In an episode of the TV show Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari’s character Tom Haverford almost ruined the Parks Department’s camping trip when his camping supplies, purchased from SkyMall, drains the battery on his boss’s truck. Yet while high-end gadgets brought on what’s supposed to be a rugged outdoor adventure provide great comedy fodder, it’s actually not too far from the truth of the modern camping industry.
Today it seems that no one can go too far without checking Facebook on a smartphone or driving down the street with directions from a GPS. That dependence on technology also extends to the gear used by Americans looking to get away for the weekend.
In Geddes, NY, at the New York State Fairgrounds right outside of Syracuse, the 45th annual CNY RV and Camping Show ran from March 5 to 8 to show locals the biggest trends in RVs, tents, and other high end camping supplies.
The show was large enough to fill four whole buildings and featured booths from RV dealers and suppliers, campgrounds, and other exhibits.
But what were the hottest trends this year in camping? Jim Kring, the show’s manager, listed several new trends that are considered must-haves for families this summer.
These items ranged from lightweight, medium-sized travel trailers and motorhomes that could be pulled by the family car to higher-end motorhomes costing as much as $400,000.
Even pop-up tent trailers on the lower end of the price spectrum can cost as much as $4,500.
Meanwhile, Kring pointed out that consumers want to fill these spaces with plenty of gadgets from home, like big LCD-TVs, Bluetooth compatible devices, and power awnings — in case the campers actually get the urge to sit outside.
So much for the great outdoors, right?
“Even with all the modern conveniences, a good pair of hiking shoes, a reliable fire starter and an emergency shelter are just a few essentials for an adventure in the wilderness,” says Brent Kenda, Camping Specialist, Bill Jacksons.
Still, this year more than 43 million people will go camping, if increases at campgrounds in the past few years are anything to go by.
In fact, campgrounds around the country are already opening for the season, despite the still-chilly March weather throughout much of the country.
This past weekend, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which runs from North Carolina to Tennessee, began reopening some of its campgrounds and picnic areas for 2015.
The Tennessee Valley Authority’s camping season also began on Sunday, March 15, in six of its locations. Last year, the campgrounds hosted about 45,000 overnight stays for campers.
TVA’s campsites allow for RVs and tents. They also offer additional amenities, such as electricity, water, and sewer, and waterfront camping for a premium.
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