Camping is one of the top favorite ways for American to spend their vacations, and in 2011, 42.5 million people – nearly a third of the population – went camping. For companions on a camping trip, most people pick friends – some 70% of the time. A variety of camping sites are available, ranging from basic tents to cabins to RV hookups with all kinds of amenities.
Many camping sites offer several choices. So what do most people pick? Here are the results of a recent survey.
Tents: the holiday classic
Tents are the most popular camping choice, picked by 86% of all campers. Given the vagaries of weather and limited access to kitchen and bathroom facilities, tent camping trips are typically short: nearly 70% of tent camping trips last just one or two nights.
Cabin camping: basic comforts
Cabin camping is a popular choice for families on camping vacation with kids. Cabins can be basic structures with just a bunk and a picnic table, or they can be fully furnished with beds, living and dining room furniture and equipped kitchen. Cabin rentals account for 33% of all camping trips.
RVs: You can take it with you
All the comforts of home, chosen and picked by yourself. For many people, this is the way to go. RV camping accounts for 24% of all camping trips. Not surprisingly, RV campers tend to have the longest trips, with 28% of the outings lasting more than five days.
A hardy 8% reported sleeping under the stars, with just a sleeping bag (we hope).
Backyard camping: not just for kids
Some 11% of all camping trips happen in the backyard. For people with kids, it’s an easy way to take a mini vacation with all the fun of a campfire, tents and birdsong first thing in the morning. It’s also a great choice for backyard stargazers, specially if it’s the right time to catch a meteor shower.
Yurts: felt and warm
Yurts are felt tents used by cattle herding nomads on the Mongolian steppe. They have become a popular choice for camping as they can be used for at least three seasons in the US. Some 2% of US campers favor this alternative.
To some extent, the choice of camping sites also depends on how people arrive: some 30% of all campers reach their backcountry sites by backpacking while 26% pick drive-up campsites. Regardless of how they get there, campers are carrying on a great American tradition, with its special food, songs and a belief that the discomfort is worthwhile because it opens up a connection to the natural world.