HomeOutdoorsCamping Popularity Surge Continues Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Camping Popularity Surge Continues Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor/ Getty Images)

For the last six months, the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. After being stuck indoors for months on end, many people are hitting the outdoors for a little fresh air while camping.

People are ditching planes and cruises abroad as well as fancy hotels and resorts. They are trading it in for social distancing in their cars and RVs. Experts say that transmission of the viruses low risk in the outdoors, making it look more desirable. There has also been a surge in RV and motorhome purchases and rentals.


The RV Industry Association reported “the highest July shipment numbers in four decades” on total RV shipments of 43,035 units, which is up 53.5 percent from 28,044 in July 2019. Towable RVs totaled 39,160 units for the month, up 56.6 percent from last July.

Camping and glamping (glamorous camping), booking services report a 400 percent spike in sales in comparison to last year’s business.

The outdoor department store, REI, says that they have seen record growth as well in their camping department in the last few months.

Paul Calandrella, general merchandise manager for camping at REI, says that many people have had to change their travel plans due to the pandemic.

“This is the time of year when many of us would be thinking about maybe air travel and destinations. And that inability to access our normal modes of travel. In addition to just the pent-up energy of being stuck at home, has turned people’s attention starkly towards camping. And whether that’s in the back yard or a first-ever trip in a rented RV, it is literally just going crazy on us right now.”

He reports that the best sellers this summer have been tents, sleeping bags, camping furniture, and cooking equipment. As for people that like to travel in style, big camp beds and power systems have also been flying off the shelves.

Is Camping just a Fad?

Calandrella expects the camping trend to continue past 2020, however. He estimates that it will be a “multi-year trend”, stating, “We keep saying internally we can’t un-see the impact of the pandemic.”.

Despite the pandemic, nearly 46 percent of all travelers say that they feel the safest way to travel is camping, reports the 2020 North American Camping Report.

According to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) campgrounds and RV parks account for $25.6 billion of the US economy. In addition, campers spend over $31 billion a year on camping supplies, says the Outdoor Industry Association.

[H/T The Guardian]