Overview of Camping Participation
• Almost 40 million Americans went camping in 2010 for a total of 514.8 million outings. This is down slightly from 2009’s 44 million campers and 580.7 million outings.
• Although camping participation increased slightly among adolescents, other age groups lost participants.
• The Mountain Region has the highest camping participation rate with a quarter of its population identifying themselves as campers.
• Seventy percent of all campers are married or living with a domestic partner.
• Nineteen percent of adults with children in their households participate in camping, while only 10 percent of adults without children in their households participate in the activity.
• Over three-quarters of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.
Profile of a Camping Trip
• Summer is the most popular season for camping. During the summer months, campers typically went on three trips and stayed for three nights.
• Summer trips have longer planning horizons, with over 50 percent of summer campers making the decision to go more than a month in advance.
• Of those summer campers who choose to make campsite reservations, the average booking time is 77 days prior to the trip.
• Seventy percent of all trips are taken with friends, showing the social aspect of camping.
• Family members are the most popular camping companions for 35 to 54 year olds—more than half of their trips include immediate family members.
• More than 50 percent of campers are motivated to go on a camping trip simply because they enjoy the act of camping.
• Ninety-two percent of campers hiked during their last in-season trip.
Profile of a Camper
• Various attitudes toward camping include those who are motivated by family fun, hanging out with friends, enjoying luxuries and pushing one’s own limits.
• “Extreme” campers go camping most often, taking 6.26 trips per year.
• Participants that associate camping with family and kids are most likely to stay at public campgrounds.
• Younger campers are most likely to buy backpacks, while older campers are most likely to buy propane lighting. Frequent campers buy the most products.
• Sixty-one percent of campers say they spend about the same amount of money on recreation in 2010 as they did in 2009.
• Campers will spend more on travel to sports and recreation next year than they spent on these things during the previous year.
• Most new and replacement camping purchases are planned at home before taking a camping trip.
Future of Camping
• Campers are planning an average of 5.07 trips next year, down slightly compared to the 5.52 trips made during the previous year.
• Nearly a quarter of frequent campers say their camping trips over the last three years have become longer and more frequent.
• The most cited reason for reducing the number of camping trips are a lack of time due to work and family commitments.
• Almost half of all respondents say their fathers took them camping for the first time. Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts came in a distant second at 17 percent.
• Half of respondents were under the age of seven when they went camping for the first time. Only nine percent of first time campers were 19 or older.