A classic Porsche adventure. Just add tent
How a Porsche 911 became the perfect partner for wild camping adventures
Porsche parked in woods with tent on roof, dog inside
When Brock Keen decided to leave the corporate life behind, little did he realise that his love of Porsche cars and the great outdoors would combine in such spectacular fashion
Wild camping… in a PorscheBrock Keen’s well-documented Porsche adventure began when he bought a discounted roof-top tent for his 911 (996) from an outdoor supplies shop in his native Portland, Oregon. His intention was to use it on skiing and hiking trips in the beautiful wilderness of the United States’ Pacific North West, accompanied by his wife Sara and dog Lucy. So began an adventure that would take him to a place of freedom and simplicity – one that, unwittingly, has made him and his Porsche social media superstars.
Brock Keen at wheel of his Porsche 911 (996)
Intrepid traveller Brock Keen in his rooftop tent-equipped Porsche 911 | Image: Brock Keen
To say Brock is living a dream existence is something of an understatement. But getting to this point of blissful independence and non-conformity by the age of 40 didn’t come without some earlier sacrifices. “I gave up a lot of my late teens and early 20s working non-stop. Not going out partying or doing the social thing,” he says.Swapping the corporate life for a Porsche adventureWhen we call Brock on his phone for a chat, he is somewhere between his home in Portland and his cabin in the woods above Detroit Lake, about a two-hour drive south of Oregon’s largest city. He has pulled his 996 into a lay-by, snow billowing outside, with his tent – of course – stowed neatly on the roof. These days he sets his own schedule. No more board meetings or PowerPoint presentations. Instead, they’ve been replaced by a life on the road behind the wheel of his beloved 996. “I dedicated a lot of time to work and business to create something so that I could retire younger. Ironically, this Porsche adventure has led into a whole new business model for me, so I now get to pursue my passion on multiple levels,” he adds.
Two Porsche cars parked up outside cabin in the woods
The perfect hideaway? A Boxster and a 911 parked up in the woods | Image: Brock Keen
Brock describes himself as an entrepreneur. It’s perhaps those associated traits – drive, vision, tenacity and creativity – that has led him to the point he is at today. One where he has managed to turn his lifestyle and passion into a new, less buttoned-down career. To do this, Brock says, he’s made some fundamental changes to how he lives. “It’s about stripping away all the unnecessary and having just what’s needed. I went from a 4,000ft2 house to a 1,100ft2 house. I’ve traded the million-dollar hotels for million-dollar views. That’s the most valuable thing I’ve gained.”In search of a happy placeBrock can’t go into details about what businesses he has been involved in because of various non-disclosure agreements, but he admits to owning, starting and developing several companies. One of them went public, the success of which has given him the freedom to step back from the daily churn. Does he miss swapping the cut and thrust of the corporate life for his Porsche adventure?
Man and dog beside a forest, Porsche 911 in foreground
Man’s best friend. And a dog | Image: David Demille
“It wasn’t so much that I was the corporate guy wearing a suit and tie at the office, it was that I was being driven by financial gain and the bottom line. Now, those aren’t the values that I have.”One thing travelling by Porsche 911 has taught him is that he has to be very selective when it comes to what he brings along on his Porsche adventure. “I used to be the guy who would take five pairs of shoes and really load up on stuff, but what I’ve discovered is I don’t really need all of this to make me happy,” he admits. “What’s important to me now is to find a quiet place away from it all, and I also love the road and the journey.”
Porsche 911 driving on a snowy road, cutting through forest
Wherever the road takes him: Brock behind the wheel of another Porsche adventure | Image: David Demille
I’ve traded the million-dollar hotels for million-dollar views
Brock Keen | Explorer, camper, entrepreneur and 911 driver
Porsche cars and the great outdoorsHis new lifestyle began a couple of years ago, Brock recalls, when he was on a camping trip with his wife. They came across an Instagram competition being run by his tent manufacturer which asked people to tag themselves and their tent in their best adventure photographs.When Brock posted a picture of his wife sitting in the tent on top of the 996 to his social media channel, it went crazy. “It racked up so many likes and shares that the tent company contacted me because they thought that I had hacked the system. Then things really started to take off and magazines asked me to share my story,” he explains. “It allowed me to indulge in this whole new world of things I love – which is Porsche cars and the outdoors.”
Porsche parked on beach with a tent on the roof
A room with a million-dollar view | Image: Brandon Haley
Does Brock have any tips for people who might be inspired to add a tent to their 911 too? “Get a memory foam mattress,” he insists. He believes that camping off the ground has several advantages, not least of which is you’re “away from the critters and the mud”. The only difficulty, he adds, is when you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. At least his 911 isn’t that far off the ground.If you’re keen to create your own Porsche adventure, then it need not cost very much either, says Brock. “My 911 was the same price as a new hatchback,” he explains. “And to go camping for a night or two is $20 plus gas money. What I tell people now is “don’t chase the dollar”. Yes, money is a powerful tool. But if you’re passionate about something, and you really put your all into it, everything else will fall into place. And you’ll be a lot happier.”
Man at a drive-in movie theatre in car roof tent
At the drive-in: Brock is touring the USA in his tent-equipped 911 | Image: Brandon Haley
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