Have you heard of Descend on Bend? This popular van life gathering attracts hundreds of van lifers, vehicle dwellers, and campers each year. But what is it, where is it, and what is there to do?
From seminars to workshops to kids’ activities and more, we’ve got the full scoop here. Let’s check out Descend on Bend and see if it’s a trip worth taking for you this year.
What Is Descend on Bend?
Descend on Bend is an annual four-day gathering for van lifers, overlanders, and other vehicle dwellers and enthusiasts outside of Bend, Ore. The event typically runs over Labor Day weekend in September.
Their Facebook page says that “Descend on Bend is an annual gathering of like-minded, life-loving folk. We gather to celebrate all things outdoors. All are welcome.” This gathering has taken place for many years and grows in popularity and attendance every year.
When Did Descend on Bend Start?
Descend on Bend started in 2014 and had just under 20 vans in attendance. In the years since, the event has grown to a massive scale of hundreds of campervan owners, vehicle dwellers, overlanders, Skoolie owners, RVers, and more.
From 2014 to 2015, event attendance grew exponentially. From just under 20 rigs to well over 100, this event is still ballooning in attendance year after year.
Where Is It Held?
Descend on Bend is held at a private free camp area in La Pine, Ore. The event uses private land via La Pine RV park, Outback Station. All vehicle types can access this area easily; no 4×4 required.
The camp area for Descend on Bend sprawls across hundreds of acres of private land surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. The event provides porta-potties and running water from three taps to ancient wells onsite, but they recommend you bring your own water as well. The event organizers provide ice for sale, but the nearest store for food and gas is in nearby La Pine.
What Is There to Do?
Events at Descend on Bend range from potlucks to a salsa and chili competition to raffles and more. There are daily guided morning yoga routines, BBQ dinners presented by Dometic and Traeger, a Maker’s Market, late-night live music sessions, and kids’ activities, too.
It’s not just fun and games, though. There are also seminars like stargazing and astronomy sessions, kids’ wilderness skills workshops, and much more.
Many sponsors help make this event possible, so you can expect to see representatives from big brands there, too. Sponsors include Dometic, Zamp Solar, L.L Bean, Union Wine Co., Campo, and more.
What Do You Need to Bring to Descend on Bend?
You should bring everything you need to camp for several days. Bring your own water, lots of warm layers in case it gets cold, firewood, dishes and silverware, and cash for the Maker’s Market. You can also bring items to sell at the Maker’s Market or items to compete with in the salsa and chili competitions.
If you forget anything, the closest store is in La Pine, Ore. Attendees will have in and out privileges at the event, but the gates close at 10 p.m. each night.
Does It Cost Money to Get a Ticket?
Ticket prices vary for Descend on Bend, depending on which ticket type you purchase. In previous years, ticket prices have ranged from $55 to $200. Organizers have not yet shared the ticket prices for the 2022 event.
In previous years, ticket tiers granted access to different events. Basic Entry provided access to the porta-potties, spring water, hand washing stations, etc.
Midrange Entry tickets provided access to all basic amenities, a T-shirt, an engraved stainless steel pint, and a sticker pack. The top tier of tickets gave attendees everything in the lower tiers and access to workshops and more.
This event regularly sells out and fast. Early bird tickets tend to sell out almost immediately. So if you’re thinking about attending this event, you need to stay tuned to their social media and act quickly once tickets go on sale.
Do You Have to Have a Van to Attend?
No, you don’t have to have a van to attend. You can attend Descend on Bend in any vehicle that takes you camping. You can even bring a rental car if you decide to fly out to Oregon.
Be aware that temperatures in September can dip down to the single digits overnight. So if you plan to tent camp, be prepared. The road is easy enough for any vehicle to access, and the land is generally flat and easy to drive through.
This Large Van Life Gathering Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon
Descend on Bend is super popular and has some big-name sponsors. We’re guessing that this event isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This event has a cap on tickets, so if it’s something you want to attend, stay tuned to their website for 2022 ticket info and release dates.
Would you ever attend an event like Descend on Bend?
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