Press Releases

New Report Examines Camping Trends in US

The Outdoor Foundation®, in partnership with The Coleman Company, Inc., today released the Special Report on Camping -- a new research report detailing important information and trends on car, backyard and RV campers in the US.

Boulder, CO, September 2, 2009— As budget-minded Americans return in droves to the outdoors this summer, The Outdoor Foundation®, in partnership with The Coleman Company, Inc., today released the Special Report on Camping — a new research report detailing important information and trends on car, backyard and RV campers in the US. Among other findings, the report reveals a sizable 7.4 percent increase in car and backyard camping in 2008.

“In today’s economy, people are returning to simpler lifestyles — the ‘less is more’ ethic,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Reservations for campsites and sales for camping gear are up. Camping provides fun, affordable opportunities for families to enjoy time together.”

The Special Report on Camping uses the latest participation data collected annually by The Outdoor Foundation to present detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region — critical information needed by businesses, communities and non-profits working to connect Americans with the outdoors

As Americans enjoy camping trips in backyards, state lands and our national parks this summer, camping plays an important role in helping Americans rediscover the outdoors. As the Special Report on Camping reveals, camping is an important gateway to increased participation in outdoor activities and a healthy active lifestyle. Research shows that a large majority of camping participants take part in multiple outdoor activities — over 84 percent of campers.

Key Findings:

Camping Participation

  • 33.7 million Americans ages 6 and older participated in car and backyard camping in 2008 — an increase of 7.4%.
  • 16.5 million Americans participated in RV camping in 2008 – up from 16.2 million in 2007.
  • Camping participants made more than 597 million outings in 2008, averaging 14 camping days per participant.
  • More than 84% of camping participants participate in multiple outdoor activities.


  • 56% of all campers are male and 43% female.
  • The 25 to 44 age group makes up more than one-third of the total number of campers (34.5%). The over 45 age group is a close second at 29%.
  • The Pacific region (OR, WA, CA) is home to the most camping participants in 2008 (18.9%), while East North Central (NC, SC, VA, MD, WV, GA, FL) was second in number of participants (16.9%).
  • Most campers have a household income between $50,000 and $74,999 (24.7%) or $100,000+ (24.9%), while 35% of campers are in the 2 lowest income brackets below $50,000.

Campgrounds and Activities

  • Car, backyard and RV campers enjoy hiking and swimming while camping significantly more often than other activities.
  • 73% of car and backyard campers and 70% of RV campers choose public campgrounds at least once each year. 29% of car and backyard campers and 51% of RV campers choose private campgrounds at least once each year.
  • Motivations and Barriers
  • Friends and parents are the most influential in introducing campers to outdoor activities.
  • Fun and relaxation are the top two reasons cited by campers for participation in outdoor activities.
  • A lack of time is the number one reason camping participants don’t get out more often. A lack of interest and a lack of money for equipment are also reasons.

The Special Report on Camping is based on extended analysis of unreleased data collected for the Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, produced annually by The Outdoor Foundation. The report uses the responses of over 40,000 Americans ages six and older captured in an on-line survey covering 114 different activities. The survey is the largest of its type examining participation in sports and outdoor activities.

The 2009 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, which will include high-level 2008 participation data and trend analysis for 40 outdoor sports, will be released by The Outdoor Foundation mid September and will detail the quality and extent of participation in outdoor recreation among all Americans age 6+, with a special focus on youth and diverse groups. To download a copy of the Special Report on Camping visit


About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, The Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. For more information visit

About The Coleman Company, Inc.

As an international leader in the innovation and marketing of outdoor products, The Coleman Company, Inc. helps people have fun and make memories by providing the gear integral to their favorite outdoor experiences. The company’s products include its legendary lanterns and stoves, as well as coolers, tents, sleeping bags, airbeds, backpacks, furniture, and grills under its Coleman® and Exponent® brands. Additionally, the company provides flotation devices, towables, rainwear, waders, hunting and fishing gear as well as safety and survival equipment under its Stearns®, Sevylor®, Sospenders®, Hodgman®, Mad Dog Gear®, Nevin® and Helium® brands. Founded in 1900 and based in Wichita, Kan., Coleman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation and can be found online at Consumers can call 800-835-3278 or e-mail for general information or for Coleman and Exponent products. For all other brands, call 800-328-3208 or e-mail Note to Media: News releases and images are available upon request or can be downloaded at