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Why is Camping Growing by Record Numbers?

Mankind and Mother Nature have always been allies in the search and provision of solitude and tranquility. The demographics of those who enjoy being outside, whether absorbing the sun’s rays on the beaches and lakes, or taking a nap in the shade of the mammoth green trees soaring high from the mountain side, is growing in record numbers. People are discovering that there’s no better stress reliever than abandoning the city life for the peaceful sights and sounds of the great outdoors.

This irresistible craving for the countryside has neither demographical limits, nor cultural boundaries, and the number of North Americans that are leaving their cityscapes and heading to the hills is rapidly increasing—and has been for years. In fact, a recent study conducted by Cairn Consulting Group, and sponsored by KOA, revealed in the North American Camping Report that 3.4 million U.S. households have become avid campers over the last three years, and 48% of North American campers intend on camping more in 2017 than in previous years. More than half of them will be taking their children along.

One group of people that has, of late, shown a great deal of interest in camping, is the Millennial generation. This term is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. Not only are they embracing the camping lifestyle, they are doing so in record numbers. Interestingly, Millennials comprise 31% of the adult population, yet they account for 38% of campers! When polled, more than half of the Millennials stated that they intend on camping more in 2017, not unlike the general population.

So, this information begs the question, “Why is camping growing at such record numbers?”.

Aside from the growing Millennial interest, there are other factors nudging up the camping statistics. For instance:

Generation Z – This last North American Camping Report includes a survey conducted towards teenagers, and their attitudes about camping. This would be the “Generation Z” (those born between approximately mid-1990s and the early 2000s). These teens have definite opinions about the reasons they like camping, but the prevalent answer is that it allows them time to spend outdoors with family. Interestingly, more than half of the teens report that camping allows them to unplug from their electronics. In fact, 71% of them have stated that if they had to completely disconnect from technology, they would. This is in contrast to the adults’ reasoning for wanting to maintain internet access (see below).

Asian Spike – Over the past few years there has been a substantial increase in the number of campers of Asian descent. In 2016, 14% of new campers fit into this demographic, which is a shift from the overall Asian population statistics. This elevation in numbers is attributed to the younger crowd in this cultural group, as 43% of them say that they have started camping in just the last few years. In addition, the older Asian campers are likely to be new to camping, as 25% of them have indicated that they started recently. There is, however, a definite distinction between the older and younger Asian crowd. Those who fall into the Millennial category report spending over half of their camping nights in state or national parks, while the baby boomers and mature crowd report that they spend almost 75% of their camping nights in the parks.

Staying Connected – Of the overall number of U.S. campers polled, 37% stated that technology has been a big factor in allowing them to start camping more. The access to the internet allows them to keep in touch by receiving work emails and checking in with work when needed. On an average, those who indicated that the access to technology allows them more camping, stay an average of two more days than they normally would. Conversely, the teen crowd of Generation Z indicated that most of them would still go camping, even if it meant disconnecting from their screens.

These are a few of the causes of the recent increase in our country’s campers. However, the biggest reason is simply that more and more people are discovering the joy and relaxation that comes from exploring the great outdoors. It tends to get “in your blood” and instill a desire for more and more stress-free travel right here in our great nation.

Cruise America is happy to be a big contributor to the convenience of getting away, renting and selling RVs to those who don’t have one, and providing them with the most pleasant experience they could ever imagine. That’s why they keep coming back for more!

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