Sleeping in a canvas tent isn’t just for Civil War reenactments anymore.
Outdoors Geek, a Denver company that rents equipment for outdoor adventures, just bought another 50 canvas tents to support a booming “glamping” rental business.
Founder Will Marquardt used a $150,000 SBA loan to add 50 tents to the 350 stored in the company’s 7,500-square-foot warehouse. The rental firm bought internal frames for those tents and 50 memory foam beds as well.
“I’m an outdoor snob,” Marquardt said, adding that his idea of an outdoor adventure requires suffering and skill. He initially started the business to rent backpacking gear.
“But our vision is inspiring love for the outdoors, and any time we can get someone closer to nature, however comfortable they are doing that … it’s an awesome thing.”
Marquardt purchased the 12- by 14-foot tents — which cost $1,500 each — from Denver-based Davis Tent and Awning.
He said the business will continue setting up temporary glamping tents for music festivals and events, but now is determined to offer seasonal lodging for clients.
At Darien Lake, a theme park in upstate New York, Outdoors Geek is pitching 40 glamping tents for the summer season and splitting revenue with the park.
“(Glamping) will grow more than our camping business,” Marquardt said. “We’re creating new avenues for it to make it more accessible, so someone does not have to invest $10,000 for their property.”
In Colorado, the company is trying a similar idea at May Farms in Byers, where it will set up three to five tents for five weeks this fall. Next spring, Marquardt hopes to pitch glamping tents at farms and wineries statewide.
“It really allows for these gatherings to pop up in places where they otherwise couldn’t,” he said. “It expands the kind of people who would take advantage of this.”
Marquardt said the real beds and additional wood furniture are new features to the glamping product catalogue. Outdoors Geek, which launched in 2010, had 150 glamping tents in stock in 2012. Now, it has 400.
The firm also added inflatable kayaks, SUPs and portable bunk beds this year, which are shipped nationwide.