If you aren’t familiar with oTENTiks, you aren’t the only one. Here’s my family’s oTENTik timeline:
2015 – I ask, “What on earth is an oTENTik?”
2016 – I tell everyone, “I LOVE oTENTiks!”
2017 – We’re ONLY staying in oTENTiks from now on!
That pretty much sums up our experience with oTENTiks. This half-cabin, half-tent brought the concept of “glamping” into our home and we were sold… oTENTiks are one of the best ways to experience our National Parks! Here are 10 fun facts about camping/glamping in a Parks Canada oTENTik!
Camping in an oTENTik may be the perfect mix of outdoor adventure and indoor comfort. OTENTiks are large, spacious tents made from waterproof canvas and sturdy wooden poles and are specifically designed for glamping – a combination of the words “glamorous” and “camping.” oTENTiks offer many of the conveniences of home, such as comfy sleeping pads, heating, and electrical lighting, while still providing that quintessential camping feeling by offering plenty of opportunities to commune with the great outdoors. And the name? OTENTik comes from a bilingual play on the French word ‘authentique’, which can be translated as authentic and is pronounced ‘o-tent-eek’. The name touches on the authentic natural experience oTENTiks provide. Whether you are a late-night stargazer or wake with the first birdsong, oTENTiks are perfect for anyone who loves adventures but is looking for a little bit more comfort. So if you’re looking to get away from it all in style, be sure to check out oTENTik camping!
1. Camping in Comfort oTENTik Style – aka: Glamping
Six-inch mattresses, warm heat flowing under a waterproof roof… I do love tenting, but I also love the comforts of home when travelling with a young family. Plus, there is enough room to sleep 6 comfortably! Crumby weather isn’t so bad when you have a warm, dry refuge to snuggle up in… one you didn’t have to bring with you!
2. Location, Location, Location
Our oTENTik stay in Jasper National Park was highlighted by waking up in the morning to a herd of elk at our front step, the baby calves playing tag and rolling in the dirt. Staying inside a National Park, such as in an oTENTik in Jasper, offers you views and experiences that you simply can’t have inside a hotel. Parks Canada put a lot of thought into their oTENTik sites, and the result is that there are no bad oTENTik sites… each and every one of them is in a prime location!
3. Stress-Free Camping Convenience – Relax, Unwind and Have Fun
Don’t get me wrong, I love family tenting trips but when you’re on a road trip, the weather isn’t great, and you have been driving for hours, there’s nothing that makes you feel more spoiled than pulling up to a site that is all set up and ready to welcome you! One of the biggest hurdles for new campers is feeling overwhelmed by the logistics of camping. oTENTiks make it easy – arrive, unpack and enjoy your family time. That’s why you came in the first place, right?
4. Warm and Dry, No Matter the Weather
Some oTENTiks are heated, and when you’re travelling to cooler parks (like Jasper) it’s a great feature that offers ultimate comfort for guests. As a bonus, some heated oTENTiks are open year-round to extend your camping season! It’s not just cold weather that can put a damper on your camping trip… rain can test the mettle of the most seasoned camper. But rain is not an issue in an oTENTik. Wet clothes from your day’s activities? Dry them out quickly and be ready for your next adventure!
Wondering what else Jasper has to offer? Check out my blog post Top 20 Things to do in Jasper
5. Beds and a Table and Chairs, Oh My!
Bunk beds, tables and chairs may seem extravagant when camping, but trust me, they are the first thing you miss when tenting. Never underestimate the joys of being able to sit or lie down somewhere comfortably. While there’s absolutely no eating or food allowed in the tents (this keeps the oh-so-close wildlife from getting even closer), it was great to have the tables and chairs for the kids to colour, play games, or read on, for me to do some writing on, and for general comfort. The chairs are also a great place to hang bathing suits to dry! And the bunk beds provided a make-shift hideaway to read or maybe grab an elusive nap.
6. Space Out in Your oTENTik
You can’t beat the physical space provided by an oTENTik. My husband absolutely loved that he could stand up inside the oTENTik and stretch out… and get dressed. That’s one of the things he hates the most about being in a tent! oTENTiks offer guests more than enough floor space to move around, unpack bags, and get changed. On a rainy afternoon, there’s even space for the kids to play! Twister, anyone?
7. Campfires = Tall Tales and Tasty Treats
Campfires have forever been the ultimate social networking site and that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Whether you’re looking to reconnect with your own troop or meet other people, campfires are a great way to sit back, relax, and truly socialize! And snack on treats, of course… s’mores, banana boats… yum! What’s your favourite campfire snack?
8. Welcome to Your oTENTik Outdoor Kitchen
Food always tastes better when you’re camping. oTENTiks offer you comfortable accommodations while still being able to cook over a camp stove or a campfire. Cooking and eating can be done around the provided picnic table or in the cook shelters found in some oTENTik locations. When I say outdoor office, I don’t mean work. The picnic table is the outside gathering place, perfect for family games and refreshments.
9. The Ultimate Outdoor Drive-In Theatre
Being able to drive in and out of the campsite was a big “plus” for us. Whether we had forgotten ice for the cooler or just felt like getting our day off to an early start, being able to drive in and around the sights was awesome (as compared to a motorhome or a hike-in location). And the sights! Nature always seems to have something new and spectacular to show us.
10. The Price is Right! And You Could be the Next Contestant
At $128 per night, these accommodations are not cheap but also are not expensive for the quality of accommodations and location (see above) that you are getting. We were very happy with the value we received for our dollar. We also loved that once we were at a camp the kids got to take part in Parks Canada’s Xplorers Program, which kept them entertained and learning about the natural environment throughout the day, all for NO COST!
We hope you love staying in an oTENTik as much as our family did! Parks Canada offers oTENTik stays across the country. Booking an oTENTIk is popular, so it’s recommended that you call or book online as soon as the reservation date opens, often in early January.
If you’re inspired to plan your own oTENTik trip please tag us in a photo! We’d love to see other families’ adventures!
What is included in an oTENTik? / What should I bring to an oTENTik?
Do oTENTiks have bathrooms?
No, there are no personal washrooms in an oTENTik. However, public washrooms, many with flush toilets and even showers, are available at Parks Canada oTENTik sites.
How much is oTENTik?
oTENTiks are currently listed at $128 per night.
Are oTENTiks heated?
Yes, most, but not all, oTENTiks are heated with either propane, electric, or wood stove heating. Check out the park-specific oTENTik information for the park you are staying at for detailed information.
Are pets allowed in oTENTiks?
Yes, some oTENTik sites are pet friendly. Book early as there are limited numbers of these sites available.
How do I reserve oTENTik?
Visit Parks Canada’s reservation site for more information and to book your oTENTik stay.
Are you allowed to have a campfire at our oTENTik?
Yes, subject to any local or provincial forest fire regulations. Campfire pits are provided at most oTENTik sites. Firewood is often available for sale at Parks Canada parks, or you can buy and burn local firewood. Help keep our parks beautiful and healthy by not burning deadfall or surrounding trees or brush.
What National Parks have oTENTiks?
There are over 400 oTENTik sites in 30 locations spread over 10 provinces and one territory. So rather than trying to answer this question directly, please visit the Parks Canada oTENTik information page and scroll down to the oTENTik locations section for details! Looking for a local Vancouver area option? There are oTENTiks available at Fort Langley National Historic Site!