor goods” it describes as “heirloom in quality.”

In 1980, Mr. Yamai’s son, Tohru, began working for Snow Peak. Nearly two decades after he started working at Snow Peak and in response to customer feedback shared during Takibi Time (Campfire time), Tohru decided Snow Peak was not a company for wholesalers or retailers. Instead it should exist for the sole purpose of its customers’ happiness and satisfaction. Ultimately, Tohru Yamai led a complete reorganization of the company, prioritizing direct-to-consumer engagement first and foremost. In 2011 Snow Peak reached the ultimate peak in customer engagement when it opened its first Campfield in its home prefecture of Niigata, Japan. It has since opened five additional Campfields across Japan and one in Long Beach, Washington. Snow Peak plans to open additional Campfiellds internationally and in Japan. It is, working with the Japanese government to open a Campfield in each of Japan’s 40 prefectures.

In 2014, Yukio Yamai’s granddaughter, Lisa Yamai, began her tenure at Snow Peak to lead the design and development of their first apparel line, “…with the outlook on creating functional and stylish clothing which intersects both urban use and outdoor life.” Says Lisa Yamai, “I started the apparel line in 2014 when there was no brand that designed outdoor performance-wear with a fashionable edge. I have been camping since my childhood and love being outdoors and with nature. I wanted to create clothes that I could wear both camping and in the city, day-to-day.” Snow Peak currently has a retail presence in Japan, U.K, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to the U.S.

 

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