The continuing boom in camping — exacerbated by the pandemic — is driving diversity changes in activity in 2021, according to the 8th Annual North American Camping Survey.
Diversity among camper families still closely reflects the composition of the general population, but new campers in 2021 steered the numbers in a new direction. About 54 percent of the new camp came from non-white groups, according to the report compiled by the Cairn Consulting Group for Campgrounds of America Inc.
The report noted that people living in major urban areas also continued to increase their camping trips, “suggesting that COVID-19 is one of the driving factors for changing camping habits.” “Thirty-six percent of urban campers noted the epidemic and avoiding crowds influenced their decision.”
In addition, nearly 40 percent of campers reported a household income of over $100,000, a significant increase from before the pandemic.
The economy is also driving more people overall to camp, including 44 percent who said they plan to replace a leisure trip with a camping trip in 2022.
“Over the past two years, the coronavirus has significantly impacted travel. While much of the impact has been negative, camping has seen a significant increase in participation,” the report noted.
“Leisure travelers, who would otherwise stay home, have used camping as a preferred form of travel amid the upsurge in the pandemic. Most importantly, many are indicating that camping will continue to be a part of their travel plans in a post-pandemic world where we see an increase in camping. and recreational vehicle use and luxury camping.”
The number of campers in the United States increased from 71.5 million in 2014 to 93.8 million in 2021.
However, 51 percent of long-time campers reported less camping in 2021 due to overcrowding or too much campground.
Partly for the same reason, the average number of nights spent camping dropped from 9.5 in 2019 to 7.4 in 2021.
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More campers are spending some work time while at the camp site, rising from 37 percent in 2019 to 46 percent last year, led by millennials, 57 percent of whom worked while camping.
Camping accounted for 40 percent of all leisure trips in 2021 with more than half of all travelers — 53 percent — including camping on some or all of their trips.
The RV camping sector has reached an all-time high, with 11 million RV owners and 2 million RV renters in 2021, but relatively new forms of camping have also found an audience. About 36 percent of campers tried glamping for the first time in 2021; 50 percent said they would do so in 2022. And 27 percent who took a road trip for the first time, traveled in an off-road vehicle without services or amenities; 46 percent want to try it this year.
Contact Marcus Schneck at [email protected].