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The Nouveau Campers ⛺

The Nouveau Campers ⛺
July 13, 2021

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If you’re like me, your Instagram feed probably features more than a few photos of grinning, unwashed faces, and babies in backpacks as friends share their summer camping adventures. Moreover, if you’re like me, you might wonder how you might be able to follow in their footsteps, as the reality of summer in the city, surrounded by hot trash & ever hotter temperatures, sets in.

Today we’re looking at the camping industry, which is going through a millennial makeover as the next generation of young people, some of them with children, set out on dusty paths to moonlit serenity. Or, in the case of the glampers out there, the (not so dusty) path leads to deluxe tents and WiFi.


                                                                             Pic via Hipcamp

By the numbers

Disposable income, newfound parenthood, and the pandemic all factored into major increases in millennials flooding campsites in 2020. Roughly 10MM Americans became first-time campers in 2020, with over 60% of those campers under 40. More seasoned millennial campers are increasingly committing to the lifestyle making up the largest group of campers at 41%. By 2025, consumers between 30 and 45 yrs old will reach 72 million people.  Some are so committed to the lifestyle (or a lifestyle of minimal expense) that they’re quitting rents & mortgages altogether and living that #vanlife in customized retired school buses or luxe Sprinter vans.

Better UX

Like most things in life, millennials want a flawless online experience to plan their analog trip. The idea of driving 3 hours to a campsite that may or not be full – terrifying. Making phone calls to book? – rather not. Luckily there are options. Hipcamp is Airbnb for camping, where you can pitch a tent on someone’s private lavender farm or stay in a surfer’s airstream out on Rockaway beach. Same with Outdoorsy and RVezy. Kampgrounds of American, or KOA, is the nation’s largest association of private campgrounds and offers multiple ways to stay (lodge, tent, or RV hookup) with a few clicks online.

Gear Up

If you’re ready to book a trip but have none of the equipment, fear not, there’s a hiking & gear market just waiting for you. The gear market, by the way, is projected to be worth $7.4BN by 2027. Igloo is a private Texan unicorn company that's been selling coolers since 1947. Patagonia is a B Corporation dedicated to a business model that outdoor people can get behind. Klymit sells lightweight camping gear for all levels of camper from its Kaysville, Utah headquarters. Osprey sells a backpack for schlepping your kid along the rocky paths for a cool $260-330. 

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