Camping becoming extremely popular with millennials and Gen X-ers, survey finds

Believe it or not, camping is the hot new trend.

According to the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) 2019 North American Camping Report, camping has become increasingly popular among younger people, particularly millennials and Gen X-ers.

The annual report noted that there have been an estimated 7 million additional camper households in the U.S. since 2014, 77 percent of which are from these two groups. The Pew Research Center defines Gen X as anyone between the ages of 39 and 54 (born between 1965 and 1980) and millennial as anyone between the ages of 38 and 23 (born between 1981 and 1996).

The report shows that the camping industry has seen some impressive growth since 2014, mostly due to younger and more diverse campers. According to the report, only 23 percent of campers were Baby Boomers or older.

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In addition, one-third of all the campers surveyed described themselves as “lifelong” campers, with an increasing amount of millennials and Gen X-ers describing themselves this way. But new campers are still sharing their enthusiasm, with one of every 20 households surveyed saying they camped for the first time this year.

Most respondents (54 percent) said that they preferred to go somewhere within 100 miles of where they lived. Considering there are 61 national parks in the U.S., there are plenty to choose from.

The report also explored why these generations love camping so much. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they “love the great outdoors” as their primary reason for camping, followed by happy memories of family vacations (45 percent), wanting to get away from the crowds (33 percent), and wanting to discover a new place (21 percent).

Kampgrounds of America expects the camping industry to remain popular with upcoming generations, as well. (iStock)

It’s not to say that older generations don’t also have these feelings about camping, but millennials and Gen X-ers are overwhelmingly acting upon their passion for the great outdoors.

KOA predicts that the camping industry will continue to grow, since 90 percent of the teenagers and children respondents (Gen Z) said they intend to camp as adults.