Report Documents Americans’ Outdoor Activities

October 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on Report Documents Americans’ Outdoor Activities 

For the seventh year in a row, The Outdoor Foundation has produced the Outdoor Recreation Participation Report to provide a deeper understanding of American participation in outdoor activities with a focus on youth and diversity. This annual report helps explain the state of outdoor participation for the outdoor industry, federal officials and state and local organizations.

In 2012, Americans took advantage of the diversity and accessibility of the nation’s outdoor opportunities. Nearly half — 49.4% — of all Americans participated in some form of outdoor recreation last year. Although the overall participation rate remained the same as it was in 2011, the number of participants is the highest recorded in this report, thanks to population growth. Nearly 142 million people enjoyed outdoor recreation, up about 800,000 since 2011.

Other key findings of the report:

• Although the percentage of outdoor participants is the same as it was in 2011, the number of participants grew by about 800,000, thanks to population growth.

• While 13 million Americans started participating in outdoor activities in 2012, 12 million stopped. This is a net gain of one million total outdoor participants.

• The number of total outdoor outings increased, reaching an all-time high. Americans took 12.4 billion outdoor excursions in 2012, up from 11.5 billion excursions in 2011.

• Adventure racing grew the most over the past five years. The sport increased participation by 211%.

• Stand-up paddling had the highest number of new participants in the past year. More than half of stand-up paddling participants tried the sport for the first time in 2012.

• Almost one-quarter of all outdoor enthusiasts participate in outdoor activities at least twice per week.

• Running, including jogging and trail running, is the most popular activities among Americans when measured by number of participants and by number of total annual outings.

• The outdoor participation rate among adolescent boys ages 13 to 17 continued to rise in 2012, adding three-percentage points in the past two years.

• Outdoor participation rates declined among adolescent girls. With just over half of adolescent girls participating in outdoor recreation, the participation rate is the lowest recorded since this report began in 2006.

• Youth who do not participate in outdoor activities say they are not interested in the outdoors. For young adults, lack of time is a bigger barrier than lack of interest.

• Introducing outdoor recreation and physical activities early in life has a lasting effect. Among adults who are current outdoor participants, 75% had physical education and 42% enjoyed outdoor activities in elementary school.

• As seen in previous reports, outdoor participation is highest among Caucasians and lowest among African Americans.

• Although Hispanic Americans have one of the lowest outdoor participation rates, those who do participate go outside as often as Caucasians, who have the highest participation rate.

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Report: Nearly 43M Americans Camped in 2011

October 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on Report: Nearly 43M Americans Camped in 2011 

Almost 43 million Americans participated in camping last year, according to a new study released today by The Outdoor Foundation and sponsored by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and The Coleman Co. Inc. According to a press release, that equates to 14.9% of Americans over age six. The findings are part of the 2012 American Camper Report, a leading report tracking participation in camping in the United States.

The Outdoor Foundation’s American Camper Report provides data and analysis on overall camping participation and explores preferences, buying behavior and the future of camping. For the first time in the history of this report, people within the camping industry share trends that they are seeing in the field, and the report takes an in-depth look at Hispanic American campers to examine this growing minority’s unique motivations, preferences and barriers. The findings are based on an online survey of more than 38,000 Americans ages six and older and a supplementary survey of camping participants 18 and older.

“The American Camper Report shows that camping gained popularity in 2011 – adding nearly three million participants since 2010,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “The information and analysis in this report will help the outdoor industry and all stakeholders engage even more Americans in camping and transform non-participants into active outdoor enthusiasts and committed environmental stewards.”

KOA’s CEO Jim Rogers stated, “2012 is KOA’s 50th anniversary and KOA hopes that its outdoor hospitality legacy will continue to expand along with the businesses of other outdoor enterprises as we learn more about the needs, trends and outdoor behaviors of the American camper. The report’s special focus on Hispanic campers also aligns with KOA’s goals to find new ways to increase the engagement of ethnically diverse populations in camping and outdoor fun.”

“Throughout our 112-year history, Coleman has maintained a reputation for creating innovative, high-quality outdoor gear. Insights from studies like the American Camper Report are a foundational piece of Coleman’s ability to build and maintain that reputation,” said Robert Marcovitch, President and CEO of Coleman. “Thanks to the knowledge we gain from the Camper Report, Coleman continues to develop exciting gear for both the new and experienced outdoor enthusiast alike.”

The insights detailed in the 2012 American Camper Report are critical to understanding both campers and non-campers and building participation in the activity.

Some additional findings include:

Overview of Camping Participation

* Almost 43 million Americans went camping in 2011 for a total of 534.9 million days. Participation is up from 39.9 million campers and 514.8 million days in 2010.

* Almost all age brackets added participants, except the adolescent group.

* Camping gained a net of 2.6 million participants from 2010 to 2011, but it has a fairly high churn rate at 16 percent.

* Reports from public and private campsites and the Outdoor Industry Association illustrate a general uptick in camping participation.

* The Mountain Region has the highest camping participation rate.

* Seventy-seven percent of all campers are married or living with a domestic partner.

* Eighty-four percent of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.

Profile of a Camping Trip

* Sixty-seven percent of participants camped the most in public campgrounds.

* The average camper went on 4.97 camping trips.

* Participants traveled a mean of 190.6 miles away from home to camp.

* Almost half of all American campers plan their trips at least one month in advance.

* Seventy percent of all trips are taken with friends.

* Hiking is the most popular activity to participate in while camping.

Buying Behavior

* More than half of camping participants are employed, and 29 percent are students.

* Battery lighting was the most popular purchase during the past year and was especially popular among older campers.

* Most camping purchases are planned at home before taking a camping trip.

Hispanic Campers: A Focused Look

* At 5.52 camping trips per year per participant, the average Hispanic participant goes camping more than the average Caucasian participant.

* Hispanics bought more camping equipment in the last 12 months than non-Hispanics.

* Twenty-three percent of Hispanic campers ages 18 and over tried camping for the first time in 2011.

Future of Camping

* Campers are planning an average of 4.33 camping trips next year.

* Fathers are the most likely person to take someone camping for the first time.

* The most cited reason for reducing the number of camping trips is a lack of time due to work and family commitments.

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KOA, Coleman, Foundation Release New Study

December 22, 2011 by · Comments Off on KOA, Coleman, Foundation Release New Study 

Almost 40 million Americans participated in camping last year, according to a new study released today by The Outdoor Foundation, The Coleman Co. Inc., and Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), which equates to more than 14% of Americans over age six. The findings are part of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, an industry-leading report tracking American participation in camping.

“Despite instability in the economy, the Special Report on Camping illustrates that camping continues to be a major part of the American experience,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Thanks to the support and commitment of Coleman and KOA, the report provides first-of-its-kind information on camping trends, which should be of great interest to everyone in the outdoor community – especially those of us focused on inspiring future generations of enthusiasts.”

The extended 54-page Special Report on Camping provides data and analysis on camping participation in the United States, including psychographic profiles, camping preferences and buying behavior. The report also explores opportunities in the camping industry and the overall future of camping. The findings are based on an online survey of more than 40,000 Americans ages six and older and a supplemental survey of camping participants 18 and older.

“As a global outdoor recreation leader, the insights provided by the Special Report on Camping are vital to our ability to continue to create innovative products for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide,” said Robert Marcovitch, president and CEO of Coleman. “The intelligence gathered from this year’s report is already proving valuable, and we are pleased to continue our partnership with The Outdoor Foundation and KOA to discover even more about key outdoor trends in 2012 and into the future.”

As the outdoor industry moves into 2012, it will become even more vital to engage parents of young children. The study found that a vast majority of adult campers were introduced to the activity at a young age; in fact, only nine percent of all adult camping participants tried camping for the first time after age 19. To maintain growth in camping, adults will have to be energized to introduce it to their children.

“KOA has been serving the camping public for 50 years and believes that it is essential to evaluate key outdoor sector and camper trends to continually respond to the diverse outdoor hospitality needs of Americans and international visitors”, said Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. “KOA was pleased to have participated in this special report and looks forward to working with its outdoor partners to use this information to better serve and grow the outdoor marketplace.”

The insights detailed in the 2011 Special Report on Camping are critical to understanding both campers and non-campers and building participation in the activity. Additional findings include:

Overview of Camping Participation

• Almost 40 million Americans went camping in 2010 for a total of 514.8 million outings.

• On average, each camping participant spent almost 13 days camping.

• More than three-quarters of participants are planning three-plus camping trips in the next year.

• Over three-quarters of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.

Profile of a Camper

• Family is the most popular camping companion for 35 to 54 year olds.

• More than 90% of campers hiked during their last in-season trip.

• In the last 12 months, 86% of campers went on a camping trip during the summer.

• Over 50% of campers are motivated to go camping simply because they enjoy the act of camping

Buying Behavior

• Younger campers are most likely to buy backpacks, while older campers are most likely to buy propane lighting.

• Sixty-one percent of campers say they spend about the same amount on recreation in 2010 as they did in 2009.

• Most new and replacement camping purchases are planned at home before taking the camping trip.

Future of Camping

• Nearly a quarter of frequent campers say their camping trips over the last three years have become longer and more frequent.

• The most cited reasons for reducing the number of trips are a lack of time due to work and family commitments.

• Almost half of all respondents say their fathers took them camping for the first time.

To download a complete copy of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at



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RV Industry Report Card: Ups and Downs

September 13, 2010 by · Comments Off on RV Industry Report Card: Ups and Downs 

The future is a generally positive, albeit a mixed bag for the RV industry, the Goshen (Ind.) News reported today.

A series of recent studies, reports and projections from multiple agencies have cast that future in a hopeful but realistic light.

Industry business indicators from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) updated at the end of July projected continued growth in shipments. They also suggested recovery would be slower than what occurred following previous recessions, a hypothesis it explained as a lag in sales due to “lingering effects on the ability of consumers to purchase RVs.”

“However, the desire to own RVs is as strong as ever, with basic demand rooted in family values, the enduring appeal of the natural environment, and people’s desire to instill in the next generation their cherished tradition,” the report said.

In fact, RV ownership has reached record levels according to the RVIA, which estimates 8.3 million American households now own an RV. That number is an increase of 16% since 2001 and 64% since 1980.

Camping’s ups, downs

In the results of a study done in partnership with The Coleman Co., The Outdoor Foundation reported both ups and downs in general camping. Those results, titled “Special Report on Camping 2010,” noted that while camping participation increased from 42.4 million in 2008 to 44 million in 2009, the average camper only went camping 13.2 days in the latter year, down from a 14.1 day average in 2008.

According to the report, RV camping dropped from 16.9 million people in 2006 to 16.2 million in 2007, but surged to 17.4 million by 2009.

In comparison, backyard and car camping (defined as camping within a quarter mile of the camper’s vehicle or home) dropped from 35.6 million in 2006 to 31.4 million in 2007, rebounding only to 34.3 million by 2009.

Between 2006 and 2009, RV campers used public campsites for 62.3% of the time, private sites 32.1% of the time, event sites 3.4% of the time and backyard sites 2.2% of the time.

During that three-year span, the median age of all campers 6 years of age and older climbed from 29 to 33. In a heartening trend, 87% of all campers reported they planned to spend more time participating in outdoor activities in 2010.

A slow end to 2010

Another release from the RVIA written by University of Michigan’s Richard Curtin, published in the fall issue of Roadsigns, predicted a hiccup in shipments beginning in the final months of 2010.

Curtin suggested total shipments would reach 239,000 in 2010, slowing in the second half of the year and recovering by the end of 2011, when he estimated shipments would reach 259,600.

That rebounding is the reversal of a declining trend in RV shipments that began after 2006, when 404,600 units were shipped. The following years saw shipment levels drop to 353,400 in 2007, 237,000 in 2008 and only 165,700 in 2009. Total shipments in 2010 had already reached 155,800 by the end of July.

“RV sales face continued challenges from the slowdown in prospects for economic growth,” Curtin said. “Uncertainty about future taxes, depressed home values and tight credit conditions will restrict motorhome sales, and lackluster income growth and high unemployment will limit gains in folding camping trailers and truck camper sales.”

Curtin argued that the industry’s best way forward was not by downsizing, but rightsizing. He described rightsizing as “delivering the optimal mix of size, convenience and features to meet the new constraints facing consumers.”

“While the challenges in developing new products will be as great as the economic hurdles now facing the industry, rightsized RVs will reap the long-term payoff from consumers,” Curtin said.

$8.2 billion industry

The most recent Travel Trailer and Camper Manufacturing Industry Report from Supplier Relations U.S. LLC, reported the RV industry’s revenue for 2009 was approximately $8.2 billion, with $390.8 million in imports from 45 countries and $1.4 billion worth of exports to 160 countries, calculating total domestic demand for the industry at $7.2 billion.

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2010 Special Report on Camping Published

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off on 2010 Special Report on Camping Published 

In partnership with The Coleman Co., The Outdoor Foundation has published the “2010 Special Report on Camping,” which provides an in-depth look at participation and overall trends.research.camping.2010

According to a news release, the research gives activity information by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education, and geographic region. In addition, the study looks at “crossover” participation to find the activities that camping participants most often and least often enjoy.Camping is part of the very fabric of American society – accommodating just about every lifestyle from luxury experiences to close-to-home overnights to rustic adventures. Despite economic uncertainty, camping participation has continued to increase. In fact, this activity is one of the most popular outdoor pursuits, attracting 44 million participants in 2009.

These participants averaged 13 camping days each for a total of over 580 million days. This special report gives an overview of camping in the United States, presenting detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region.

Data is also provided on common barriers to entry as well as popular “crossover” sports for this important group. Also, for the first time, the report looks at how far campers travel and the most preferred type of camping experience.

To read the entire report, click here.

Highlights follow.

Annual Outings

  • In 2009, camping participants made 580.7 million annual outings. For some participants, this meant getting out once a season and for others, once a month or week.
  • The average camper went camping 13.2 days in 2009, down from 14.1 days in 2008.

Geography of Camping Participants

  • Pacific: Participation rate: 18.5%; percent of all U.S. participants: 18.6%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 15.1%.
  • Mountain: Participation rate: 26.9%; percent of all U.S. participants: 12.2%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 10.9%.
  • West South Central: Participation rate: 14.4%; percent of all U.S. participants: 10.4%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 15.9%.
  • West North Central: Participation rate: 18.1%; percent of all U.S. participants: 7.7%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 5.9%.
  • East North Central: Participation rate: 16.6%; percent of all U.S. participants: 16.4%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 12.7%.
  • East South Central: Participation rate: 15.7%; percent of all U.S. participants: 6.0%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 3.7%.
  • South Atlantic: Participation rate: 12.0%; percent of all U.S. participants: 14.9%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 21.6%.
  • Middle Atlantic: Participation rate: 11.0%; percent of all U.S. participants: 9.5%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 9.9%.
  • New England: Participation rate: 13.5%; percent of all U.S. participants: 4.1%; percent of first-time U.S. participants: 4.2%.

Camping: A Gateway to the outdoors

Over three-quarters of camping participants participate in multiple outdoor activities (80.2% down slightly from 84.3% in 2008). Only a small percentage participates in camping alone.

First-time Participants in Camping

  • 8.2% of campers tried the activity for the rst time in 2009.
  • 25, the median age of first-time campers in 2009.
  • 25.8% of first-time campers in 2009 are ethnically diverse compared to 14.1% of all campers.

What Types of Campsites Do Campers Choose?

  • 62.3% of RVers chose public campgrounds, 32.1% chose private campgrounds, 2.2% chose their own backyards and 3.4% chose special events.

Camping Participants’ Time Outdoors

  • 45.0% of camping participants say the economy impacts how often they participate in outdoor activities.
  • 87.0% of camping participants plan to spend more time participating in outdoor activities in 2010.

Camping Among Households With Children

  • Adults 18 and older with children in their household participate in camping at higher levels than adults without children despite the responsibilities and time commitments often associated with having younger children in the home.
  • 18.4 percent of adults age 18 and older with children ages 1 to 17 in their household participate in camping, while only 11.7% of adults without children in their household participate.

Note: During January and February 2010, a total of 40,141 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. online panel operated by Synovate. A total of 15,067 individual and 25,074 household surveys were completed. The total panel has over 1 million members and is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population. Oversampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically underresponding groups.

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New Report: RV Camping Increased by 2% in 2008

September 2, 2009 by · Comments Off on New Report: RV Camping Increased by 2% in 2008 

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.
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