I Love Tentrr's New Campsites Because They Actually Make Camping Relaxing

The best part? I didn't even have to pitch a tent

Tentrr at Harriman State Park

Courtesy of Tentrr

I love camping, but living in a New York City apartment isn't exactly conducive to housing all of the gear that comes along with it—and no one really likes packing and hauling around camping gear anyway.

So when I heard that Tentrr, a rental site that offers ready-to-go camping adventures, was partnering with New York State Parks to set up 45 fully-outfitted sites throughout four parks this year, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a try.

Here's how it works: Each Tentrr site is equipped with a large canvas tent situated on a wooden platform, as well as a fire pit, a metal grill, a picnic table (with dry food storage), a water container, an outdoor solar shower, and a camp toilet. In the tent, you'll find a cot and (quite comfy) mattress, as well as a tent heater for those chilly nights. Our packing list simply included bedding, utensils for cooking, food, and a few other odds and ends like a small lantern.

Tentrr site on Lake Sebago

Ryan Smith

Our site was situated right on Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park, a little over an hour north of the city. Our camp guide, Robert, greeted us to walk us through the site and answer any questions, a nice touch for those who may be new to camping and need help with building a fire or other basics, but then we were on our own.

Since there was no fumbling with tent stakes or hauling heavy gear back and forth from the car, we were immediately free to sit down and relax—my husband played with our dog, while I took out my fly rod and reeled in a few fish just steps away from our tent. The lack of cell service meant we got to truly enjoy our time disconnected from the world. Even the camp toilet (they call it the "Tentrr Loo") was hassle-free: it was a simple wooden box with a toilet seat and a bucket inside, which you then line with a NASA-developed, eco-friendly CleanWaste bag.

As night fell, we put our own comfy bedding on the mattress (which was covered with a clean waterproof pad), lit our fire, and cooked a delicious dinner of salmon and corn on the cob on the grill. (Beware that bears are a common site in Harriman State Park and have become increasingly food-aggressive in recent years, so we followed best practices by taking our trash to the nearby bear-safe dumpster after we ate and changing out of the clothes we cooked in before we slept.)

Afterward, I had the best night's sleep I've ever had while camping, thanks to not having to sleep on the hard ground while wrestling with a sleeping bag. Even though it was a chilly night in the park, the canvas tent was surprisingly warm—no need to use the provided heater—and even kept us dry during a rain shower the next morning.

Overall, the experience was seamless and enjoyable whether you've backpacked the entire Appalachian Trail or are just discovering the joy of sleeping under the stars, and New York State officials are confident that the sites will provide more New Yorkers with an opportunity to safely get outdoors this summer. "Not everyone has the equipment or the knowledge to enjoy camping in a state park, and this partnership is a great way to introduce this classic outdoor experience to more New Yorkers," State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said.

Reservations for the sites start at $135 per night and can be made on Tentrr's website. A portion of the sales goes to the maintenance and stewardship of New York State Parks.