Recent survey reveals the trends behind those who brave the wild


Count the camping trips you went on last summer. If you need only one hand to digitize the data, you’re not an average American camper.

According to the 2013 American Camper Report, an online survey of more than 42,000 Americans age 6 and older, the average camper went on 5.8 camping trips in 2012, up from five trips in 2011.

Although the survey, paid for by The Coleman Co. and The Outdoor Foundation, found the average number of trips had climbed, overall participation in camping declined across the United States – from 42.5 million in 2011 to 38 million in 2012. So maybe folks went camping more because it was less crowded.

“Busy at work” was the reason most people said they didn’t go camping. The other most common reason for not camping was a family commitment.

Among adults, more females than males participated in RV and cabin camping, the survey found. More males enjoyed tent and bivy/no shelter camping.

The Rocky Mountain states had the highest camping participation rate in the nation. A connection to the outdoors, after all, is why many of us choose to live in Big Sky Country or the Cowboy State.

Seventy-four percent of participants camped in a public campground, the survey found.

What do you do once you reach your campsite? The survey said hiking is the most popular activity. I would have guessed that making a fire and writing your name in the dark with burning sticks was the most popular activity. A good fire always seems to be the biggest attraction when I’m out.

Maybe fire building and tending fires under the heading “other activities,” because according to the survey, 87 percent of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities. Most of those activities, 78 percent for adults, occur with friends. So camping is a common way to bring folks together.

Here are a few other statistics to chew on.

What would you guess is the most popular item that campers purchased? Propane or liquid fuel came out on top. I would have guessed hot dogs.

More than half of campers rarely or never buy camping gear for someone other than themselves. After all, you know best what you need.

How many campers would you guess plan their trips at least a month in advance? Forty-four percent.

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