Camping is More Popular than Ever
More than 45 million Americans went camping at least once in the 12 months before spring 2015, according to Statista. This is an increase of nearly 3 million participants as compared to 2008. The average camper went camping almost 15 days (14.9 days on average) in 2013, and most are active campers year after year.
The 2014 American Camper Report noted, "Ninety-nine percent of camping participants said they were “likely” or “very likely” to camp next year. In fact, they are planning an average of 4.9 camping trips, with two-thirds planning three or more trips.”
The report found that most camping trips last 1 to 2 nights, with longer trips typically occurring in summer. Forty percent of adult campers (ages 18 and older) traveled 150 miles or less to their destination, while 23% stayed within 50 miles of home. State parks are by far the most popular camping destination for adults, with 43% having camped in a state park.
It turns out the simple act of camping is the biggest reason why people take part in this activity. Forty-seven percent of campers surveyed cited that camping itself was their primary motivator. Rounding out the 5 top reasons Americans go camping were:
- To escape the grind
- To spend time with family and friends
- An equal mix of camping and sports activities
- To teach my kids/next generation about the outdoors
Tents remain the most popular and essential piece of camping gear among campers of all ages, followed by sleeping bags, firewood/fire starters, airbed/mattress and bug spray. The most popular camping-related purchase in 2013, however, was battery lighting. Twenty-five percent of adults reported buying battery lighting. Propane or liquid fuel lighting was the second most popular camping-related purchase.
Fueled lanterns are the most frequently replaced or purchased camping-related item (every 1.9 years, on average) while tents and sleeping bags, by comparison, are replaced every 3.8 and 3.7 years, respectively.
For first-time campers, propane or liquid fuel lighting was the most commonly purchased item, with 41% buying fuel lighting before their inaugural camping trip. Thirty-six percent bought battery lighting and/or sleeping bags, 25% purchased portable grills, 21% bought airbeds, while 20% bought coolers, backpacks or camp furniture.
Forty-nine percent of campers in 2013 were employed, while 27% were students and not employed. Most adults research camping-related items before buying. “Forty-two percent of participants — and 52% of those ages 18 to 34 — did online research, checked out the item in a store then made the purchase in the store,” according to the 2014 American Camper Report.