Key Findings From the 2018 North American Camping Report

Kampgrounds of America, Inc. has released its 2018 North American Camping Report, an annual benchmark study for the camping industry.

This year’s study found that the total number of active campers is rapidly accelerating across all ethnicities and age groups. Since 2014, more than 6 million new North American households have adopted the camping lifestyle. Now, there are more than 77 million camping households in the U.S. which is about 61 percent of the total population. This figure is expected to increase, too, as interest is growing among retiring baby boomers and younger millennials. Thirty-nine percent of new campers plan to increase their participation this year.

This new generation of campers is very diverse. In fact, new campers are now more diverse than the overall U.S. population. Half of the newest campers were from non-white groups last year, and the largest growth came from campers of Asian descent.

One of the most interesting parts of the study focused on how campers are using technology outdoors.

  • 97 percent of all campers claimed that they bring some sort of technology with them while camping.
  • 93 percent of campers bring mobile devices with them on trips, although a third claimed that they only do so for safety purposes and leave them turned off.
  • 4 out of 10 camper households claim that having access to WiFi or cellular service impacts the amount they camp.
  • Just one fourth of respondents said it’s important to share camping experiences on social media.
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Technology seems to have a stronger role outside of the woods, as it’s helping to coordinate trips, educate campers and spread awareness.

“Camping is a highly social activity, and with that, we are seeing campers turning to their social circles or other camping influencers for information and resources, including borrowing or renting RVs and gear. It’s this social nature – both on and off the campground – that continues to reduce barriers and fuel the growth of annual camping in North America,” stated KOA president Toby O’Rourke. “With reduced barriers and the desire of campers to connect with nature and each other, it is no surprise that camping is fast becoming a fundamental component of an outdoor lifestyle.”

As far as gear is concerned, tents are still the most popular type of shelter for camping. Sixty-one percent of campers claim that tents are their primary method of shelter, while about 24 percent use an RV. New campers, it should be noted, are gravitating towards cabins and are using them more than RVs.

You can read the full study by clicking here.

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