Camping Is as Popular as Ever; Here's Why
In this current age of interconnectivity, communing with nature doesn’t seem like a priority for many. We’re glued to our newsfeeds, losing hours of our days to trending topics and viral videos. We’re more apt to spend our nights with Chewbacca Mom than sprawled out on a patch of grass under the stars. But contrary to what digital trends might suggest, camping is at an all-time high. It seems there are millions of us who want to log off and get back outdoors.
According to PYMNTS, camping equipment sales rose exponentially over the last year. Among the most in-demand items were tents, inflatable mattresses, coolers and cargo racks. Cooler sales, in particular, grew 50% in that period. These products were flying off the shelves. It was great for the economy, but it was also an indication of an important shift in spending.
On the surface, the push for outdoor activities was driven by lower gas prices. One of the greatest costs of camping trips is the fuel needed to get there. With less money spent at the pump, millions of Americans could scrape together the extra bucks for some old-school adventure.
However, there’s more to it than extra money. After all, camping has long been viewed as an arduous, painful experience that forces us to leave behind many of the precious comforts of modern society that we value. Something bigger had to shift to get us back outdoors.
That big shift is a desire for experiences. Millennials are officially the biggest generation in America. And they shop differently than their parents. They aren’t content with money exchanging hands without some type of increased value. They want a unique experience that they can tell their friends about. They want something they can share. In that sense, camping is the ultimate experience. It’s a way to spend a week or a weekend that offers lasting memories and teaches valuable life skills. Camping offers so much more than a product or a service. It’s a fully immersive way to spend time and money.
Additionally, camping is one of the most affordable ways to spend their time. Heading outdoors doesn’t require a fee for Wi-Fi or electricity. There aren’t any hotel costs, airfare fees or expensive dinners to fund. It’s an experience in which the cost is always minimal and under control. Campers can spend more time worrying about their hiking wardrobe than their trip expenses. Focus on whether to wear our Hiker Money Belt or the Backpacker Web Belt instead of obsessing over your trip budget.
Lastly, camping is now tied into some of the country’s most popular entertainment events. Music festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo inspire camping trips. Attendees spend their days listening to their favorite artists and then spend their nights getting acquainted with nature.
As spending culture continues to shift in favor of millennials, look for people to favor experiences over stuff. Therefore, camping is poised to grow even more popular as the year continues.