Bryan Rooney calls it glamorous camping, or “glamping.” Whatever it’s called, it’s what his business, Triangle Adventure Outfitters, offers to employees of local companies.
People like the idea of camping, he says, but preparing a trip is a lot of work and difficult to fit into busy schedules.
“They don’t have time to get ready for camping,” Rooney said. “With us, all they have to bring is a blanket or sleeping bag and themselves. We set up the tents, cook the food and lead the activities.”
He calls it “five-star gourmet camping.”
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“We’re trying to make it a home away from home,” he said.
Triangle Adventure Outfitters got its start in 2011, but it wasn’t until a few years that he solidified his business model. Rooney was introduced to an activities director at Cary-based SAS, who helped to unlock the potential. SAS, known globally for its employee benefits, was interested in offering outdoor trips to its employees that would include team building.
Rooney, a longtime Cary resident who studied outdoor education at Appalachian State University, seized the opportunity.
Triangle Adventures Outfitters promotes a healthy lifestyle through outdoor corporate wellness retreats. Most itineraries take advantage of North Carolina’s natural wonders. In warmer months, trips include rafting and mountain biking. One camping spot is near a number of the state’s waterfalls.
“We see seven falls in two and a half days,” Rooney said.
In addition to longer trips, there are local day and overnight hikes on greenways and in parks.
The popularity of the early trips led SAS to begin subsidizing the program for its employees.
“Now, a good portion of the work the recreation coordinator does there is the administrative side for these trips,” Rooney said. “They put a lot of money into the program.”
He said his company’s excursions offer the staff members a taste of adventure and some family time, too, which can’t be found on-site.
“The people on our trips are not into regular yoga and aerobics,” he said. “It is a bonding experience. Family and friends can come, too.
“They are more than willing and excited to take part in that because their employer is helping to pay for it.”
Rooney tells of a couple who participated in a trip last spring. Since then, they haven’t missed a SAS-sponsored trip.
“The wife had never camped before, and now they own their own tent,” he said. “They usually get there the night before and make the most of the weekend.”
He says the team building happens naturally.
“We don’t do trust falls or walking on logs,” Rooney said.
Rooney leads most of the trips along with several guides, all of whom have some sort of wilderness medical certification.
Rooney is hoping to grow the company with other businesses and to continue to make the outdoors his office.
“There’s a lot of interest out there,” he said. “People just haven’t heard our name yet. We’re right on the edge. We have a lot of solid agendas and itineraries set up.
“It’s so much fun,” he said. “It’s a dream job. It’s what I went to school for. We’re very serious about having fun.”