Animation scene of all the characters from the Kelty animation in polaroids

Kelty: Party Animals



Client Link


Spring 2019
– Summer 2019

  • 2D Animation
  • Illustration
  • Storyboarding
  • Sound Design


Art Direction
  • Jordan Lambrecht
  • Karley Johnson
  • Hannah Klemme
  • Karley Johnson
  • Madeline Christensen
  • Ben Kamprath
  • Jordan Lambrecht
  • Madeline Christensen
Account Manager
  • Elaina Dye

Kelty Project Brief

Kelty is a 67-year-old camping gear company based out of Boulder, CO. The original inventor of the external frame backpack, the spirit of the brand is all about getting people outside to re-discover the joy they felt playing outside as a kid. Even their founder, Dick Kelty, left his job at Lockheed to spend more time in the outdoors.

With a loyal base of customers in the baby boomer generation, Kelty rebranded to reach a new audience of active 25-45 year olds. That’s where we came in: they wanted a short animated video to show off their products in a way that would appeal to millennials, with little or no voiceovers or text.

We created a short animation that was playful and a little bit edgy to capture the spirit of an outdoor escapade and appeal to a new generation of campers.

Animation scene for illustrated bear character for Kelty
animated dog from a scene in the Kelty advertising promo

Creative Brief

Everything in life is about balance. What goes up must come down. However, this constant doesn’t mean the fun has to end. In this campaign, we will provide a unique perspective on camping- focusing on what happens when the day is over. The exhaustion and wind-down after an excitement-packed encounter with nature is just as much a part of an adventure’s story as hiking, climbing, running, or playing.

We open on a camp deep in the woods nestled below a night/dusk sky teeming with stars and larger-than-life planets. A dwindling campfire and a lone lantern silhouetting a tent illuminate the scene. Many of our adventurers have already passed out; a few linger in their tents having muffled conversation. Inevitably, they too will fall asleep. Once the last camper closes their eyes, the nocturnal play begins.

Muddy boots, backpacks, pool floaties, yard games, and fishing poles are propped up against trees and scattered throughout the campsite in an “organized chaos” fashion to provide context clues of activities that happened during the day. The presence of these props subtly narrate a silent prologue. Our campers will all be asleep in their tents/sleeping bags. Our main character: a dog (Fête – French for “Party”)  wearing a Kelty Orange bandana is snoozing on the Kelty loveseat. Each of the six products will receive close-up shots.

After establishing our universe, mischievous animals come into play. A series of roguish woodland creatures begin slyly sniping the camper’s gear. A bear’s paw grabs something out of a Kelty backpack, a raccoon descends from a tree and steals a flashlight – our campers completely oblivious in their hard slumber.

Fête’s ear is awoken by the disturbance with a curious perk far before his eyes. Failing to raise his owner’s attention, he gets up to investigate. He stumbles upon a band of animals partying with the camper’s gear. There is a drawn-out moment where the animals freeze—realizing they’ve been found out. From Fête’s perspective, we zoom in on each of the animals with a deer-in-the-headlights expression (some more literally than others). Slowly, Fête holds up a beer. Realizing this dog is “cool,” the party continues with even more gusto. Kelty, Built For Play.

Animation Storyboard for Kelty


In the ideation stage, we dreamt big. Kelty’s brand is playful with a casual, go-anywhere, do-anything attitude that’s all about not taking yourself too seriously. They’re a company that wants to appeal to fun-loving, adventurous people–outdoorsy, but not so outdoorsy that they’re climbing Mount Everest. Kelty’s gear is for the weekend warrior, spur-of-the-moment, music-festival-campsite type.

Our challenge was to create something that would reach an audience that is well-versed in being “advertised to.” We needed to shoot for a playfully authentic tone without pandering. The animation had to showcase six different Kelty products in a way that is enjoyable to watch solely for the sake of entertainmentin other words, if it came up as a targeted ad on Instagram, you might stop scrolling to watch the whole thing.

With no voiceover or text to work with, we came up with the “Party Animals” concept. It tells the story of life after a long day outdoors from the perspective of animals that come out to play when the night is young. A feisty pet dog, Fête, and a scheming group of wild animals put together a forest rager with stolen beer, gear, and pool floaties under the noses of sleeping human campers. 

The production called for a laundry list of assets, including Kelty gear and miscellaneous props, like disco balls and water guns. We took time in crafting each item, illustrating with uniform textures, gradients, and color schemes. We animated the forest scenery with moving shadows and flickering light from campfires and fireflies.

We brought each character to life in their own way (see: the dancing bear). It was a blast to craft an attitude and personality for each animal though simple movement and only a handful of sound effects. Top it all off with a couple music tracks, and “Party Animals” was a reality. 

The end product was a 60 second video for the Kelty website and two shorter teaser modulations for social media.

Kelty Dancing Bear looped and illustrated animation
Still Frame of illustrated characters for Kelty animation
Campfire scene from Kelty animation
campfire scene from kelty animation
Kelty Character Design for Animation Promo

Working with Kelty

If you know us, you know we’re passionate about the environment. We were stoked to work with a company with a mission to get people outdoors and loved up on Mother Earth.

If your business or nonprofit feels the same way, give us a call. Let’s collaborate on eco-conscious videos. Let us make your nature-based animation. Heck, let’s just organize a camping trip, baby!