Camping in a tent in Banff National Park: all well and good, but what if you want a little more luxury, don’t want to spend the night in a hotel, and don’t have the budget to rent an RV? In that case oTENTik might just be your solution.
An oTENTik fits if you do not want to spend a lot of money and still want to experience the wilderness of the Rockies. Without the annoyance of changing clothes while lying down, sweaty air in a small tent and the immediate mess due to the limited space.
Below you’ll find thirteen questions and answers that will help you discover this newest way of camping in Banff National Park. It gives you more insight into the oTENTik phenomenon. See if it suits your needs and desires.
Table of Contents
What is oTENTik?
An oTENTik is a prospector-style tent on a raised wooden floor. It has a wooden A-shaped frame and is equipped with a front door, windows, and a porch. Inside, you’ll find bunk beds. It can fit up to six people.
An oTENTik is midway between a tent and a log cabin. Spending the night in an oTENTik tent is often classified as “glamping” (a contraction of the words “glamorous” and “camping”).
The oTENTik is designed to leave a minimal carbon footprint and no lasting damage on the sites where they are installed.
Capacity: 6 people
Interior dimensions: 4.3 m x 5.3 m (22.8 sq ft) (14.10 ft x 17.39 ft = 245.20 sq. ft)
Passage Height: 1.2 m to 2.2 m (3.94 ft to 7.21 ft)
Material: white pine
Fabrics: Ferrari Precontraint 502 satin (exterior) and natural cotton (interior)
Thermal insulation: 3 seasons, 3 seasons + (walls and roof) or 4 seasons (walls, roof and floor)
Who is oTENTik Suitable for?
oTENTik is suitable for almost everyone, from single men and women, to couples, families, and groups of friends. People with mobility problems better pass up on an oTENTik stay.
What Kind of Facilities Does oTENTik Have?
oTENTik is a reasonably large tent and has room for several simple facilities. These make your camping stay at the campground just a bit more luxurious and convenient than if you were to spend the night in a regular tent.
- 3 to 5 mattresses (single/double)
- Indoor table and bench/chairs
- Lighting (electric, solar or battery-powered)
- Deck with two chairs
- Firepit and propane grill (propane provided)
Optional (depending on campground):
- USB port (electric or solar-powered)
- Heating in most units (wood stove, propane, or electric)
- Deck and garden furniture
- Covered cooking area
You will need to bring some things with you to your oTENTik accommodation. Indispensable are bedding and blankets. Even in the middle of summer; the weather in the Rocky Mountains can change at any moment. You will also need to bring your own cooking equipment such as pots, pans, plates, and cutlery.
Other valuable items to bring:
- Camping chairs
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent
- Matches or lighter
Also, it is helpful to know that each oTENTik location in Banff National Park can accommodate up to two cars.
Do oTENTiks Have a Bathroom?
No, unfortunately, there is no running water in oTENTik. For a toilet or shower, you are dependent on the facilities at your campground.
Where Can I Find oTENTik Sites in Banff National Park?
Parks Canada operates over 400 oTENTiks at 30 locations across the country. In Banff National Park, you’ll find them at two campgrounds (number in parentheses):
- Tunnel Mountain Village II (21)
- Two Jack Lake Lakeside (10)
When is oTENTik Season in Banff?
An oTENTik is equipped with tent cloths that make the shelter suitable for all four seasons. However, those in Banff National Park are suitable for “only” three seasons (excluding winter, that is). Specifically, you can spend the night in an oTENTik from May 13 to October 12.
At the Tunnel Mountain Village II campground, you can stay in an oTENTik from May 13 through October 12. At the Two Jack Lakeside Campground, from May 21 through October 4.
How Much for a Night in oTENTik?
Overnight stay in an oTENTik tent costs CAD 122.64. That includes a campfire permit and firewood. By comparison, a hotel in Banff or Lake Louise will easily cost you over CAD 200 per night.
Granted, you may not compare an oTENTik tent to a hotel, but if you like to spend your vacation or long weekend in the park without spending too much money, oTENTik is a good alternative in terms of price.
How Do I Book oTENTik?
You can book an oTENTik through the [Parks Canada site]. You can also book by phone: +1 877 – 737 3783 (RESERVE). If you are (already) in North America, you can book by calling +1 519 – 826 5391.
What Is the Best Period for an oTENTik Stay?
The best period for an oTENTik overnight stay is obviously in the summer. Nights in the Rockies can be cold, even in summer. But usually, the night temperatures are acceptable.
You can also stay in an oTENTik in the spring and fall. The high-quality tent cloth of the oTENTiks and the wooden walls provide such insulation that you can spend the night in an oTENTik without getting cold, even in spring and fall.
Spending the night in an oTENTik tent in the winter is not possible. Although there are oTENTiks that you can use year-round, this is not possible in Banff.
TIP: If you’re planning on booking an oTENTik stay in summer, I’d like to advise you to also read the post How to Make Sure Mosquites Don’t Ruin Your Stay in Banff. The tips found here can significantly enhance your camping experience.
What Is Not Allowed in oTENTik?
A number of things are not allowed in oTENTiks:
- Cooking, eating, drinking, and storing food to minimize the chance of an incident involving wildlife
Pets: dogs are allowed to stay outside the oTENTik, but must be on a leash at all times
Where Does oTENTik Come from?
oTENTIK is produced in the Canadian province of Quebec by Biome Canada, which conceived and developed oTENTik. The company has been in existence since 2005 and has offices in Quebec City and in Montreal.
Nice, this oTENTik! Can I Buy One Myself?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to buy an oTENTik. Biome Canada has an exclusive contract with Parks Canada. This explains why you will find oTENTik only in Canada.
What Do Users Think of oTENTik?
Not everyone books an oTENTik for the same reason. On Trip Advisor forums, among others, you can find users’ experiences of an oTENTik in Banff, as listed below.
“oTentik is pretty awesome. The tent/cabin was comfortable and clean. Wish there was more than one power outlet available. The tents are a little too close together. It’s best to get one that is on it’s own or travel with friends and book the adjoining site. No bedding, blankets or towels included. BBQ is a decent size considering for bear safety it must be put away after each use. The food locker is a good size and conveniently located.” – Grounded 500
“Wasn’t sure what to expect initially but was pleasantly surprised. It was cold while we were in Banff but the units have a very good heater in them and we stayed warm.” – Matthew h
” Within the Otentik spots there is a cooking shelter in case it rains, 2 spots to wash dishes (1 with warm water) as well as bathrooms with running hot and cold water. Showers are down below near the camper sites. Beds are rock hard so if you can bring a foam mattress pad or even air bed to put on top it might make for a more comfortable sleep!” – parker 362