Camping is American as apple pie and is generally viewed as favorite pastime for families. But a recent study Kampgrounds of America (KOA) showed that the demographics if who is considered an American camper are rapidly changing. According to the study, per LGBTQ Nation, “more than 60% of first-time campers in 2020 were non-white identifying individuals” with same-sex couples camping at a rate higher than any other demographic.
An estimated 1% of American households went camping in 2020, while a staggering 12% of same-sex households do the same – and increase of seven percentage since 2015. Why the sudden change? Do you really have to guess? The report states that 39% of all LGBTQ campers enjoy the outdoors as a way to escape stress and to be “away from most of society where there are constant instances of discrimination and prejudice.”
The LGBTQ community has truly connected with the joys of camping. LGBTQ Nation says:
LGBTQ campers also tried new camping activities for the first time more than other campers in 2020. 32% of LGBTQ campers tried backpacking, and another 32% tried “overlanding,” which is travelling off-road by vehicle and without established streets. 35% of LGBTQ campers took the “glamping” approach, which is a more “glamorous” camping experience accompanying more non-camping amenities than typically involved in camping. 33% of LGBTQ campers would consider purchasing an RV, and 43% are interesting in staying in an RV for travelling in the future, otherwise called “van life.”
KOA’s CEO, Toby O’Rourke, is the first woman to hold that position and has seen an exponential shift in camping. “Even when I started at K.O.A 10 years ago, I’ll tell you that it was definitely considered more of a ‘predominantly baby boomers, Caucasian’ activity. We have seen that shift dramatically over the past 10 years, shifting younger and a dramatic increase in diversity,” she told LGBTQ Nation. “We want to actively work to make sure everyone is welcome in the outdoors.”