While traditionally, campgrounds have been popular destinations for families and retirees, a growing number of millennials have discovered the joys of camping and are venturing out into the wilderness to sleep outside under the stars.
According to a recent Kampgrounds of America (KOA) report, the number of North Americans in general who enjoy camping is increasing, and millennials—those born between 1981 and 1996—are driving the growth.
The report found that the total number of camping households in the U.S. grew to 78.8 million in 2019. Around 7 million of those households were newer to camping, having only started within the past five years.
And while millennials only make up 31% of the adult population in North America, they made up the largest segment of campers at 41%. This figure has increased by 7% since 2014. Among newer campers who just started camping in 2018, 56% were millennials.
The report also found that millennials spend more days camping than any other age groups.
So why exactly are more and more millennials taking to campsites to spend time in nature? Here are a few factors.
If you ask anyone who considers themselves an experienced camper what their primary motivation is, being outdoors is usually at the top of the list.
This is particularly true for millennials. Now more than ever, the younger generation is looking for an escape from the daily grind and is turning to camping to get a break from it all.
In fact, half of all campers surveyed by KOA claimed that their love of nature and the outdoors is what drives their desire to go camping.
The desire to spend more time with family is another key reason why millennials enjoy camping.
According to the KOA report, 81 percent of campers in this age range cite spending time with family and friends as their top reason for camping.
Having children is also a significant contributing factor. Fifty-four percent of millennial campers are bringing their kids along, and the majority said that having kids is what fueled their decision to start camping. And 51% of parents said their enthusiasm for camping with their children has never been stronger.
In fact, families with children were found to be the most devoted group of campers overall. Not only do they take more camping trips and spend more nights camping than others, but this group is also more likely to go camping more frequently in the future.
The aspiration to lead a healthier lifestyle is another key reason why more young adults are going camping.
Campers of all ages see camping as a way to relax, clear their minds, and get some physical activity.
Hiking, walking, biking, and canoeing/kayaking are some of the most common ways to stay active while camping.
Despite the fact that most campers are seeking an escape from their daily lives, staying connected to social media while camping remains a priority. And with the availability of Wi-Fi and improved cell phone service at campgrounds becoming more and more common, truly disconnecting can be difficult to do.
The KOA report found that while 97% of campers bring some form of technology along with them on a camping trip, 27% of millennials and 25% of Gen X campers feel it’s important to share their camping experience on social media.
However, most campers found that the use of technology and social media while camping detracted from their overall experience.
New trends in camping like ‘glamping’ and van life have altered the modern definition of camping, making the experience more appealing to younger generations.
Due to the increasing popularity of ‘glamping,’ more and more people are trading in sleeping in a tent on cold, rocky ground for yurts and a comfortable bed.
These types of camping experiences allow you to escape in the outdoors, without going so far as actually sleeping outside on the ground.
According to the findings of the KOA report, around half of all campers indicated that they were interested in experiencing glamping or van life, a rate that has doubled since last year.
While tents and RVs have long been the most popular ways to camp, hammock camping has many benefits that you may not know of.
Here are some of the main reasons you should ditch the tent and switch to a hammock for your next camping trip.
There’s almost no better feeling than falling asleep in a hammock.
Not only is lying in a hammock incredibly relaxing, but the gentle rocking and swaying help to take the pressure off your spine, giving you a better night’s rest. Plus, you fall asleep quicker in a hammock and stay asleep longer as well.
Hammock sleeping also improves your blood flow and circulation and takes pressure off your joints.
Compared to tents, camping hammocks are very simple to set up as they consist of just two hanging straps and the hammock itself. All you need to do is find a spot to hang it.
A hammock can be set up in just seconds along with the accompanying accessories such as a mosquito net. This means no more struggling with poles or finding flat, smooth ground to set up your tent.
Gone are the days of tossing and turning all night because you set up your tent on rock, tree root, or a slope. A hammock will allow you to set up camp anywhere, regardless of the condition of the ground.
When it comes to weight and portability, hammocks beat out tents, no contest. Most hammocks weigh less than three pounds and can fit into just a small sack. You can save even more space by clipping it to the outside of your pack.
Sleeping in a hammock also means you can leave your pillow and sleeping pad at home, freeing up even more space.
For most people, the main goal of camping is to soak in as much nature and fresh air as possible. By sleeping in a hammock, you aren’t confined to a tent and can literally sleep under the stars and feel the breeze rocking you to sleep.
Whether you’re new to camping or experienced, amp up your outdoor experience by giving hammock camping a try. Sleeping outside without the confines of a tent will only bring you closer to nature and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.