I don’t know about you, but I’ve been scraping the bottom of the bucket lately on “things to do in the age of coronavirus”. I want to be safe, first and foremost, but I also want to enjoy summer, see my loved ones, and get out of the house a bit. So when a friend suggested Tentrr, I leaped at the idea and booked a site on the border of New York and Massachusetts for a long weekend.
What is Tentrr?
According to their website, Tentrr is a private camping experience that connect campers to private landowners who are willing to share their land. The basic premise is that people who own large tracts of land can set up a Tentrr site and charge people who want to go camping.
Why use Tenrr rather than just, you know, go camping?
IMO, there are some big advantages:
- It’s equipped! Tentrr sites come with tents, bedding, water, fire pit and grill, table, chairs, and a toilet. As someone who lives in a studio apartment in New York City without a car, purchasing any space-consuming or expensive camping gear is not for me, an occasional camper at best. Tentrr really is a great solution for those who love camping but don’t want to purchase the gear or anyone interested in trying out camping before investing in their own equipment.
- It’s private. Many campsites are for you and your party alone; you won’t be sharing the area with strangers. This is really nice in the age of coronavirus and social distancing.
- It’s good for hosts. Our host had a large plot of land, but it was hilly and rocky so unsuitable for farming. With Tentrr she’s able to turn it into an income source.
- They will sometimes offer add-ons. Extra firewood? A hot breakfast? A growler of beer? Hosts will often offer add-ons that you can charge to your reservation for a small fee. This differs from host to host and so it’s a lot of fun to see what the options are.
So, what was the experience really like?
My campsite was reached by a short uphill walk, parked in the middle of a lush forest. Quiet, peaceful, dark at night (I forget sometimes how bright the city can be), I was in nature. The hosts had 23 acres of private property, and the site was far enough from their house that we didn’t have to worry about disturbing our hosts and others. We weren’t actually that isolated though, with our hosts located 5 minutes down the hill and a well-equipped 24-hour gas station a 2-minute drive away.
Although the host said there was equipment, I definitely brought way more things than needed “just in case”. I was pleasantly surprised by how much equipment was available, everything from the tent itself to the plentiful cooking supplies to a deck of cards and board games.
At an extra cost, I got extra wood for the campfire and a hot breakfast one morning, with freshly baked bread warm from the oven (a highlight!), a thermos of hot coffee, and eggs from the neighbors chicken that you cook up yourself. (Side story: I interpreted hot breakfast as cooked breakfast, so I was disappointed when I was presented with uncooked eggs that I then had to make myself. That was clearly a miscommunication with the host, so always make sure to ask)
Perhaps the biggest downside of a private campsite is the lack of facilities. All Tentrr sites come with a toilet called the “Tentrr Loo” which is a portable wooden box with a toilet seat and bucket inside and a special bag for your business. The site also didn’t have a shower. I would have preferred a regular toilet and shower, of course, but there were showers at the gas station and a nearby state park so it wasn’t too terrible.
My rental was $75/night, but others were as expensive as $165/night. The cost might seem high to those who have camped in park campgrounds. If you’re an experienced camper who owns gear already, Tentrr might not be for you. But if you are new to camping, don’t have gear, or simply don’t want to deal with the setup, this is a great solution.
The campsite was also in an area with lots to do – hiking trails, state parks, farms, and breweries were common around my site. So I recommend also considering the offerings of the area in addition to the amenities of the site itself.
How about making food at camp?
The menu for the weekend, thanks to my friends who are much better at camp cooking than I:
- Ramen noodles with scallions and spinach
- Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, veggies, and cheese
- Grilled veggie burgers, corn on the cobb, and vegetable skewers
- Potato salad sandwiches
- Snacks like chips, fruit, and trail mix
- Smores, of course!
I appreciate the amount of time it takes to boil water directly on the fire now (ha!) and also how hard it can be to control the heat of an actual fire as we switched between not hot enough and scorched food. It’s all part of the experience.
Overall, I hope to do a Tentrr experience again and perhaps check out a different campsite.
Disclaimer: I receive no sponsorships or payments for any of my posts. I have no affiliation with Tentrr and this review was unsolicited and entirely my own opinion.