Campers beneath Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. (Los Angeles Times )
Americans camped in bigger numbers in 2011, and, no, the Occupy movement was not the reason.
During 2011, 42.5 million Americans went camping, up from 39.9 million campers in 2010, according to a study released Tuesday by Kampgrounds of America Inc.; the Coleman Co., manufacturers of camping products; and the Outdoor Foundation, the research arm of the trade group for the nation's outdoor industry.
The report also found that Hispanics went camping in greater numbers than non-Hispanics in 2011 and spent more on camping equipment.
The average American went on 4.97 camping trips last year, Hispanics in the U.S. went on an average of 5.52 trips, the report found.
Camping equipment sales, particularly backpacks, tents and sleeping bags, grew by 10.7% in 2011, compared to the previous year, the report said.
Although the report did not ask campers to explain why they camped more in 2011, the report quotes state park officials who attribute the increase to better weather, lower gas prices and the overall economy last year.
Another reason for the increase, the report said, was the growing popularity of glamour camping, or "glamping," the trend that replaces canvas tents with heated cabins, wired with electricity and wireless Internet, among other amenities.
"Not only popular among females, this type of luxury camping is often more affordable than hotel accommodations and plane flights, which continues to be a consideration for families across America during still uncertain economic times," the report said.
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