The ideal “campground” might be in your backyard or home.
Backyard camping is a timeless outdoor experience, but it can come at a cost—time, spent figuring out meals, pitching the tent, blowing up air mattress and everything else that goes along with prepping for a night or two under the stars. Luckily, Pitched Mpls. brings glitzy and glamorous camping experiences right to your backyard and home.
Kenny Young, a transplant from southern California, made the trek to Minnesota to attend North Central University, where he met his wife, Autumn. In 2019, Young, deciding to take time away from his career in ballet, was thinking about starting his own business, so he could spend more time with Autumn and their two children.
“I kept asking myself, ‘What kind of business?’” Young says. “I’m an Enneagram [a system that describes human personality] eight, so I’m fueled by mission and purpose … I was thinking, ‘How can I get families together? How can I make quality time easy, accessible and different?’”
Drawing from his personal background, as well as his love of nature, Young decided to bring backyard camping to people’s homes—with a twist. “In the development stage, my wife and I thought, ‘Anyone could have a Coleman tent’ … What if we took it to the next level?” he says.
Young officially formulated Pitched Mpls., on March 7, 2020—just six days before the first COVID shutdown. “We deliver the complete glamping experience to backyards,” Young says. Each experience is complete with a weather-proof canvas tent and comfort items, such as rugs, chairs and a memory foam bed. There are also add-on items, including an in-tent movie theatre—popular for a movie night under the stars, according to Young—or a picnic table with floor pillow seating.
Though Young did not rent out any tents until April 2020, he says the business gained speed from that point. “In April, we rented one tent. May had two tents. June had three tents. July had four tents,” he says. “Every weekend, we were booked. I had to create a waitlist.”
For Wayzata residents Ryan and Kristin Rivard, date night does not come easy. “We have four kids … Which makes it difficult to get away long enough for a simple conversation, much less dinner and a movie,” Kristin says.
So, Ryan called Young at Pitched Mpls., and Kristin called in the grandparents to babysit. Since Young sets everything up, from the tent to the movie screen and projector, the Rivards could enjoy an evening without having to lift a finger. “We got take-out, talked and enjoyed an old classic film like we did in our pre-kid days,” Kristin says. “Except, this time, our tent had some pretty rad accommodations, unlike the camping we did in our 20s on a bed of sticks and rocks.” Kristin adds, “The best part was we literally didn’t have to do anything … So dreamy!”
Kelly Gigerich of Wayzata hired Pitched Mpls. for a unique experience for her daughter. “I love the idea of camping in the backyard, but I never want to set it all up,” Gigerich says. “Pitched does all the work and creates a boho glamping experience. My girls and all her friends loved it!”
While the Pitched backyard glamping experience was a hit, it was not conducive for colder weather. “In theory, you could sleep in these tents when it’s zero degrees outside,” Young says. “But we thought, ‘What if we brought a tent experience inside?’”
Young and his team decided to focus on bringing the camping experience to kids and developed the Pitched Tiny Tents experience. Clients can choose to have two to six tents, all of which come with a memory foam twin bed, linens, themed décor, pillows, string lighting and a bedside table. The experience also includes a Pitched mug, North Mallow cocoa and an eye mask for keeping, plus a customizable letter board for the event. There are also add-ons, including an instant print camera and film or the popular in-tent theater. “It’s much more for sleepovers, birthday parties or fun things with grandma,” Young says.
Though Young started the business with only Autumn and four tents, Pitched has grown into a team dedicated to providing backyard or in-home events and includes a Tiny Tents coordinator, part-time employees and seven tents—though Young plans to increase his tent inventory in order to decrease the need for waitlists. “Through this business, I’m able to serve people,” Young says. “It has been a really cool and fulfilling experience. It keeps me motivated every day.”