Winter Tenting is Growing in Recognition

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The camping season was typically in late spring, peaking in summer and ending quickly in early fall before the temperature plummets. However, the norm seems to be changing.

Each month, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) publishes research reports on camping and camping behavior to identify trends and assess the current state of the market. KOA has public campgrounds in all 50 states and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. In total, the KOA operates over 520 campsites.

The October KOA report shows that 8.2 million US households are planning winter camping trips. The figure is a 19% increase from 2021 figures. That year, 6.9 million households took part in winter camping trips. KOA has observed and reported an overall increase in camping since the April annual report.

The monthly research report asked respondents about their plans for the rest of the year and their general feelings about winter camping. Around 36% of respondents said they plan to take their usual number of trips, while 24% said they take more camping trips than normal. Only 16% said they were done camping for the rest of the year. In contrast, 14% said they have taken all of their planned trips and will not be planning any more. Those who didn’t already know hovered around 13%, while 12% said they had fewer trips planned.

A total of 9.67 million campers are planning trips in October alone. KOA attributes the surge to campers planning trips that may have been postponed due to COVID or skyrocketing gas prices. Snowbirds also plan their trips in advance, although the KOA forecasts there will be fewer snowbirds in the short term than in previous years. However, they forecast an increase in long-term snowbirds from around 2 million American homes. The surge was first noticed by KOA in 2021 and appears to be moving higher, as is the target. Another notable point is that many respondents indicated that they would like to camp if the weather conditions were acceptable. There are many nice days throughout winter, depending on where you are in the United States, and with the right cold-weather gear, winter camping can be just as enjoyable as summer camping.

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