Camping has significantly increased in popularity, with latest figures in 2018 showing 1.4 million households camped for the first time. In 2016 the number and demographics of camping participants was 40.5 million Americans, or 13.7% of the population over the age of 6 in 2016. This is up by 500,000 campers in 2015. Camping days logged by campers totalled 587.2 million, an average of 14.5 days per person.
Since 2014, there has been a 72% increase in the number of campers who camp three or more times a year demonstrating the increase in camping over the years. Camping has become hugely popular amongst the younger generation as 56% of campers are Millennials, however, it is still very common amongst Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.
So why do people go camping? Many people look to camp as an opportunity to escape from their busy lives and connect with nature. 34% of people take their first trip because they have a love for the outdoors, making it the number one reason as to why people enjoy it. From glamping with luxuries to sleeping under the stars, this type of trip truly caters to everyone.
77 million households in the U.S. contain someone who camps.
Since 2014, 6 million households have taken up camping. 64% of them go out three or more times a year.
In 2018, 4 million families camped for the first time. 51% of these campers were from non-white groups.
In 2018, 8% of those who camped, stayed in the backcountry, whereas 65% chose to stay in campsites.
1 million families in Canada like to camp.
56% of campers are Millennials.
Over the last couple of years, 40 million people took RV trips.
28 million Americans camped in 2018.
47% of campers spent between $51 and $200 on camping equipment in 2016.
There was a 64% increase in the number of Americans going camping in 2018.
Every year 1 million new families in the U.S. start camping.
81% of campers say their main goal is to spend time with their family and friends.
13 million families would like to camp more in 2017 compared to 2016.
The top five words associated with this industry are Outdoors (89%), Campfire (89%), Fun (84%), Tent (83%) and adventure (80%).
On average, trips are planned 25 days in advance.
There have been 7 million new camper households in the U.S. since 2014.
There has been a 72% increase in the percentage of campers who camp 3 or more times annually since 2014.
66% of families say that the number of times they camp will increase in 2019.
In 2018, families choosing to camp has grown by 4 million, reaching an all-time high of 78.8 million.
There has been a 22% increase since 2014 in the number of families who camp at least once a year.
There has been a 72% increase since 2014 in the percentage of campers who camp three or more times a year.
5% of families stated that they camped for the first time in 2018.
There has been a 17% increase in the percentage of families who camp with children over the past five years.
66% of teens and 51% of children say that they are enthusiastic about camping.
There has been a 46% increase in campers who intend to camp more often since 2014.
84% of campers stated that they intend to camp more in 2019.
The North American Camping Report has discovered since 2014 the interest in this type of vacation has dramatically increased, there are now 7 million new camper households in the U.S. It is rising in popularity because of its affordability, the range of activities available, as well as it being the perfect opportunity for families to spend quality time together. It allows those who love the wilderness and want to enjoy the fresh air a chance to escape to nature whilst being close to home if they wish.
In 2018, families choosing to camp grew by 1.4 million, reaching an overall all-time high of 78.8 million households. Camping statistics show people are expressing an interest in all forms, from luxury glamping to the standard tent. Ultimately, it caters to everyone as people are finding exciting and alternative ways to camp that suits their needs. 84% of campers stated that they intend to camp more in 2019, demonstrating the immense interest in this type of trip, even in the digital age.
10 was the average age for a first camping trip.
48% of campers stated that other people introduced them to camping. Younger campers stated that they were introduced to it by their families.
32% of Millennials and 38% of Generation Xers now identify themselves as lifelong campers in comparison to past years.
50% of millennials stated that life events such as increased income or having children permitted them to camp more often.
90% of teen campers say they plan to camp as adults.
38% of the 75 million household campers are Millennials. This has increased by 34% since 2016.
In 2018, 51% of new campers are from multicultural groups whereas Caucasian campers account for 49%.
11% of all camping households are Hispanic, making up the largest non-white group of campers.
22% of new campers in 2018 were Hispanic and are the fastest-growing group based on ethnicity.
Since 2015, the number of Hispanic camper households using tents has dropped whilst the use of cabins has increased by 10%.
74% of Hispanics are the most likely to camp with multiple generations of family members. They are also more likely to camp with larger groups of campers.
The percentage of same-sex couples camping has increased to 8% in 2018.
Millennials are more likely to camp in larger social groups including friends and family.
Generation X campers are more likely to camp with a significant other.
60% of households take at least one trip that includes multiple generations. This has increased by 56% since 2015.
Statistics show Millennials have amplified the popularity in this industry as they represent the bulk of new campers in 2018 making up 38% of the 75 million household campers. This has increased by a whopping 34% since 2016. Millennials are also the most likely generation to camp in larger social groups whether this is with family or friends. 90% of teenagers stated that they will continue to camp in the future, demonstrating why it has become so popular amongst millennials. Taking a camping trip is still very strong amongst the older generation, such as Generation Xers and Baby Boomers as 44% of new campers are 40 years and older.
It has become very popular amongst multicultural groups, accounting for 51% of new campers. Camping has become particularly popular amongst Hispanics and they are the fastest-growing group based on ethnicity making up 22% of new campers in 2018.
40% of the adventure tourism market is dominated by Europe.
The Mountain Region has a camping participation rate of 19%, making it the highest in the U.S.
13% of trips to campgrounds were under 50 miles from home in 2014. This has risen to 31% in 2018.
54% of campers travel less than 100 miles from home to their destination.
60% of nights are spent in public campgrounds or public land.
56% of baby boomers and 54% of mature campers are less likely to change their travel habits.
Younger campers are more likely to extend their trips and include more weekends away.
Since 2015, camping in national parks and state parks has declined. However, in 2018, in national parks and state parks amongst African American/Black and Asian it is at an all-time high.
40% of households say that the campsite’s quality has the most impact on their selection, specifically older campers. 25% stated that the atmosphere in the camp is an influential factor.
In 2018, the top factors that influence the campground selection were campground atmosphere (24%), campground location (22%), quality of campsites at the campground (18%), availability of the cabins (9%), the types of sites available (12%), the onsite recreations opportunities (5%) and Wi-Fi availability (3%).
40% of millennials and generation Xers stated that recreation is an important factor in their vacation experience. 37% of baby boomers and 34% of mature campers agree.
50% of campers believe that clean bathrooms are the most important factor when staying at a campsite.
23% believe that allowing pets is the most important factor, 21% believe being child-friendly is the most important and 20% stated that offering recreational activities is the most important.
90% of campers leave campsites to take part in other activities, such as sightseeing, dining or other outdoor recreational opportunities.
43% of campsite reservations are made on the day of arrival.
Western U.S. campers and Canadian campers are more likely to travel long distances for their camping trips.
More so in the last 4 years, it has become common for people to travel closer to home to camp, specifically amongst the younger generation. 13% of trips were under 50 miles from home in 2014, this has risen to 31% in 2018.
Statistics show it has also become a popular escape for those who want to remain healthy with 90% of campers leaving campsites to take part in other activities. Campers are looking to take part in adventure activities like rock climbing or hiking, specifically in European locations as 40% of the adventure tourism market is dominated there. Campsite quality is the most important factor when selecting a campsite, specifically clean bathrooms as 50% of campers stated that clean bathrooms are the most important factor when selecting a campsite.
There are 30 million RV enthusiasts nationwide, including renters.
11% of U.S. households (35-54-year olds) own an RV.
Hispanic campers are seeking new ways of camping and types of experiences, they are most likely to want to try an RVing experience (58%) or to experience “van life” (22%).
29% of RV owners are couples with children.
60% of campers do so in tents and it is the primary type of accommodation.
60% of new campers are staying in recreational vehicles, cabins or other accommodation.
Cabins have increased in popularity with 21% of Millennials, 22% of Generation X and 33% of Baby Boomers staying in cabins.
45% of Canadian households tried out new accommodation in 2018 and 33% of Canadians said that they would like to try a luxury cabin in 2019.
Glamping trends show it has increased in popularity with 50% of Millennials and nearly 50% of Generation Xers.
20% of Millennials are interested in giving unique lodging a try but continue to gravitate towards staying in tents.
8 million people in the U.S. participated in backyard, car or RV camping in 2017.
Canadian campers represent the highest rate of RV owners (64%).
46% of Canadian camper households are interested in a glamping experience.
50% of campers stated that they would like to experience glamping in the coming year. This has doubled over the past 12 months.
This choice of accommodation offers the best of both worlds. Not all campsites mean that indulgences must be sacrificed as there are many luxury options such as glamping that follow the traditional camping trend whilst having additional comforts. Glamping comes in many forms, offering campers a chance to experience the outdoors whilst living with more facilities and still being low cost. 50% of campers stated that they would like to experience glamping in the coming year, this has doubled over the past 12 months.
The instability of Brexit has caused many holidaymakers to remain in the UK, staycations have become a phenomenon leading to an increase in camping holidays. Americans are the largest market for the RV industry with 40 million people in the U.S going away in their RV, giving them the chance to escape the hustle and bustle.
96% enjoy camping with family and friends and feel healthier because of the benefits of outdoor activities.
50% of younger campers say their family inspired this type of travel.
60% of older campers state that it was the love of outdoors that inspired this lifestyle.
The top five influences for people taking their first trip are: the love for the outdoors (34%), thinking it will be fun (32%), due to their significant other (30%), spending time with their family (27%), and to escape the grind (26%).
Camping has a variety of meanings for all campers. 50% of younger campers have been introduced to it at a young age and therefore see it as a tradition that they want to continue. It is a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with others, in fact, 96% of campers enjoy spending time with family and friends.
It also gives people the opportunity to explore nature, improve their health, develop life skills, and gives them the chance to escape from everyday stresses. Many campers have found that they are a lot healthier because of the outdoor benefits it provides.
Physical pursuits whilst on this type of trip have increased since 2014. Hiking/backpacking has increased by 14%, canoeing/kayaking has increased by 11% and biking has increased by 6% since 2014.
85% of adults state that the participation of children in outdoor activities is significant.
Hiking (50%) outranks fishing (44%) as the most popular form of recreation.
The younger campers listed fishing (73%) and hiking (60%) as their favourite activities. Sightseeing (42%), biking (40%) and canoeing (33%) were also popular activities amongst younger campers.
Camping is known to be the perfect chance to escape to nature and therefore recreational activities such as hiking, canoeing and biking are extremely popular activities. Hiking is the most popular activity according to 50% of campers. Campers also go out of campsites to sightsee as well as dine in local restaurants.
Attending music festivals is also a very significant activity for campers. It has increased in popularity whist being at a music festival, rising to 19% in 2018. The UK music scene is commonly associated with camping at festivals such as Bestival, Reading, Creamfields and Glastonbury.
$3 billion was spent on camping equipment in 2017 in the US.
The flashlight was the most popular purchase.
96% of campers stated that their outdoor gear kept them comfortable.
The top five most essential items were: a tent (61%), a sleeping bag (38%), bug spray (24%), cooler or fridge (23%) and firewood (22%).
A huge $3 billion was spent on camping equipment in 2017. A large proportion of expenditure was spent on backpacks and sleeping bags, but it is the flashlight that is the most popular purchase.
Every camper and experience is different, it is hugely dependent on the type of experience the individual wants when they camp. Many people camp with the spirit of adventure in mind, enjoying making their own entertainment, living with the bare minimum and being more self-sufficient. However, there are also campers who bring fridges, kettles and TV’s on their trip, so they aren’t without luxuries.
34% of campers unplug by having their smartphone with them but not turning it on.
97% of campers will bring some form of technology.
The importance of Wi-Fi or internet access has declined from 37% to 29% since 2017.
For many, having a mobile phone is a necessity, often for safety reasons as it provides a form of communication in case of emergencies. This may explain why 97% of campers bring some form of technology with them when they go to a campground.
Camping is often seen as a great opportunity to have a digital detox and has become increasingly common which is why the importance of the internet whilst camping has declined over the years. People enjoy this type of trip because it gives them an opportunity to be at one with nature and focus on interacting with the world around them. There are also a lot of apps that help campers enhance their experience, such as games and online maps.