Survey Says: Campers Love Bowling, Hate Snowshoeing

A new survey on campers shows camping is on the rise, but it also reveals some of your tentmate’s stranger habits
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A new survey on campers shows camping is on the rise, but it also reveals some of your tentmate’s stranger habits

Late last week, The Outdoor Foundation, in partnership with the Coleman Company released their annual “Special Report on Camping,” which surveyed 40,000 Americans in hopes of unearthing some key statistics related to camping.

A lot of this info isn’t really surprising: The number of people camping is up; car and backyard camping is on the rise (stats show a 7.4 increase over 2007); 84 percent of people who camp also engage in multiple outdoor activities (look around next time you hike…we are pretty fit). Also, camping was the country’s most popular outdoor pursuit, with 42.4 million outdoor enthusiasts participating in 2008. Campers spent a collective 597.8 million days camping, averaging 14.1 days per camper.

But, we dug a little deeper, and if you look closely, the survey reveals some unexpected facts about the lifestyle habits of campers in 2008. Anything sound familiar?

Leisure Sports

- 40 percent of campers double as avid bowlers (and, we’re assuming, Big Lebowski fans). Another 8.2 percent enjoy badminton (huh?).

No Camping in New England

-By region, the smallest percentage of camping (at 4.6 percent) occurred in New England. (The Green Mountains might spend more time white than green, and the White Mountains are aptly named, but come on, New Englanders—step up and represent!).

The Kids Aren’t Alright

-Less than 15 percent of campers were kids under 12.

Lose the Snowshoes

- A scant 2 percent of survey participants enjoyed snowshoeing while camping, (which might explain the low number of New England campers).

Friends Like These

-Nearly half of all campers reported that friends influenced their decision to start camping.

Brave Backpackers

-Only 1 percent of the campers surveyed admitted finding the woods spooky. The Blair Witch Project is officially forgotten (almost).



Wanted: Time


-More than half of all campers reported that a lack of time keeps them from getting outdoors more often. Don’t worry—there’s a solution for everyone in BACKPACKER’s Ultimate Weekend Planner.

Do you see yourself in these camping stats? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

—Jessie Lucier

Special Report on Camping (Outdoor Foundation)