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Camping increases in popularity, in part because of recession

September 2, 2009 | 10:35 am

A recreational vehicle at Yosemite Falls in 2007.

I've noticed during recent travels to the Eastern Sierra that more people seem to be utilizing campgrounds. I've also seen more Cruise America RVs on the roads.

Now it's official. More people are camping, in tents and RVs. Why? Because more people are trying to save money by enjoying  a simpler existence.

The Outdoor Foundation, in partnership with the Coleman Co., have released a report stating there was a 7.4% increase in RV, car and backyard camping in 2008.

"In today's economy, people are returning to simpler lifestyles -- the 'less is more' ethic," said Christine Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. "Reservations for campsites and sales for camping gear are up. Camping provides fun, affordable opportunities for families to enjoy time together."

Among the "Special Report  on Camping's" key findings:

-- 33.7 million Americans participated in car and backyard camping in 2008, an increase of 7.4% over the previous year.

-- 16.5 million Americans went RV camping in 2008, compared to 16.2 million in 2007.

-- Camping participants made more than 597-million outings in 2008, averaging 14 camping days per participant.

-- 56% of campers were male and one-third of them were between the ages of 25 and 44, and most campers have a household income of $50,000 to $74,999.

Unfortunately, during my recent travels in pursuit of wary trout in creeks that happen to be close to campgrounds, I've noticed a drawback to all of this: a lack of solitude.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A recreational vehicle at Yosemite Falls in 2007. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times