Camping is a popular American past time and on average, each camper spends 14.9 days camping whether it be in a tent, RV, cabin, bivy, or yurt. But, there is one camping style that offers a high-end camping experience for those who need more convenience in their outdoor experience.
It’s called glamping, and it’s perfect for campers who want to experience the great outdoors without necessarily roughing it.
The idea for this unique approach all started when Sarah Dusek was sitting outside on her Montana farm, dreaming of an African safari she went on a few years prior. She was inspired to combine the allure of the outdoors with abundant wildlife. So, along with her husband Jake, they built Sage Safari about eight miles from the Canadian border and haven’t stopped populating the wild west with glamping camps ever since.
Known as Under Canvas, the Dusek’s glamping company has achieved incredible success as offering something different for both American and international campers. The company brings in a whopping $8 million in revenue yearly, employs 30 people annually and 150 seasonally, and even dabbles in an event business that creates pop-up glamping tents around the world.
The majority of Under Canvas’s locations are right on the outskirts of national parks and are tents equipped with hot showers, mattresses with high-thread count sheets and down comforters, and luxe catering. The idea is for the camper to wake up with the perfect view of nature, but not have to sacrifice their daily comforts to do so.
In explaining her inspiration for her camps, Sarah Dusek explained that she wanted to give campers the magical feeling that comes with being one with nature. Then, combined with the fact that pheasant, grouse, and Hungarian partridge are in abundance around her Montana farm, the Duseks thought they could attract already vacationing fly fishermen with the appeal of hunting. Because these affluent vacationers tend to be well off and look for distinctive experiences while vacationing to help recharge and reboot, the Duseks found themselves on a landmine of opportunity.
“We imagined them going for a day out in the field and returning to hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a five-course dinner under an amazing sunset,” explains Sarah to Inc..
For the first few years, the Duseks found campers through the vacationing website Orbitz. Jake led hunting expeditions during the day, and Sarah would be the hostess with the mostest during the evening. Then Under Canvas started to expand into a customized events service, bringing glamping everywhere from Iceland to Canada. Now, Under Canvas has eight locations all across the west, and offers activities such as horseback riding, zip lining, and white water rafting.
Depending on the size and location of each tent, prices range from $150 to $450 a night. All the parks have a very low carbon footprint, as one park of 100 campers only uses as much water and power as a residential home.