Camping was once considered the activity of the Caucasian male, but the recent 2018 North American Camping Report from Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) suggests that camping has become something beloved by all ethnicities.
According to the report, there was an increase of 2.6 million new camper households in 2017 and representation among all ethnicities is beginning to appear more like the overall population.
“Building on 2017 report findings, campers at all experience levels and among all ethnicities continue to express the desire to camp more and are equally likely to say they intend to increase their camping trips in 2018,” the report stated.
Pushing the drive of camping is, along with the natural health benefits of the great outdoors, are accessibility and the addition of social media to the camping foray.
“I probably never would have stepped foot into the mountains for more than a hike, if it hadn’t been for a Facebook group that got me into the idea of camping,” said David Cisneros, 33, Aurora, who went on his first camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in 2017 and has already gone three times this year with plans to make at least four more trips to campgrounds around Colorado. “I honestly have seen more of the state through camping than I ever would have by taking day trips. And I’ve lost like 15 pounds in the process, just because it removed me from what I would call a sedentary lifestyle.”
Cisneros isn’t alone, as many millennials have taken advantage of some of the more 21st century accommodations that campgrounds have begun to offer in order to further their appeal.
“While previous research demonstrated bugs, safety, security and/or campers not knowing anyone who camped as primary barriers to camping, those barriers are waning with technology and social media serving as access portals to helpful information both prior to and during the camping experience,” the KOA reports states. “Further, according to campers who say access to cell or Wi-Fi service has a great deal of impact on the length of their trips, they are able to take almost a full week extra of time camping.”
Furthermore, in the report the president of KOA, Toby O’Rourke offered that “camping is a highly social activity, and with that, we are seeing campers turning to their social circles or other camping influences 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 growth of annual camping in North America.”
The updates to technology do not always sit well with traditional campers, but they do make the activity appealing to younger generations and families.
“I am an Eagle Scout and kind of learned camping the hard way, if you will,” said Peter Jacobs, 44, Centennial, who camps with his wife and three children at least three weeks every summer. “With three daughters in tow, and two of them under 8, I’ve learned that it’s better to just enjoy the time together than worrying about them not knowing how to make proper pack weight or search for kindling. If they want to learn those basics when they’re older they can, if they just want to watch a movie on their phones under the stars, I guess I’m ok with that too.”
According to the annual KOA report the most popular areas for camping continue to be along the Rocky Mountains from Montana to the north to New Mexico to the south. Even with a growing camping population that is both younger and more diverse, KOA suggests that the reasons for camping remain predominately the same.
“Close to half of all campers suggest that camping has a great deal of impact on reducing stress and allowing them to spend more time with their families,” the report states.