Before Maura Gramzinski opened her camping, travel, road trip and storytelling-inspired pop-up shop over the holiday season of 2020 RedCamper had gone through many forms. Previously, she had used the same space as the prep kitchen for her popular line of preserves Deliciousness which pair local produce with the likes of Laws Whiskey and Suerte Tequila. Long before that, in 2004, RedCamper began as a handbag business in which she handcrafted over 500 original bags out of a large collection of 35mm slides she inherited from her grandfather — supplementing the original supply with stacks she’d buy off of eBay and pore through to find ones that would fit the identity of the individual piece. A few years later she began the U.S. Highway 89 Greeting Card line which superimposed single frames she found on the slides with phrases betraying a great deal of wit and a penchant for puns.
While the bags have been discontinued, shoppers can still find evidence of each era of RedCamper at Gramzinski’s entirely charming boutique just east of Wash Park. After the success of last year’s holiday market — where she only sold her own products — Gramzinski decided to call on her friends to begin outfitting the space with some of the best in homegrown snack fare. Fortunately, her list of friends and contributors was both long and diverse. She currently stocks beverages from Dram Apothecary, the fabulous chili oil from Linji Market, Jojo’s Sriracha, cheeses from Table Mountain Farm, honey from Bee Squared Apiary, hot sauce from Cooper’s Small Batch, a variety of nut butter from PB Love and chocolate from Ritual Chocolate, Cultura and Bibampa Artisan Chocolate. A daily selection of loaves and pastries comes fresh each morning from Reunion Bakery. The space is beautifully orchestrated, with each product enjoying a prominent display alongside both Highway 89’s inspirational and cheeky lines and picnic essentials including packable boxes and tableware and Gramzinski’s own prebuilt picnic packs.
Gramzinski has taken care to cover each detail needed for a successful adventure. RedCamper draws its name from the red trailer she and her family would use for the many camping trips that filled her youth. But her early days were defined by travel in a way that could make even the most camping-savvy Coloradan look like an amateur. She grew up largely on an off-the-grid property situated directly between Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupakti National Monuments in Arizona. Her daily trips to school would cross 35 miles, where she would constantly witness travelers in motion, admiring the sights. On top of that, her family would galavant so frequently that she missed the first grade, with a yearly journey to Mexico and Guatemala filling out each winter. The travel bug was generational, her father’s father traversed the globe first with the military then as a commercial pilot. Even when the family wasn’t traveling, there would always be a restless undercurrent, eyes forever set on the horizon. That Gramzinski’s curation is centered around a lifetime of experience shows, the particulars practically propelling guests towards their next escapade.
Of her own goods, Gramzinski sells jams, candied nuts, granola, cocktail cherries and pre-assembled squirrel packs and thoughtfully arranged picnic boxes. The Deliciousness line, which first arrived in 2012 was her first foray into food and has since grown in popularity, with the brand finding its widest reach in Whole Foods across the entire Rocky Mountain Region. Combinations like Absinthe Orange, Colorado Whiskey Peach and the Cherry Fig Mostarda — a collaboration with St. Kilian’s — are all prepared to be part of the bigger picture, each one providing that magic ingredient that will tie the romp together.
“I really want to bring it back to that story of travel and place. How better to do that than to feature growing regions?” said Gramzinsk, noting that each ingredient has been carefully selected to highlight some of the best products grown here in the state.
Whether embarking on a world tour or simply planning a backyard picnic, RedCamper is a good place to find more than a little inspiration.
RedCamper Picnic Supply is located at 1939 East Kentucky Ave., Denver. It is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.