Market To Market: Into The Wild (Sort Of)
There’s great allure in the great outdoors—and people are increasingly heading out to explore it. There are 78.8 million camping households in the U.S.—an all-time high, according to the 2019 North American Camping Report from Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA).
In the past five years, more than 7.2 million U.S. households have started camping, with most people camping as often as three times per year. More than one million new households started camping in 2018 alone. This upward trend stems largely from an influx of younger and more diverse campers.
More than half of campers (56 percent) are Millennials. As they have children, they’re eager to take their families camping, with 63 percent of Millennial parents saying they camp more than seven nights per year with their kids. Even teen campers look forward to the time away, with 96 percent saying they enjoy camping with family and friends.
Campers are also becoming more ethnically diverse, with non-white groups accounting for 51 percent of all campers. Since KOA began measuring campers’ ethnic mixes in 2012, the percentage of non-white camping households has grown from 12 percent to 29 percent.
No matter their age or ethnic background, all campers share a common bond: They love the outdoors. One in three campers profess they are lifelong campers—and they’re excited to share their enthusiasm with others. Nearly half (48 percent) of new campers say that other people got them interested in camping.
First-time campers will find a low barrier to entry for enjoying the great outdoors. According to the American Camper Report from The Coleman Company and The Outdoor Foundation, 47 percent of new campers spend under $200 on gear. Among camping newbies, 22 percent spend nothing at all.
Through sites such as HipCamp.com and Glamping.com, campers of all experience levels can book stays at more than 300,000 campsites, ranches, farms and vineyards across the United States. Whether campers want to stay in a remote treehouse or a luxury cabin, a unique camping experience is just a click away.
Those who prefer the activities and amenities of a resort can browse sites such as RVOnTheGo.com to peruse hundreds of resorts and campgrounds across the country. Typically designed for seasonal and long-term campers, these resorts offer desirable perks such as full-service spas and onsite movie theaters.
Wherever campers decide to bunk down, the stars aren’t the only things shining bright way out in the wilderness. Promotional products can illuminate brands and make them a useful and memorable part of the camping experience.
Read on to learn more about camps and resorts and how promotional items can spark engagement with outdoor enthusiasts.
Glamping—a blend of glamour and camping—is changing the way people experience the outdoors, one extravagantly furnished tent at a time. Also known as luxury camping, glamping is on the rise in the U.S. By 2025, the glamping market is projected to reach $4.8 billion in revenue, according to Market Watch.
For those who want to go off the grid (but still have access to creature comforts such as running water and air conditioning), glamping is the way to go. However, the experience doesn’t come cheap. Many glamping accommodations cost upwards of $5,000 per night, according to Bloomberg.
To connect with glampers, brands can play into the luxury element. Think plush custom towels or portable LED lights that illuminate a tent (or a yurt, pod or treehouse). Brands can also entice glampers to savor a meal away from a treetop dining pod by providing custom cutlery or spice packets that highlight the region’s flavors. When glamping, most people want to de-stress and relax, so look for products that can help them unwind.
When it comes to getting outdoors, more Americans are also heading to RV parks. While most Americans (59 percent) opt for tent camping, nearly a quarter (24 percent) prefer RV camping. Cabin camping makes up the remaining 16 percent of the market, according to the National RV Dealers Association.
About 14 percent of the camping population want to hit the road in a camper van, while 24 percent want to experience camping via motorhome. Those who embrace #VanLife leave a smaller footprint but they also have less storage space when they’re traversing purple mountain majesties. That means brands would do well by providing foldable, easy-to-pack or multi-use promotional items.
While camping is a great time to scale back on screen time, most campers (97 percent) bring some type of technology with them. That’s because many people like to showcase their plunge into the wild on social media. For 27 percent of Millennials and 25 percent of Gen Xers, it’s important to share photos and videos while camping. Four out of five teen campers go online at least once a day when camping. #RoughingIt
Here’s what inspires first-time campers to head into nature:
- A love for the great outdoors – 34%
- Anticipation of fun – 32%
- A significant other compelled them to go – 30%
- A desire to spend time with family – 27%
- A longing to escape the daily grind – 26%
Source: Outdoor Industry Association
Campers say these are the most important factors when selecting a campground:
- Campground atmosphere – 27%
- Campground location – 22%
- Quality of sites at campgrounds – 18%
- Types of available sites – 12%
- Availability of cabins – 9%
- Pet friendliness – 7%
- Onsite recreation and activities – 5%
- WiFi availability – 3%
The 10 RV resorts below offer the amenities of a five-star getaway. They also achieved USA Today’s Readers’ Choice 2019 award for the best luxury RV resort.
1. Motorcoach Country, Club Indio, California
2. Heritage Motorcoach Resort and Marina, Orange Beach, Alabama
3. Normandy Farms Campground, Foxboro, Massachusetts
4. Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort, Indio, California
5. LVM Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
6. Bella Terra RV Resort, Foley, Alabama
7. Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort, Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
8. Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
9. Naples Motorcoach Resort, Naples, Florida
10. Bluewater Key RV Resort, Key West, Florida
Source: USA Today
Most campers don’t venture far from home on their camping excursions. Here’s a breakdown of how far they travel:
- Less than 50 miles – 31%
- 51-100 miles – 23%
- 101-150 miles – 16%
- 151-200 miles – 10%
- More than 200 miles – 20%
About 34 percent of the camping population says GPS/WiFi is the most important offering at campsites, followed by showering/washing facilities, electricity and refrigeration.
To get in front of campers, go where the campers go. Start with these camping-friendly states:
1. Colorado: The Centennial State boasts four national parks and 42 state parks.
2. Missouri: In the Show-Me State, campers can enjoy 49 state parks plus hundreds of conservation and natural areas.
3. Montana: Big Sky Country is home to two national parks and 51 state parks.
4. New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment offers plenty of camping opportunities at two historical parks, numerous state parks and 25 scenic byways.
5. New York: In the Big Apple, campers will find four million acres of nature preserves, plus plenty of natural wonders such as the Adirondacks and the Catskills.
Campers can pack the compact hammock to kick up their feet anywhere. This item folds into a small bag and features an imprint on the bag and the hammock.
Disrupt Sports / PPAI 698768, S1 / branded.disruptsports.com
Filled with peppercorns or Himalayan pink sea salt, the micro mill adds flavor to any campsite meal. It’s made from food-grade stainless steel and can be customized with a logo on the mill shaft or sleeve. Brands can even add a recipe to further engage with campers.
LeTourdeSpice, Inc. / PPAI 762815, S1 / www.letourdespice.com
Featuring a tumbled leather strap, luminous hands and a built-in navigational compass, this watch from the Outbacker collection makes an ideal gift for any outdoor enthusiast. It’s designed with enhanced numeral markers for easy time-telling in any terrain.
SELCO / PPAI 113845, S6 / www.shop.selcotime.com
When the sun goes down, the Halcyon Collapsible Lantern illuminates a tent with 100 lumens—the equivalent of 100 candles. This powerful lantern offers adjustable brightness and foldable hooks for hanging.
AAkron / PPAI 111082, S10 / www.aakronline.com
Brands can evoke warm feelings with the Fireside Hot Chocolate Kit. A hot chocolate mix and a pouch of mini marshmallows are tucked inside a logoed paper cup for a fun gift.
Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 / www.midnitesnax.com
RV resorts can treat glampers to the luxurious feel of the Jewel Collection Beach Towel, which is made from 100-percent terry velour. Available in white and a range of colors, imprint or embroider a logo for long-lasting exposure.
Pro Towels / PPAI 112755, S10 / www.protowels.com
The Basecamp Acadia Casual Camping Tent makes it easy to set up camp at any location. Water-resistant and easy to open, it includes four ropes and eight stakes, plus a double-layer, zip-open door, a fiberglass pipe frame and a mesh-top vent cover.
Sweda Company, LLC / PPAI 113914, S11 / www.swedausa.com
When dining alfresco, the Cuyahoga Valley Foldable Eating Tool comes in handy. This stainless-steel, multi-use utensil includes a fork, spoon, knife and bottle opener. An attached carabiner means campers can easily take their cutlery anywhere.
Crown/IMAGEN Brands / PPAI 113430, S10 / www.crownprod.com
Campers can give their canine companions fresh water along the trail or at the campsite with the Silipint 1L Aqua-Fur Dog Bowl. Foldable and lightweight, it holds a full liter of water.
BIC Graphic NA / PPAI 114187, S13 / www.bicgraphic.com
When the temperature dips, the Lazy Bear Heated Chair keeps campers warm and cozy. Designed with a padded back and armrests, this chair features the exclusive ADDHEAT Control System, plus a carrying bag for easy transport.
Whiteridge, Inc. / PPAI 523471, S5 / www.whiteridgeinc.com
The Fanny Pack N Go is a jacket and a fanny pack. This lightweight jacket converts into a fanny pack keeping the wearer warm when needed but easy to pack when temperatures rise. The women’s style offers a feminine silhouette with shock-cord waistline and drop hem for added coverage. In women’s sizes XS-3XL and men’s sizes S-3XL and in black, navy, white and grey.
Charles River Apparel / PPAI 111644, S10 / www.charlesriverapparel.com
Bring a homey nostalgia to your brand with this 16-ounce enamel- finished Campfire Mug. The iron core keeps coffee or cocoa piping hot, and the stainless-steel rim provides the perfect finishing touch. This mug also complies with Prop 65.
Beacon Promotions / PPAI 113702, S10 / www.beaconpromotions.com
Grill anywhere with the Broil King GrillPro Table Top Stainless Steel Portable Charcoal Grill. It features all stainless-steel construction for lasting durability, holds plenty of charcoal and is ideal for tailgating, camping or a picnic in the park.
Incentive Concepts / PPAI 212912, S10 / www.incentiveconcepts.com
Audrey Sellers is a Dallas-area based writer and former associate editor of PPB.