What smell reminds you most of camping? Smoke? Bug spray? Smores? Flowers?
Escape, adventure, wilderness, family, peace,fun are common words used to describe camping. It is about the shared experience, strengthening relationships and allowing oneself to decompress from the stresses of the world.
In part 1 of our series on camping, we delve into the minutia of the north American tent camper and the growing interest in paying to sleep on the ground in the middle of nowhere.Over 40 million people camped somewhere within the United States in 2013. and some interesting data has been compiled on the demographics of the who the why and the when and the where.
The typical profile is 32 years old. 60% are female.55% are married.20% are black.
More than 2/3rds of those camped sometime as a teenager and it is a gateway activity. Almost 90% continue and/or move on into more diverse camping experiences. Between cabins, RVs, camping in a tent is by far the most practiced at over 75%. They will average about 2 weeks per year over about 5 trips. Planning is typically about a month in advance, however it isn't uncommon for campers to either commit a few days earlier or just pack the car that day and hit the road. State parks are the site of choice 43% of the time, followed by National Parks 14% and local campgrounds 10%. Among the top activities are hiking 70%, cooking 27%, photography 24%, fishing 18%, games 18%, Kayaking 14%, climbing 7% and hunting 3%. At night the grounds are ablaze as 91% will have at least one campfire during their stay, 70% will enjoy stargazing, 39% will play cards or board games, 33% read and 18% will play a musical instrument. About 40% will bring a bike. And while the love of the outdoors rarely fades with this group, the struggle to set time aside can grow difficult, as 80% are limited to increasing their backcountry experiences due to a lack of time or commitments to job, family, etc.
The highest participation is found out west in and around the huge national parks, followed by the midwest, south and then the northeast. While the majority of participants started camping early, the expanding technological age has made it easier to entice the newbs outdoors. Access to wifi is three times more likely to be the tipping point for involving new campers. Private campgrounds are beginning to include the internet, and 1/2 of all campers will at least be checking their email, while 1/3 will be in around the fire browsing online. Regardless how modern or convenient society becomes, the attraction to an escape to simple environments where one can connect with the outdoors, share experiences with family and retreat to a calm bubble will not fade. In part 2 of our series , we'll delve into the demographics of the RV camper.