The pandemic inspired a group of wide-eyed new campers to embrace the great outdoors. In 2022, the outdoors industry is countering that jolt of excitement with new tools and capabilities to make the camping lifestyle even more enjoyable for every type of nature lover. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, we’ve compiled a list of camping trends you’ll want to keep your eyes on in 2022.
Top Camping Trends for 2022
1. Pet-Friendly Camper Van Rentals
In 2022, you’ll notice more options to include the four-legged members of your family in your camping adventures. Gone are the days when you have to leave your pets behind to have the trip of a lifetime.
The camping industry has been paying close attention to the demands of travelers. A majority of dog and cat owners, 54%, plan to travel with their pet in the next year.
In response, camper van rental services are not only allowing the people who borrow their units to bring their pets along, they’re even offering special packages for your pup or feline. Some rentals include built-in crates and tether leashes to make travel with a four-legged friend a breeze.
Campspot also observed camper behavior to support this trend. When comparing the share of total pet-friendly sites booked in January 2022 to the share booked when Campspot Marketplace first launched in June 2020, they noted a 13% increase. Additionally, more campers are searching for accommodations on Campspot with pets as part of their reservation—from April 2021 to January 2022, searches with pets as part of reservation increased by over 5%.
2. Solar-Powered Generators
Some of the biggest camping trends to look out for in 2022 are eco-friendly travel options. If you’re on a mission to reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying the great outdoors, this will be an excellent year for you.
Traditional RVs are fueled by electricity, generators and propane tanks, but the industry is changing. Energy sources that require constant refueling are out, and solar power is in.
Campers can now harness the sun’s power to generate energy for modern luxuries. You’ll be able to do everything from powering an entire RV with solar panels to generating enough for your cell phone or fan inside a small tent. There are now even LED lights and headlamps that can be charged on a sunny day for explorations at night.
3. Upcycled and Repurposed Homes on Wheels
If you’re genuinely seeking out the most bucket-list-worthy trip, keep an eye out for nontraditional structures to create an out-of-the-box adventure you’ll never forget. There’s nothing wrong with camping in a traditional tent, cabin, or RV, but now you can spend the night in places you never imagined possible.
One of the hottest upcycled camping trends are “skoolies,” or renovated school buses made into luxurious “campers.” The sales spike in old school buses is giving new life to vehicles that might have otherwise been sent to the junkyard.
The popularity of these nontraditional vehicles also might have something to do with their price. DIY’ers find it possible to purchase and renovate an old bus into an RV for less than $10,000. Meanwhile, the average motorhome price is nearly $70,000.
4. Longer Road Trips That are Remote-Work Friendly
If you can work from anywhere, why not at a campsite with a view? Workers are swapping dark and depressing cubicles for workstations that look like they belong in a Bob Ross painting.
The pandemic changed how many of us do our jobs, increasing flexibility for campers who crave adventure and new experiences. Gone are the limits of booking a trip around vacation days and long weekends.
According to a study conducted by the RV Industry Association, people planning to buy an RV in 2022 intend to use it an average of 25 days a year. That’s an increase from the 20 days a year RVers have traditionally camped in the past. The association believes the increase represents growth in remote work opportunities.
Sites that provide guests wireless internet can expect to gain the most from this camping trend. Internet-connection database SatelliteInternet.com reports that 64% of Americans hunt for campsites with internet access.
Campspot also observed camper behavior to support this trend. When comparing the share of total tent sites with internet access booked in January 2022 to the share booked when Campspot Marketplace first launched in June 2020, they noted a 10% increase.
5. A Busy Thanksgiving Camping Holiday
Summer is prime time for campers, but there’s a new popular season to head into the great outdoors in some parts of the country. More campers opt to simplify their holiday season by ditching Black Friday shopping for a weekend at a campground.
If you’re looking to spend your Thanksgiving in a tent, cabin, or RV, you’ll have to plan ahead. The best sites book up early. According to RV rental marketplace Outdoorsy, 70% of people reported planning a trip around the holidays in 2021, and Thanksgiving was the most popular day of the season to camp.
6. Eco-Friendly Tents and Sleeping Bags
If you’re trying to plan a trip that’s as environmentally friendly as possible in 2022, there’s plenty of new gear on the market made from sustainable materials.
Warmth and comfort are a priority for many campers, and brands have mastered how to provide those basic needs in a way that is mindful of the environment. Many providers are now stuffing their bags with Responsible Down Standard—feathers and down that come from geese and ducks raised on farms that treat the animals humanely.
Climate change and plastic pollution are also on the minds of tent manufacturers as they create structures made with recycled polyester and high-quality aluminum poles built to stand the test of time.
7. RV Rental Services With Delivery and Set Up at the Campsite
The try-before-you-buy method is a popular camping trend for first-time RVers. To make the experience as seamless as possible, rental services offer the ability to drop a rental off at a specific campsite and get it set up and ready to go.
RV rental marketplace, RVShare, reports that 77% of people are more likely to consider an RV trip if the vehicle is delivered for them to their destination. The service is especially popular for campers coming from urban areas. If you’re not an experienced RV driver, a little help maneuvering the massive vehicle through heavy traffic or tricky parking areas might not be the worst idea.
8. More Millennial and Gen Z RVers
Up until a few years ago, RV trade shows were full of snowbirds and retirees planning their next life chapter on the road.
Yet the RV Industry Association reports significant growth in camping among 18-to-34-year-olds, who now make up 22% of the buying market.
It seems younger Americans have swapped dreams of fancy sports cars or a big house with a desire to call something their own that they can take anywhere. They’re also interested in upgrading to newer models that afford them more creature comforts. Millennials and Gen Zers make up 84% of the population planning to buy another RV in the next five years.
9. Growing Demand for Campsites in the Midwest
It’s no secret that many campers’ bucket list destinations are located in states with an ample supply of mountains, waterfalls, and scenic coastal byways. While overall demand for campsites remains high in the western states, campsites in areas not as famous for their outdoor scene are getting an influx of visitors.
Three Midwest states made the top five list of places where camping reservations increased the most from 2015 to 2020. The leading areas for growth were Indiana, South Dakota, and Michigan.
10. All-Electric RVs
One of the most talked-about camping trends of 2022 is the imminent arrival of all-electric powered RVs.
The Cold War had its Space Race, but 2022 is all about the fight to deliver on consumers’ desires for a more environmentally ethical way to hit the road.
Thor Industries unveiled an electric version of the Airstream, dubbed the Estream, which features a battery-powered electric drivetrain and remote control hitching and backup capabilities. Meanwhile, Winnebago is working on their own version, a fully-outfitted eRV van that can drive up to 125 miles on electric power before needing a charge.
Both versions don’t have a production date yet, so it’s unlikely you’ll actually see any of these high-tech units at a campsite near you in 2022. Still, their future release will definitely be one of the biggest conversations around a campground fire.
These 10 camping trends for 2022 suggest that spending time in the great outdoors will get easier than ever for a wider range of people. No matter how you prefer to camp, expect to see a lot of new opportunities to make your experience everything you hoped it would be and more.
Nikki Davidson is an avid explorer and travel journalist. She has completed several cross-country road trips in her RV and lives on the Oregon Coast with her active-duty Coast Guard husband. You can follow her adventures on facebook.