Sleep in a cocoon tent: Canadian parks test out quirky camping digs
Karolyn Coorsh , CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, August 10, 2016 6:30AM EDT
Ever dreamed of sleeping in a teardrop-shaped cabin suspended in the trees? How about a cocoon tent overlooking the sea?
In a newly launched pilot project aimed at attracting more campers to the country’s outdoor spaces, Parks Canada has installed quirky and cosy cabins and shelters that let you sleep in the great outdoors without the hassle of pitching a tent.
The funky shelters, including a tent suspended in the air and a micro-home on wheels, were already turning heads when they opened to visitors earlier this summer.
The Goutte d’O, an electric-blue cabin that resembles a water droplet was installed at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. Located on the Point Wolfe campsite, the shelter has been bringing curious campers in for a closer look.
“I thought it was a piece of artwork, to be honest,” camper Jamie Bocking said. “I thought it was just some kind of special industrial design competition, or something like that, I didn’t know it was an actual place to stay.”
The Goutte d’O has a six-square-metre interior, and features a sofa bed on the main level and a hammock loft above.
Parks Canada says, ideally, the Goutte d’O would be suspended among the trees or on stilts. However, for the pilot phase, it is installed on a wooden platform instead.
Camper Janice Kelly was also intrigued by the structure and says her children would’ve “loved” to have stayed in the Goutte d’O when they were little.
“It’s like a little treehouse and I totally could see my husband and I down below, and just piling all the kids up above and having a great adventure,” Kelly said.
In Cape Breton’s Highlands National Park, campers can try out the Cocoon Tree Bed, a “spherical accommodation” that is suspended in the trees at Ingonish Beach. The tent, accessed by stairs, contains a mattress and can accommodate up to four people.
“Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the magnificent view of the sea while being suspended in the Cocoon Tree Bed,” reads the Parks Canada accommodation listing.
Other accommodations in the pilot project include two “tiny homes” on wheels in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, and a contemporary “micro-cube” cabin being tested out at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba and Forillon National Park in Quebec’s Gaspe region.
The two-person “double-tent” accommodation, which consists of a smaller interior tent inside a larger tent, is also located at Riding Mountain and Forillon.
Anne Bardou, a product developer with Parks Canada, says she hopes the innovative cabins will encourage more people to try camping.
“More and more, people are looking to do a little more luxury camping, and they don’t want to have the hassle of packing a tent,” Bardou said in a recent interview with CTV Atlantic.
The quirky digs are available for lodging until Oct. 10, weather permitting. It costs campers $55 to $160 per night, depending on the type of accommodations.
Though the structures are not heated, the cabins still help extend the camping season by offering enclosed accommodations. Campers are expected to bring their own bedding, pillow, cooking equipment and toiletries.
The shelters will stay in their current locations until Thanksgiving, when Parks Canada will decide which ones, if any, will become permanent fixtures in parks across Canada.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a slightly more traditional abode in a park, Parks Canada has also recently introduced oTENTik tents – cabins on campsites that include three beds for campers “to discover the joys of camping without all the muss and fuss.”
In partnership with outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op Select, select parks also offer “equipped campsites” for those who prefer to travel light or don’t own any camping gear such as cooking equipment.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke