A New Generation of Campers

According to the KOA’s annual North American Camping Report, nearly one in three American’s went camping within the past year – and this number continues to grow. More than one million people experienced their very first camping trip in 2015 alone. Of these new campers, just about half of them were millennials.

So you might be wondering why such a large percentage of campers are millennials, right?

Millennials are all about sharing experiences with one another. Whether that be pictures, videos, blogs, tweets or status updates, millennials like to show people that they are keeping busy and living their best lives by sharing it all through their social media.

Even though some may argue that camping is, and always has been about connecting with nature, maybe the real meaning of camping is taking a turn as millennials begin taking on the scene.

For this new generation of younger campers, camping means staying connected. Using social media everyday gives millennials an opportunity to seek out activities, amenities and adventures worth sharing with their followers.

The interesting thing about this is the realization that camping may not have one single, cut-and-dry definition the way it used to. Millennial campers are giving a new meaning to the word ‘camping.’ Really, it’s becoming more of whatever you, yourself as the individual are comfortable with. Whether that means enjoying the wilderness, getting outside and exploring nature or capturing your memories through your phone and sharing them with others.

Social media use isn’t the only noticeable change that comes along with this new generation of campers. In line with their strong enthusiasm towards sharing moments and experiences, young campers tend to camp in the largest groups. In turn, more physically active types of recreation are increasing in popularity. Biking, hiking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking are only a few of the more popular leisure activities that continue to gain popularity among the younger crowd.

In fact, 71 percent of young campers said they’d still want to go camping even without access to technology. Only 6 percent said they would not camp without access to technology, leaving about one-fourth on the fence. 52 percent of these campers said that camping truly is an outlet for them to unplug from technology and enjoy nature for what it is. On the flip side, some campers said that they’re using technology to spend more time outdoors. Overall, among these young campers, 57 percent agreed that technology actually oftentimes enhances their trip.

Not only are millennials used to having ready-access to the internet via their smartphones, tablets or iPads, they’re used to instantaneously sharing their experiences with their friends. Sharing these experiences in real-time is a huge hit among this new generation and will definitely make for some happy campers.

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