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Study shows increase in winter camping

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Perhaps the traditional slow winter camping season won’t be so slow this year — and in years to come.

The October KOA Monthly Research Report projects that 8.2 million households are planning to camp this winter. This is a sizeable increase over the 6.9 million households that winter camped in 2021, a growth of 19% in just one year. The increase in winter camping builds on the overall popularity of camping reported in Kampgrounds of America, Inc.’s (KOA) annual North American Camping Report released in April.

Of October respondents, 37% say they will probably or definitely take a camping trip this winter. All in, 1.3 million more households indicate they plan to winter camp compared to last year. This coincides with one-in-four campers saying they plan to take more trips the remainder of the year when compared to 2021.

“The growth of interest in camping during the colder months points to just how much the industry is growing and changing,” said Whitney Scott, chief marketing officer of Kampgrounds of America. “We are seeing alternative and more experiential activation of camping – it’s no longer a seasonal activity.”

Fewer snowbirds

Long-term snowbird camping, conversely, is expected to see a slight drop in participation. This year nearly 2.2 million households plan to snowbird compared to just over 2.4 million who participated in snowbird camping in 2021. Long-term snowbirds represent 7% of the overall camping market.

“Even though it’s small, the predicted decline in snowbird business is something that we’re actively monitoring,” Scott said. “We need to consider the services and amenities we provide long-term guests so we can retain current snowbirds and attract new entrants. It’s an opportunity to refine our offerings to expand this market into non-traditional audiences.”

The October report also projects that 9.7 million households plan to camp during October. Notably, only 14% of campers say they have completed their camping season.

SOURCE: KOA press release

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Frank
1 month ago

We have done both. True winter camping in the snow and very cold takes a specially modified rig and a lot of propane. But it is so wonderfully quiet and peaceful in a forest under a blanket of snow. However, now that we are retired, being in the cold is less interesting. Our current rig is not specially modified, so we go south with it.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

We are both a snowbird AND a winter camper. Yep have two travel trailers – the big one is essentially a small apartment in a park with many repeat seasonal ‘campers’. We have a bigger concentration of like aged friends than we do at our house. And we migrate with a small trailer that is used for short trips throughout our winter region.
Sadly, we avoid winter camping nearer to our northern home – pretty much all the campgrounds are closed between late October through late April. We are not interested in boondocking without AC power and dump stations. Otherwise we might meander more on our way south.