About Camping

camping in a tent
My good friend, Lisa, camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota

According to the 2016 American Camper Report (the most recent Report available), co-published by the Outdoor Foundation and the Coleman Company, around 40 million Americans go camping each year, give or take a couple million depending on the year.

(It’s also popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, by the way.)

Whether it’s in a tent or RV, car camping or back country camping — it’s hugely popular.

Here are some fun and/or interesting stats from the Camper Report

  • 87% of campers are multi-outdoor activity folks (does that sound like you?).
  • Of those other activities, hiking is the most popular one to combine with camping trips. In fact, 70% of campers also hike during their trips.
  • The average camper drives about 200 miles to his/her destination.
  • 74% of campers camp in public campgrounds.
  • The average camper went on 5.8 trips, and spent a little over 13 days camping in 2013.
  • About 1-in-4 campers are kids 12 and under.
  • Slightly more men camp than women.
  • 82% of campers in the U.S. are Caucasian/white.
  • Participation rate is highest among those living in the Mountain States, at 23%  – the next highest is West North Central (including Minnesota) at 18%.
  • More families that have kids camp than families that don’t have kids — almost double the rate.
  • 81% of campers use a tent compared to 16% using an RV…although those who camp in RVs tend to stay longer (no surprise there — not sleeping on the ground!).

I grew up camping.  So did my husband. It was natural that our kids would grow up camping, and they have. We’ve had a pop-up camper since our kids were preschoolers, but have also always had a tent. So we’ve done both.

Our most “civilized” camping experience?

Lander, Wyoming…a little private campground with mostly RV’s parked next to each other on a paved lot right next to the country highway. Granted, Lander is far from being a big city…but that wouldn’t have been our first choice if we weren’t just passing through! (The folks running the campground were very friendly though.)

Or it could be camping in Wall, South Dakota. Yes, we actually camped one block from Wall Drug. If you’ve not been on Highway 90 that crosses the country from east to west, we start seeing signs for Wall Drug before crossing into SD from the Minnesota state line. We stayed for one night at a nice little campground in town.

Now that I think about it, we stayed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota one night (a different trip) at a campground that ended up being across the road from a truck stop. That was our least favorite site of all!

Our most remote camping experience?

That would be the Boundary Waters. Paddle and portage in. No roads. No cell service. Pack everything in and pack everything out. Drinking water out of the lakes.

We did, however, have a “throne” (think outhouse without the walls). And on the U.S. side, we’re required to camp in a designated campsite, which includes a fire grate (besides the throne).

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