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‘Roughing it’ with style and luxury in the great outdoors

Wild Havens has grown to offer customers a wide range of tenting experiences, all set up just about anywhere around the province
Cheekye Ranch-TaraLillyPhotography322 (1)
Wild Havens Pop-up Glamping set up at Cheekye Ranch in Squamish.

Do you remember the fun you had as a kid erecting a makeshift tent in your bedroom, living room, or even down the end of your garden?

It was your own private space - a magical spot to wile away the day with independence and daydreams.

While for many those experiences have translated into camping in the wilderness, or even a manicured campground, imagine all of the enchantment of tenting, but with a lot more luxury.

Laura and Richard Joce did.

More than that, they experienced it first-hand on a trip to the UK for a friend’s wedding five years ago when they were introduced to “glamping” - the term for “glamourous camping” - with a festival-style event that had guests accommodated in plushly appointed tents designed to take the rough edges off the great outdoors.

Coming back to Canada, the couple, who were in search of an idea for a business, decided they’d set up their own “glamping” endeavour to bring a touch of luxury to the tenting set.

That’s how Wild Havens Pop-Up Glamping was born.

“We realized no one was doing that here,” Laura says.

Today, the business has grown to offer customers a wide range of tenting experiences, from elopements and wedding suites to large relaxing lounge-sized tents and full-blown wedding villages, all set up just about anywhere in the province.

“Customers choose where they want the tent, they book us, and we come to set it up and make it look amazing,” Richard says, adding Provincial parks are a popular choice for family glamping weekends, but there are many great wedding venues they have worked with, in our corridor as well as further a field.

“We are Sea to Sky based and have done a lot of camps locally, but we can go pretty much wherever a customer wants.”

Reaction to the concept was initially slow, mainly because it was a new idea. But the business gathered momentum as more people caught on to the concept of glamping for their special event.

“We’ve also done work for movie companies and taken tents up onto glaciers for them,” Richard says.

At the core of the business is their collection of 54 bell tents that, in total, can shelter 150 people.

“The average camping tent is made out of nylon, with a frame and poles,” Richard explains. “They are great because they are lightweight, but it’s like sleeping in a carrier (shopping) bag. They can get really hot and uncomfortable.”

Their bell tents feature a single, central pole, and the covering is a tightly weaved, water-proofed, cotton canvas.

“They are spacious and very breathable,” Richard says, adding they have, with the addition of small space heaters, rented them to customers even in winter.

Inside, you can have a tent fully furnished with comfy (wood-framed, memory foam mattress) beds, chairs, lighting, and even a power bank with charging ports for phones and laptops. Or you can opt for a “blank canvas” - basically an empty tent - and furnish it yourself.

“Often, people like to pick and choose the furnishings,” Laura says, adding with the addition of their lounge tent - the largest in their inventory - customers have requested to divide the space with decor befitting a lounge area and a dressing room space.

“That way, they can use for pre-wedding preparations, and also as a space in the evening for guests,” she says.

For more information on how you can enjoy your own glamping experience in the great outdoors, check out their website at wildhavens.ca.