Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Get ready to share RVing with 56 million other campers

By Mike Gast
It’s official. You’re going to be sharing the road with 56 million other American RVers this summer. A recent scientific survey of American leisure travelers conducted by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) concluded that 31% (56 million) of all 180 million leisure travelers in the U.S. are packing up an RV and hitting the road this summer.

That’s nothing but good news, at least according to RVIA.

“More and more Americans are ready to travel this summer and 56 million of them are planning to go RVing in an RV they rent, own, or borrow,” said RVIA President and CEO Craig Kirby. “Even with other forms of travel returning, the desire to use an RV to get outdoors and experience an active outdoor lifestyle is stronger than ever. RVing has been cemented as a mainstream travel option that is here to stay.”

The survey also found that 91% of RVers surveyed said they plan to travel at least as much as last year, if not more.

RVIA officials were excited to also find that 10% of current non-RV owners said they plan to travel in an RV this summer. That’s good news for manufacturers as well as both traditional rental firms and peer-to-peer rental outfits. But it will put a strain on RV dealers who already are having problems restocking their lots. It’s also going to additionally strain already crowded private, state and national campgrounds.

The recent RVIA study was conducted by Cairn Consulting. This is the same firm that conducts the annual North American Camping Report for Kampgrounds of America Inc. The RVIA study included surveys completed by a statistically balanced cross-section of 1,276 U.S. leisure travelers.


2021 North American Camping Report finds 2.6 million new camping households


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.


  1. The Carin study cohort group was SURVEYS by 1,276 leisure travelers – “defined as any U.S. residents who has taken some type of leisure trip in the past 12 months.” So this isn’t a study with the Target Audience being all U.S. residents, just those willing to complete a survey and identified as already a leisure traveler. Okay, fair enough – just so we know we’re looking a smaller market segment.

    However, looking at the limited data available at the RVIA website, let’s look at a few illustrative samples: https://www.rvia.org/news-insights/56-million-people-plan-go-rving-summer-and-its-not-about-covid
    For Travel Destinations “Where Are They Going” it sites percentages as:
    National Parks:46%
    State Parks: 40%
    Lake: 35%

    Other categories are another 180% so it’s clear the survey is unbound and only shows broad interests and whether they are “much more likely visit…” a travel destination, ostensibly in the prior year (which considering the pandemic has further considerations).

  2. The numbers make me glad we tossed in the towel years ago and started making reservations.

    For those of you who are skeptical of the report’s findings… I worked for a non-profit (though in a different industry) and can tell you the data is sound. These organizations attract industry members by providing such reports, which they pay big bucks to obtain, from well-respected researchers. It’s a benefit to the members to receive such reports, and the organization releases little bits of data to inform the public but also to attract other members to their organization. The reports are developed by professionals who know how to ask certain questions, select appropriate response samples, interpret the data, and report it.

    Could there be errors? Of course, but not likely enough to change the bottom line. We might not want to believe the data, but there it is.

  3. Nope. We will return from our current trip mid June. Next trip is in September. Then our annual Jan to Mar. We have mostly avoided summer time travel. Although many moons ago did a few, when things weren’t crazy. Since we live in California where summers are quite nice, prefer to stay home, rather than travel when places are apt to be hot and crowded.

  4. I agree with the comment below. And I believe that the numbers will be up, But I think this RV glut will backfire on the RV industry. Flooding the system with poor quality units just to make a buck will catch up to them.

  5. I’m kinda skeptical of the numbers in this article. But I’m sure they researched this to support a pre-conceived conclusion. It’s become the American way.

    • Bad report after bad report – after bad report. It’s enough to make you want to stay home. Like Dan, I’m a bit skeptical as well. How do they predict this stuff? Do they call known RV’ers and ask them specific (and maybe leading) questions? Or do RV dealers quiz ‘buyers’ in their stores to see if they intend to buy? I would think, if this is all true, they wouldn’t want the public to read it because this could turn off first time buyers.


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