Glamping, for the unhip, is camping with glamour. Spacious, permanently-erected tents provide every outdoor comfort from widescreen TV to a wood-burning stove. And many of these “safari tents” are now manufactured in Wellington.
Steve Hansford, founder and MD of Boldscan, explained his company’s fascinating 27-year journey into canvas when he hosted a group of Wellington Business Association members for their monthly meeting.
The company’s first contracts were for the Army, via local military vehicle specialists Supacat, in advance of the first Gulf War in 1992. Boldscan still does MoD work, including seat covers for the Jackal armoured personnel vehicles.
Then came an expansion into tents via a marquee manufacture and hire business, which was eventually sold. At the same time Boldscan developed an ongoing skill in fabric printing of everything from banners to insulation bags.
“But it’s really the safari tents where the expansion of the business lies,” explained Steve. He’s passionate about making as much as possible of every tent in-house. That includes, tent poles, tent pegs and even the wood-burning stoves themselves.
Many of Boldscan’s 20+ staff have been with the company for years and have learnt complex skills in laser-cutting, machining, and printing. “It’s still difficult to find machinists,” said Steve. “People aren’t always interested in making things – which is a mystery to me as I find it so satisfying.”