Tentrr: Camping for Hotel Folks
OK—you’ve got two days off and you’ve squared away the kids. Where you gonna go? Another city? Another hotel room with windows that don’t open and a constantly whirring AC? Ew.
Michael D’Agostino has got this one covered. He is the CEO of Tentrr, a new hospitality company that promises the freedom of Airbnb but with standardized amenities. And, to be clear, those amenities are tents—but they’re elegant, semi-permanent tents pitched on wooden platforms located in private wildernesses near streams, lakes and mountains. The campsites are vetted for natural beauty and seclusion, and they’re popping up all over the Hudson Valley. Like Uber and Airbnb, they’re part of the sharing economy in which private landowners offer their properties through Tentrr, which, in turn, provides the equipment and marketing.
Anyone who has ever been camping knows that it can be a pretty equipment-intensive endeavor. D’Agostino is looking to streamline the experience for newbies and urbanites whose apartments can’t accommodate all that kit. (Speaking of urbanites, all the sites are listed with drive times from Brooklyn.) Each Tentrr site is equipped with a stone fire pit and all manner of furniture: Adirondack chairs, a grill, queen-sized cots, a picnic table and a sun shower. There’s even a private, outdoor toilet that employs NASA-developed technology. We’re talking NASA, folks. In addition, some Tentrr hosts offer upsells. These include firewood, tiki torches, coffee and upgraded bedding. One host offers a “Camp Fire Goodies Kit” ($25) that includes chocolate, crackers, marshmallows, bamboo roasting sticks and Jiffy Pop popcorn. Campers can also dodge the upsells and bring in whatever they need and/or want. For instance, D’Agostino recommends that tender campers bring air mattresses to top those cots.
Tentrr campsites can accommodate from one to 14 visitors, depending on the property, and most range in cost between $100 and $200 per night. Generally, the Tentrr sites require a minimum of two nights per stay. The good news is that these sites are 100% private: There’s no shared bathhouse and no obnoxious partiers in a neighboring tent. You can walk around the campsite naked or dressed in a fur suit. Dude, you can just do you.
In fact, D’Agostino’s desire for privacy sparked the idea for Tentrr. “We were camping in a state campground, and there were, like, 40 people across the path who were having a full moon Wiccan party—and, I mean, like, Wiccan with hooded robes, chanting, all this mead and a disco ball,” D’Agostino says. “It was like camping in Times Square, and I just lay awake thinking, ‘There’s got to be a better way. Instead of bringing all these people who are living on top of each other in the city to camp on top of each other in parks, maybe we could offer a better experience of the outdoors.’”
Here’s how it works. Log on to Tentrr’s site, and browse through the campsites, refining your search by date, number of campers, desired location and your interest in activities like fishing, kayaking or (let’s face it) drinking at wineries and distilleries. You can choose whether you’d like to drive up to your campsite, or whether you’re willing to take a short hike to get farther off the grid. Like Airbnb, past campers rate the host and the campsite, so you can check out what other visitors have said before you book. Best still? Depending on the size of the campsite, you can invite all your Wiccan friends over for some mead and Jiffy Pop (BYO disco ball).