Macklemore's 'Camping Horror Story' Days Are Over - These Days, He's Eco-Friendly and Communing with Eagles

Macklemore explains that you don't have to sacrifice style to be comfortable in nature - and that modeling inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places


When most people think of a ‘camping horror story,’ they think of a bump in the night or a visit from an unwanted wilderness guest. But as for Macklemore — he thinks of Boy Scouts.

The 33-year-old rapper admitted to PEOPLE that his very own “camping horror story” involved a run-in with a troop of Boy Scouts while visiting his godfather’s cabin near Mount Rainier, Washington when he was 12 years old. “There was a big bell that signaled that there was a fire, and you weren’t supposed to ring the bell unless there was a fire,” Macklemore explained. “But at the age of 12, I wasn’t feeling that rule.”

Macklemore and his friends rang the bell and ran, but not before the Boy Scouts across the street were able to catch up to them. “I never wanted to get caught, I got in trouble,” Macklemore said. “Even more than the trouble, how are you going to get caught by some Boy Scouts? That’s horrible — that’s a camping horror story.”

A self-proclaimed lover of the outdoors, Macklemore didn’t let his early woodland misadventures stop him from enjoying all that his home of the Pacific Northwest has to offer —including hiking in his favorite spot, Mount Si. That’s why it’s so important to him to protect the forests from the harmful chemicals in our clothing, and he’s sharing that message through the launch of Columbia’s new OutDry Extreme ECO Jacket, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and is free of environmentally unfriendly compounds.


“No one wants to have to sacrifice style to be comfortable in nature,” he said. “You want to be able to go out in nature, and you still want to look good. And you don’t want to ruin the environment while doing it.”

His funny launch video packs a powerful message about how for decades, rain jackets have contained perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) — or “the devil of the forest” as Macklemore says — that don’t biodegrade. And while he learned a lot filming, he got some pretty unbelievable experiences in the wilderness as well — his favorite being when he was dunked in a waterfall: “One because I was submerged in very cold water while in the jacket,” he said. “Two, because a bald eagle landed on my shoulder.”

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And since this is technically his first foray into modeling, he said he looked to none other than his “elders” in Zoolander for tips. “You want to have a strong jaw, you want to have puckered lips, you want to have a fierce eye contact with the camera,” he joked. “You want to stare the camera down like it’s an enemy, but one that you’re not scared of. One that you could dominate if need be.”

Macklemore’s relationship with Columbia traces back to when he rocked his first quarter-zip fleece from the brand at 14 years old. “That was a great fleece, extra warm, extra cozy, extra stylish, bang bang bang.” It seems the “Thrift Shop” singer’s style, which he describes as a combination of vintage and new finds, hasn’t changed much over the years — he’s still hoping for another one of those extra-stylish pieces in his closet. “I would like a couple of fleeces! If you guys are listening, hook it up.”

Are you loving his video – and his message?

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