As budget-minded Americans return in droves to the outdoors this summer, The Outdoor Foundation, in partnership with The Coleman Co. Inc., today (Sept. 2) 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% increase in car and backyard camping and nearly a 2% rise in RV camping last year.

“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% of campers.

Key findings:

  • 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.