A new survey from The Dyrt, a camping app, shows 31.2% of campers went winter camping in 2023. This rate has remained steady since 2021, when winter camping saw a sharp 40% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
The Dyrt CEO Kevin Long is quoted in a recent press release saying the fact that winter camping participation has stayed so high even with all travel options reopened is “remarkable”.
He attributed the trend to advancements in cold-weather camping gear that have made the experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. Four-season tents, portable heaters, and zero-degree sleeping bags allow campers to stay warm and dry overnight in freezing temps or snow.
“Travelers have every option available to them again, but winter camping remains at an all-time high. People bought the gear, braved the elements, and fell in love with enjoying the great outdoors at a quieter, cozier time of year,” Long said.
One Dyrt user from Arizona mentioned in the release shared how he is newly embracing winter camping this year. Dan H. took a road trip to experience winter in seven different states, enjoying the snow-covered scenery without crowds.
Another Dyrt user, Elisia F. of Oregon, is quoted saying aligning with the seasons feels cozy and teaches important skills for staying safe in cold conditions.
“The cold and short daylight provides a challenge, but it’s also very cozy and it feels good to align myself with the change in seasons,” said the camper. “It is also challenging from a skill set point of view. If you know how to stay safe and comfortable in cold weather, that is an important life skill that many folks no longer possess.”
While summer campsites now book up quickly many months in advance, the press release highlights that winter provides opportunities for last-minute camping in amazing natural areas without fighting crowds.
Winter camping doesn’t also have to be roughing it anymore. Glamping sites provide beds, heat, and more amenities, while over half of today’s campers use RVs or trailers. Campers can head south to warmer climates while still enjoying nature in the winter months.
The Dyrt Founder Sarah Smith grew up camping in Minnesota winters. “I’ve always embraced the cold, and I’m happy to see camping becoming more of a year-round pursuit,” Smith said. “I’m glad more people are discovering the bliss of unzipping your tent or opening your RV door to a silent blanket of snow on a pristine natural landscape.”
As demand for camping continues to reach new heights, the data indicates winter is providing a way for enthusiasts to keep enjoying the outdoors even when traditional campsites are fully booked. With the right gear and preparation, winter camping allows for seclusion and serenity in beautiful snow-covered scenery.