Get out there and see if for yourself

(photo by Storied Life Pictures)

You may already know the numbers and more people are going camping this year than the last 15 years. The 2016 KOA camping report is full of positive numbers showing a growing market with a significant rise in camping by millennials and minorities, and in the use of electronics while in the outdoors. This rise is, according to the report, the result of a desire for more social and stress reducing activities. While this is true, it nothing new. Americans have always sought the outdoors for being social, reducing stress, and seeking adventure.

You can run surveys till you’re blue in the face, but until you get out there and share camping experiences with others you are only getting part of the story. You may not truly understand campers: why did they go camping, what they are doing while camping, and what products they use or need. We, at Mogotani Fast, have been connecting with campers face to face for years. This user-focused research provides great insights for the product needs of the modern camper.

Our latest camp research trip was a 3000 mile cross-country road trip in a rented RV through seven National Parks, four state parks, some regional parks, and countless backroads and byways. We returned with stories, insights and observations that you just cannot get by analyzing surveys or pouring through reports.

(photo by Storied Life Pictures)

(photo by Storied Life Pictures)

We saw first-hand that the primary reasons to camp have remained the same, but the comforts and access have increased significantly. This is mainly due to a combination of social communities and innovative products. Social media, such as Facebook and instagram, are driving people to bring their smartphones outdoors to capture what they did on their time off. Smartphones are not distractions, but enabling outdoor adventures beyond picture taking. They function as a map, clock, GPS, flashlight, scheduler, star chart, music player and more. Now companies like The Outbound Collective are harnessing the power smartphones and social media to create a community of adventures to share in outdoor experiences. We predict the combination of these two will lead to the rebirth of the Sportsman’s Club. We see this in campgrounds like True North Basecamp and the Trew Bunkhouse that are bringing a new generation of adventurers in the fold with modern design, gear and amenities.

Outdoor and lifestyle brands have always used the power of communities. They rely on them for their success. This is nothing new, but using the power of digital connections to tell your story is. It has paved the way for more personalized and empathic connections. Online sites like Huckberry , which require sign-ups to view content, are leading the way with stories and products to their curated community. Likewise, companies like Kammok are fueling the desire to get outside with their innovative products….hammocks offer a blend of speed, simplicity, adventure, and whimsy all in a little package. There is a reason why hammocks are taking off at retail!

After traveling between the 14,000 foot peaks of the Rocky Mountains, sweating in the heat at 248 feet below sea level in Death Valley, and relaxing in little-known hot springs in the Eastern Sierras, we are inspired and energized to create new products. We have uncovered huge opportunities for outdoor gear and the stories they create. If you are thinking “hey, we should incorporate some of those thoughts into our outdoor brand and products”, reach out to us at Mogotani Fast.