I grew up camping in the north woods of Minnesota.
I certainly didn’t love camping as a child. While my friends would leave for a few weeks in the summer for exotic places like Des Moines, Six Flags, and Disney World, I would spend 2 weeks swatting away mosquitos and sleeping on the ground. Life seemed very unfair to me as a child.
As an adult, I love camping. Camping provides immunity to the stresses of everyday life. This outdoor world is boiled down to your basic necessities. Shelter. Food. There is no TV to watch, no pressing bills to be paid. Activities involve hiking, eating, drinking and talking with friends and family dimly lit by the orange and red glow of the campfire. What’s not to like?
My husband and I moved to Oregon 5 years ago and have been enamoured with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and the bounty of camping possibilities. As we began camping more and more, I started to see a pattern emerging. On Monday, with wide-eyed enthusiasm, one of us would begin the process of searching online for a campground for the next weekend. By Tuesday, that person would have given up and handed the reins over to the other. By Wednesday, we were both pulling our hair out with frustration that we barely even wanted to go camping anymore. Why is it so hard to find a campground information online?!
What I wanted to see (and wasn’t finding) was a ground level view of what my campsite was going to be like before I arrived. Is it a shady spot? Is it so close to the neighbours I can see what books they’re reading? Can I hear a noisy highway or a burbling brook? These things all make a difference for me when choosing a campground and I wanted this sort of detail and couldn’t find it. I rarely dined out without first checking reviews, and I never booked a hotel without consulting a peer review site, so why couldn’t I do the same with campsites?
So, I did something I never thought I would do. I created The Dyrt, a website to help people find and review campgrounds. I’ve never started a business before or even contemplated it. So this became a journey. I am passionate about camping and I believe that there is a better, less frustrating way to get us all out there. I’m hoping that through user photos, videos and reviews we will all be able to have a more satisfying experience when trying to find a campground online.
As an incentive to get YOU involved, we are having the $3000 Great Camping Giveaway and giving away gift cards this summer. Together, we can take the frustration out of finding a campsite online! You can find out more at www.thedyrt.com.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Sarah Smith grew up hiking, canoeing, and camping in the north woods. She was fortunate to live around the world, traveling to over 40 countries and experiencing adventures such as trekking in Nepal, biking through the United Kingdom, and climbing Mt Fuji. An avid camper, Sarah now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and dog and enjoys exploring the campgrounds and hiking trails of the Pacific Northwest.