Want to go camping, but don’t want to leave your home?
"Well, now you can," says 21-year-old Winnipegger Sarah Scott, who just launched her new business called Canadiana Camper & Co. with her family this summer.
It’s a one-of-a-kind "glamping" experience that brings all the adventurous fun of outdoor camping — from canvas tents to vintage trailers — and ties it with the luxury of staying comfortably within the confines of your own backyard.
Gone are leaky air mattresses or swatting away bugs, while keeping poison ivy and pesky bears at bay not to mention the traffic on the way to your camping site.
“The best part is, you don’t have to move a finger if you don’t want to. We’ll come set everything up and take it down the next day.” — Sarah Scott
Instead, you’ll get air-conditioned campers, memory-foam beds, throw pillows, lounge chairs, picnic tables and even a projector to watch movies with your friends and family.
"The best part is, you don’t have to move a finger if you don’t want to," Scott told the Free Press Monday. "We’ll come set everything up and take it down the next day."
All it takes is 45 minutes or so at each turn. And after that, there’s a pandemic-friendly set-up right by your personal washrooms and living space, with kids of all ages and pets of all kinds able to enjoy the service.
It’s probably best to start budgeting around the $250-and-above range. "Let’s just say, you’ll certainly want to keep adding things on when you’re on our website and creating a package for yourself," said Scott with a chuckle.
"We’re trying to provide the type of thing that will allow people to make long-lasting memories and just have a great time with those closest to them," she said. "I know so many of us missed out on that during COVID-19."
“We’re trying to provide the type of thing that will allow people to make long-lasting memories and just have a great time with those closest to them. I know so many of us missed out on that during COVID-19.” — Sarah Scott
Scott herself can relate. A recent graduate from Red River College, she craved to be at a campsite with her family again throughout last year.
"Then, this summer, we couldn’t find any available. All of them were completely booked," she said.
It’s all part of an annual tradition in Manitoba that doesn’t come without stress: booking a campsite through the provincial system.
This year, regular enthusiasts were met with new campers fuelled by cabin fever — all of whom caused the Parks Reservation Service to once again be overwhelmed, with long waits and glitches. At one point, over 38,000 online reservations were made in just two days alone.
"And that’s exactly where this idea was born," said Scott. "I’ve always been a creative person and I also studied business. So, I jumped at my shot to create my own first company the moment I saw an opening."
The initial feedback since Scott soft-launched a few weeks ago has been "just completely and utterly amazing," she said. "People are clearly loving that they can have all of this fun, while not having to worry about taking kids along or pets and whatnot."
Bookings for Canadiana Camper have come for a laundry list of different events and celebrations. Some have booked tents and campers for bridal or baby showers; while others have had birthday parties, weddings and even youth-group gatherings.
"But the most common, of course, is just having a special movie night together with your loved ones," said Scott.
Scott believes a big reason for her business’ early popularity is that it is "COVID-feasible," meaning it can be done safely by not extending one’s social bubble or causing it to be unsafe during any phase of public-health restrictions.
But that doesn’t mean it will not perform well beyond the pandemic, she said.
"At the end of the day, I’m not worried about how things will go — because this type of service where people make great memories will always be a very viable thing for us to do," said Scott. "Who wouldn’t want to enjoy s’mores with family again, without leaving their home?"