It should be simple: human and dog spending the night together under the stars. That’s what Michael D’Agostino, who was working at the New York Stock Exchange, figured when he left for a camping trip with his wife and their dog. They were looking forward to some peace and quiet, their dog running free under a sky glittering with stars.
It didn’t work out the way they imagined. Their campsite was right next to the bathroom. On the other side, a rowdy group of campers partied all night. “It was like camping in Times Square,” D’Agostino says. With so many people around, they had to keep their dog in the tent. No running free through the great outdoors. This was not what they had in mind when they decided to go camping.
After a sleepless night, they packed up their tent. They figured they could save their weekend by checking into a local bed and breakfast, only to be told that they didn’t accept dogs. They had no choice but to head back to the city. On the drive back, says Baxter they passed a beautiful field. “I wish we could just camp there,” says D’Agostino.
“And the idea of Tentrr was born,” says Baxter Townsend, the director of public relations for the company. Tentrr campsites are all dog-friendly and fully equipped on 15 acres or more. The land is private and secluded so that dogs can run free. Each campsite has swimming spots and hiking trails as well as dog-friendly activities nearby. It’s been compared to Airbnb for campers and canines.
Each campsite comes with a large wooden platform, large canvas tent, bed, Adirondack chairs, wood stove, picnic table, dry storage, water gallon sun shower, camp toilet, fire pit and more, says Townsend. The experience starts at $127 per night. There’s even a “glamping” provision. “Many campsites offer extras for a small fee including luxury bedding, cooking and dining supplies, firewood, farm fresh produce and eggs, and rentals of kayas and bikes.” Campsites accommodate up to 12 campers with additional dome tents provided for groups.
And Tentrr doesn’t just take any campsite. Landowners, called “Prospective Campkeepers,” must can fill out an online questionnaire to determine if their property meets Tentrr’s needs: 10 acres or more of secluded land with swimmable water onsite or nearby and only a short drive to town for restaurants and activities. We’re looking for a “wow factor” says Townsend. “If a piece of property meets those requirements, Tentrr sends a scout out to see the property in person and make sure it’ll make for a great Tentrr campsite.”
Of course, dogs are at the heart of the Tentrr experience. “Dogs and owners can go hiking, trail running, swimming, kayaking, mountain biking, and cook hotdogs and hamburgers right off the grill,” says Townsend. Additionally, many of the Campkeepers offer additional guided experiences such as fly-fishing, hunting or hiking trips designed for campers and canines.
Townsend counsels campers to prepare their dogs for the great outdoors, advising people to put tick and flea protection on their pups and check for ticks frequently during the great outdoor experience. “We encourage all campers who are bringing their pets to purchase a tick twister, which can easily get ticks off their pets.” Of course, humans should also be well stocked with insect repellent.
The majority of Tentrr campsites are two hours from New York City in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. The company does plan on expanding Tentrr sites in the Northeast this summer and in late 2017, rolling out additional sites in the Pacific Northwest.
“Tentrr is all about making the outdoors more accessible,” says Townsend, “and that includes being able to travel with your dog without having to worry about finding dog-friendly lodging or activities.”