How do you take your summer holidays? Some seek rest by laying down the sun like an iguana warming up their blood. Just doing nothing to compensate for the hard work over the year. I’m not against that, I do it too. But I found a new alternative, you can go out and learn something new. Only a year ago I discovered hacker camps, an outdoor tent camp event for hackers and makers.

It is really hard to disconnect from my precious tech gadgets, I just take them everywhere with me. Holidays might be for disconnecting, but the real deal when it comes to rest is change of activity and environment. This is precisely why a hacker camp is so awesome. Now I can finally enjoy my contact to nature, sleeping on a tent, change my life routine and do things differently and still enjoy the benefits and distractions of modern day technology that I’m so fond of.

But outdoors? Is there even WiFi? Well, there is WiFi and it’s fast. Speeds you can only get at hacker camps, because we know how important it truly is, not the slow connection you get in your holiday resort or Café (maybe that’s intentional to get you out). The wired(yes it’s still a thing) and wireless networks are put together by passionate professionals, who take pride of setting up the camp with full internet connectivity. And they do a fantastic job. You can see the presentation of their work on the network for Bornhack 2018 .

But it is a Hacker camp, am I safe? Of course not! But you are not any safer in your favorite Café either, you have to take care of yourself, keep your firewall on at all times, go to the security talks to learn more and keep learning. On the other hand, you could be safer than in your favorite Café. These are networks build for hackers, they put the effort to enforce encryption in communications. But participants also try to hack them all the time. Here it is a game not a crime, so keep in mind you can win or loose, but you can also hit the restart button and play again. Remember to always have a backup of your data, and make sure it works.

Hacking is a display of creativity, a philosophy that glorifies what is fun and clever. Hacking is the philosophy of exploration, personal expression, pushing boundaries, and breaking the rules. That’s why you can expect to see a lot of crazy stuff all over the place and try to hack on them too. The lights in the camp are connected to the internet and you can change the patterns they show. The bar runs live statistics on the drinks being ordered and displays those statistics to you. You get a badge which you are expected to hack on and the organizers even help you getting started. I also took part in a workshop about bleaching my clothing. For all the years it takes to wear out some shirts until they become comfortable, this extra bleaching now made them more amazing and worth wearing for some extra years.

This event is surprisingly well priced. You get your camping space + fast internet + electricity + electronic badge ready to be hacked + great talks about hacker relevant topics and a community of amazing people for the price of an average camping space. This is because the event runs on the pure joy and voluntary work of the organizers making it possible. You should not see this as a service you purchase, even if you consider this holidays; but as a community you join and thus you are expected to contribute back, be awesome to everyone, give a helping hand to everyone and the organizers and share your knowledge.

Maybe we’ll meet there next year. Have a look at the event website