Last year, our friend Anna Fader of Mommy Poppins fame posted about her positive experience with Tentrr on Facebook. The service functions like Airbnb, except for campsites, and if that sounds like a brilliant idea, you’re right. Particularly for those of us who love the idea of camping — but not all the setting up of all the things.
So a couple of weeks ago, I finally booked a Tentrr site in Glen Spey, New York for a little quality time with two of my kids.
If you’re wondering if Tentrr is a service that you might want to use for your own family, here’s my own experience with it.
How does Tentrr work?
If you used vacation rental sites like Homeaway or Airbnb, then the Tentrr booking experience will be very familiar to you. When you enter the site, you’ll enter your dates, and then pick from locations currently all in the northeast — NY, CT, PA, and NJ.
You can peruse photos of the sites, plus read the reviews, then make a reservation. You’ll be connected with the owner or site manager, who’ll confirm, then assist you with whatever you need for your stay.
Prices start around $100/night.
What do you get with Tentrr?
When you book a Tentrr campsite, you get two tents, one of which is elevated, and includes a queen-sized blow-up mattress, a camp toilet, a sun shower, a grill, a dry food closet, plus chairs and a table of some kind. Depending on the campsite you pick, you can also add on items like fishing poles or even a movie projector.
You’re responsible for bringing food and bedding, plus anything else you want to have at your campsite. (Hat tip to Cool Mom Eats for all the awesome camping recipe ideas.)
When you arrive at your site, everything is set up for you by Tentrr and ready for you to use, so all you have to do is drag your bags out of your car, haul your cooler, wrangle your kids, and get camping!
How was our Tentrr experience overall?
I decided on staying at the Mongaup River Camp after reading several reviews. I wanted a location that was a bit of a drive for us (around 3 hours) so we could really feel like we were away. Plus, lots of reviewers mentioned the waterfalls, as well as swimming and fishing, which was a big deal to me.
Once we booked, we heard from the campsite contact, who answered lots of my questions, and sent along specific directions along with a list of local activities and places to eat. She also warned me that there was no cell phone signal there, and boy was she right. Which, hey, nothing wrong with a forced break from the Internet — but also tricky to find where you’re going when you can’t rely on your maps app.
The view outside my campsite. Waterfalls are nature’s white noise machine!
When we arrived, everything was set up as I had expected, except a little messy due to the large amount of rainfall the previous week.
The site was as beautiful as the photos, and even though we hit a few minor snafus (like expecting there to be firewood, but never considering that it would be soaking wet), we had a great time. It was such a positive experience for my two kids — who generally do not get along. Camping really forced them to work together and as a parent, that was a wonderful, unexpected result of our trip!
Another small problem was that I never received my rented fishing poles which was a bummer, since I paid extra for them. The only other minor issue was that since the camp was already set up (as in, it probably doesn’t get taken down between campers), it wasn’t tidied up as I had expected. And well, one of the tents was full of spiders.
So, we all squeezed onto the one queen mattress and oof — between the heat and the rain, it was… not a restful first night.
So that’s definitely the disadvantage to using a service like Tentrr where your camping stuff is already set up. It’s definitely a factor to consider, especially if the weather has been crappy.
I do think it’s a fair expectation that the camp site owners will clean up a bit between renters, beyond just changing the trash and toilet bags.
To be clear however, my experience was specific to my particular campsite. So just as with Airbnb, you could get an awesome place and an awesome owner…or a not-so-great one. Also, camping isn’t the cleanest activity in the world to begin with, so you know, you’re not glamping here.
The bottom line about Tentrr
Just a 5-minute hike from our camp site. Beautiful!
I think that Tentrr is a brilliant, and overall well-executed concept for any families who value the idea of camping and the experiences it provides, but maybe don’t have the skills or patience to set up a campsite. Be sure to check reviews before booking, just as you would with any other short-term vacation rental service.
I’m also curious to see Tentrr’s expansion plans, which will mean families beyond the northeast can take advantage of their service as well.
For around $300 (search for a coupon code like the one I found on Mommy Poppins), we ended up with a really enjoyable 72-hour getaway, a camping experience I might not have had otherwise, and best of all, I got in some awesome quality time with two of my kids.