Two very different camping experiences led Guita Yazdani to wonder if there was a better way to experience the great outdoors, and the result was Campertunity, a B.C. start-up described as the “Airbnb of camping”.
“I had the idea two years ago, when I went camping in the Whistler/Pemberton area for a weekend getaway,” says Yazdani. “We were camping on private land—there was a house on the lot—and it was a beautiful big lot with access to a lake. I thought ‘Where am I?’
“Then I was camping at a provincial park, and it was so busy. There were RVs leaving, people walking past, and it was super noisy; just like being in the city. The outdoors is supposed to be quiet and beautiful, and I compared it to my previous experience. Plus there are too many campers and not enough spots [in provincial campgrounds]; in some cases you have to book months in advance. I thought ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to get a camping spot.’”
So Yazdani, along with Nora Lozano, founded Campertunity, an online platform that enhances the camping experience by allowing private landowners to list their land for campers to book. The site gives campers more flexibility and campsite options, far from the madding crowd, and allows landowners to earn an income while making their backyard or property available to the world.
Yazdani says that it’s easy for landowners to sign up for the program. “They need to get extra liability insurance, and check with their local jurisdiction to see if they need a licence, or if there are any rules and regulations about it.” She adds that Campertunity can help landowners with this, and notes that anyone with space in their yard is welcome to sign up. “If you have space for a tent you can work with us.
“Some people just need space to park. You could be perfect for someone who just needs a quick place to stop. And camping in someone’s yard is less invasive than staying in their home.”
Landowners specify what amenities they have available for campers; then it is up to campers to decide what they need. “We have instructions on our website for how landowners can build a compostable toilet, or install a portable one, or people can email us. We get a lot of questions about that.”
Campertunity has 19 sites so far, and Yazdani says that every day they get bigger and bigger. “The Interior and Vancouver Island are the most popular, and we have sites in Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, and the Maritimes. And the feedback we’ve had from users has been very supportive. People say ‘What a relief; we need this idea.’ Now we’re waiting for it to grow.”
Campers can review landowners and sites after their visit. Asked if there is one type of site more popular than others, Yazdani says “People do like water. They’re out in nature to connect. They like peace, quiet, open spaces. Campertunity offers that.”
She adds that some landowners invite campers to do more than just camp. “Some let people ride horses, or feed goats. If campers want this sort of experience, they can find it. Something peaceful, quiet, something that really is nature.”
To find out more, visit the Campertunity website at www.campertunity.com.