During Pandemic, A Renewed Embrace of Camping

From first-timers to dedicated glampers

Camping
It's outdoors and socially distanced; what's not to like about camping?
vastateparksstaff/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / July 12, 2020 2:17 pm

The list of recreational activities that can be done safely in the United States during the pandemic right now is not large. Going to a bar or venue with friends is out; the same is true for sitting in a movie theater or at a sporting event. But camping — provided you’re following the right social distancing protocols — is one of the few ways to enjoy leisure time without much COVID-19-related concern.

A new article by Miranda Bryant at The Guardian explores how camping has seen a massive upswing in the summer of 2020. It’s a pleasant development for people concerned about recreation, but it’s also been an economic boost to certain retailers and campsites:

Camping and glamping booking services report huge spikes in business, with some 400% busier than the same time last year, following the reopening of states for business. RV companies said business is “booming” in rental and sales.

Meanwhile, outdoors retailer REI said it has seen record growth in its camping department in the last six weeks as people rush to buy equipment.

The experts Bryant spoke with note that some campers are opting for backyard forays, while others are embracing high-end equipment. Among the statistics cited in the story: 20% of people using Kampgrounds of America locations this year are first-time campers. RV bookings are also up this year, which has included many first-timers.

While the social distancing and outdoor elements of camping make its appeal pretty clear right now, Bryant’s article also notes that’s a very affordable pursuit. Entry-level tents are not pricey, and can be a good way to see if camping is right for you. Could this have an impact on recreation in future years? It just might.

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