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Popularity of Camping and Camping Equipment is Climbing


The allure of slowing down and sleeping under the stars is drawing more people to camp. Whether it's car camping, an extended camping vacation or just setting up the tent in the backyard for a fun sleepover, 2018 looks to be a good year for campers and camping alike.


While participation in some outdoor activities such as golf and water skiing has stagnated or dropped, there has been a near 5% (4.98%) increase in the number of campers from 2017 to 2018. This year, 42,141,000 Americans (ages six and older) are expected to go camping. That number represents the highest camping participation rate since 2011.


According to KOA's 2018 North American Camping Report, “the percentage of campers who report they camp more than three times each year has grown by 64% since 2014.”


Millennials, in particular, are finding fulfillment in camping.


Nearly half of Millennials who camp said they expect to camp more in 2018 than they did last year. And Gen-Xers aren't far behind: 46% of this generation's campers expect to take more camping trips this year.  By comparison, 37% of Baby Boomers and 29% of those over 70 plan to camp more often in 2018. 


Camping Participation 2018

The rise in camping participation has seen a corresponding uptick in the wholesale sales of camping equipment over the past 10 years. In particular, the categories of sleeping bags/air beds, backpacks and cooler/chests have seen robust sales during this period. Wholesale sales of backpacks jumped from $375 million in 2007 to nearly $616 million in 2017. 


Camping Wholesaler Sales 2018

And the camping equipment market is projected to enjoy continued growth over the next three years.


Technavio has forecast the U.S. camping equipment market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.72%  from 2017 to 2021.


The research firm notes growing demand for ultra-lightweight tents, instant tents and “smart” backpacks will be key drivers to this industry's growth. Smart backpacks will be distinguished by their light weight and feature technologies such as GPS, USB ports and Bluetooth-enabled locks.


“The demand for smart backpacks is increasing in the region owing to factors such as the strong government support for outdoor activities, an increase in the number of camping and trekking sites, and an increase in the affordability of trips among consumers,” according to Technavio. “The U.S. and Canada will be the major revenue contributors to the market in this region and this will mainly attribute to the availability of promising facilities for adventure activities.”


Another bright spot in the industry is the camping lights and lanterns market, which is projected to achieve a CAGR of greater than 7% during the 2017-2021 period. 


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