Say you want to go camping this weekend but you just can’t be bothered to head online to find an available camping site at your local state park let alone dig through your basement to figure out where you put the tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and everything else you’ll need for the trip. Worry no more. Now you can simply pick up your phone and with the swipe of your finger, book your weekend in the woods, tent and all.
Meet Tentrr — the Airbnb for camping. Started by former investment banker Michael D’Agostino, the idea for the company came about after he and his wife grew tired of the often rowdy public campground setting — all they wanted to do was enjoy a peaceful weekend outdoors.
As with every other single-vowel, double-r-ending startup, Tentrr uses technology to automate an otherwise laborious process — in this case, camping. A free iPhone app lets you find and instantly book fully private campsites (no camping next to that frat part), all a short drive from major metropolitan areas like New York. You can screen campsites for access to certain activities like swimming, biking, or even wine tasting.
Tentrr doesn’t stop at the campsite itself. D’Agostino took it a step further and actually built the infrastructure — every site includes a canvas tent, deck, Adirondack chairs, a real bed, and a campfire pit. You’ll also find picnic tables, portable toilets, cookware, grills, and even sun showers scattered around the campsite. All you need to bring is your food.
As we saw with the bots post earlier this week, campsites within our state and national park system represent a very limited supply. D’Agostino wants you to think beyond these popular places and camp on private land instead. He is working with people such as dairy farmers or even movie stars who have dozens of acres of land to spare for installing Tentrr’s seasonal campsites and earning some money in the process.
The average cost per night for a Tentrr campsite is $144 — so not much cheaper than a hotel but you get to sleep outside in your own private space. Much like Airbnb, Tentrr includes a booking fee, while a cut of the profits go to the land owner.
Last summer, Tentrr tested out the business model with 50 campsites in New York state. According to Bloomberg, the app has already logged $4 million in funding and 1,500 bookings—40 percent of them by people who’d never gone camping before.
The company is in the process of going live with an additional 150 campsites across the Northeast with plans to hit the Pacific Northwest later this summer. I am looking forward to next year when Tentrr will cover the Sierras and places like Utah in the southwest. Bring on the sharing economy.