Three companies that MAY convince me to like camping

     When I think of camping, I wish I could draw from the musings of 19th-century naturalists like John Muir or Ralph Waldo Emerson. Something romantically wonderful about man’s oneness with nature or my propensity for finding solitude in its isolation.

     Instead my feelings are more aligned with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Dave Barry.

     “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.”  

     The fact is, I love being outdoors. I’d just rather go inside afterward to shower and eat a nice meal that I didn’t fumble to prepare over a campfire. But my two boys are constantly haranguing me about our lack of camping trips. Lucky for them, there are plenty of companies around these days that are swaying reluctant campers like myself to join the ranks of camping families. Here are three that just may convince me.

1. Get Outfitted

     I was already a fan of Get Outfitted, a Colorado company based in Colorado Springs that rents ski clothing and accessories, and then mails it to your home or resort. So if you’re not committed to buying your own or don’t want to haul your own to a faraway outing, this is the perfect solution.

     This June, the company launched an exclusive partnership with Kelty to provide the equivalent solution for camping gear. My husband and I have acquired some equipment over the years during our few camping outings, but mostly we’ve borrowed from friends. Now that we have two wild boys, however, I’d rather not risk friendships. Renting gear from GetOutfitted solves that problem.

     For our recent outing in Estes Park, Colo., I ordered online the Family 4 Camper—with enough Kelty gear for two kids and two adults, including a four-person tent, four sleeping pads and two of each adult and child sleeping bags—which arrived neatly at my front door. Bonus: The box also included two goodie bags (stuff sacks) containing face wipes, lip balm and more, which the kids claimed before I could blink.

     My only challenge so far? Getting the gear that arrived in a neat bundle shoved back into the box before returning it to the company via pre-paid shipping label.

2. Grasshaven Outdoor

     The brainchild of Dawn Bitz, a Boulder, Colo., mom of two who loves camping but was frustrated three years ago at not being able to find the camping products and information she desired for an upcoming family-camping outing. So she took a leap of faith in August 2012, leaving a six-figure job in the medical-device industry to pursue the idea “taking the wild out of the wilderness,” says Bitz, often referred to by media as the “Martha Stewart of camping.”

     After conducting six months of market research, it was clear that there were plenty of reluctant campers out there like myself who liked the idea of camping without “roughing it.” Enter Grasshaven Outdoor, which launched in January 2013 to bring “outdoor life with style” to customers.

     “We want to make the outdoors accessible for the entire family,” Bitz says on her site. “It’s permission to enjoy the outdoors in comfort and style. Whether you’re glamping or just plain-old family camping, Grasshaven brings a level of indoor style to the outdoor lifestyle.”

     Some of my faves? A vintage-style 12’ x 12’ Range Teepee, Camp Director’s Chair and Classic Melamine Oval Plates. Bonus? Outdoor Camping Kitchen and the Glow-in-the-Dark Bocce Ball Set. Visit the Boulder store, shop online or head to one of 20 point-of-sale pop-up stores nationwide.

3. AirStream2Go

     If I’m going to dream about an extended “glamping” trip, I’m going to dream big. And that means touring in ultimate style and luxury with Airstream 2 Go. Providing exclusive Airstream trailer rentals, complete with tow vehicles like a GMC Yukon or Chevrolet Tahoe, the company allows customers a 5-star RV experience without having to shell out a cool $100,000.

     After an on-site tutorial on how to drive the beasts, an iPad is included in the vehicle to answer user questions or assist with any problems along the way. Need a customized driving route? Airstream 2 Go has partnered with travel outfitter Off The Beaten Path to provide customers “turnkey itineraries,” the site says, including “California Adventure,” which begins in Los Angeles and continues north along California’s coast. The cost? About $2,000 minimum for a three-day rental up to nearly $8,000 for a one-week, customized journey. I AM dreaming, after all.


Items I plan to buy for my next camping trip: