They say entrepreneurs should design a product they would use. The Dyrt co-founders Sarah Smith and Kevin Long are going all in on this philosophy by managing their 40-person company from a camper van at campgrounds across the US for at least the rest of 2021.

The husband-and-wife team launched The Dyrt’s camping app in 2017 in response to a lack of available detailed information about campgrounds. They’re now using the Apple and Google Play App Stores’ No. 1-ranked camping app to navigate a cross-country vanlife adventure while logging on and working long, hard startup hours online every day.

The Dyrt founders Kevin Long and Sarah Smith camping with their dog Brandy.

“For over a year, our remote-work policy has been that as long as you have a strong enough data signal to do a video call, you can work from anywhere,” says Long. “We’ve regularly had employees logging on from mountainsides and lakes. It has worked out so well for our employees that Sarah and I realized we could do it too.”

The newest feature of The Dyrt PRO is a cell coverage map rating the signal for each carrier at thousands of campgrounds across the country. Kevin and Sarah are relying heavily on this feature along with The Dyrt PRO’s road-trip planner.

“This is truly an immersive QA exercise,” says Smith. “We’re learning so much about our product. I would challenge any entrepreneur to put themselves in a situation where they are counting on their technology the way their most avid user would.”

“Kevin and Sarah really walk the walk,” says Greg Ennis from Peninsula Ventures. “Remote work is the new norm and The Dyrt’s app allows for one to do this from unique locations across the country. Kevin’s and Sarah’s commitment to the product and user experience is one of the reasons The Dyrt is the No. 1 camping app and why they’re confident in depending on their own technology to manage their company remotely.”

Smith and Long left their home in Portland in late July and stopped at Jenny Lake, Wyoming, which was recently ranked the top campground in the US by The Dyrt camping community. Their travels will take them through dozens of states including Colorado, Virginia and Smith’s home state of Minnesota.

“The more successful The Dyrt has gotten, the less Sarah and I have been able to go camping,” says Long, who used to camp every weekend with Smith. “This is a chance to really immerse ourselves in the camping community again. With our PRO app and existing technology, we can live first-hand what our users experience — without missing a day of work.”


Want to learn more about The Dyrt Co-Founders vanlife journey? See Kevin and Sarah’s campsite reviews on The Dyrt or read their interviews in Geekwire, The Oregonian, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

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