RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) The Hart Ranch camping resort is 98% full in July. Many of those vacationers come in an RV. Recreational vehicles are getting more and more popular. According to the RV Industry Association, 430,000 campers were bought last year, up 15% from the year before.
"Lower gas prices, longer stays, closer to home, affordable travel,” said Tim Schnabel with the Hart Ranch Camping and RV Resort. “I think it's kind of turned into a perfect storm, especially for the camping industry."
The economy along with cheaper gas prices are big factors. Another, the RV Industry Association says, is that now over half of buyers are under 45 years old.
"Young couples are starting to buy campers to go out,” said Keith Ness of Jack’s Campers. “It's cheaper to buy a camper and go camping and have fun with their kids that way."
Jack's Campers has seen a change from when most RV buyers were retired people.
"Oh in the last three, four years it's kind of shifted,” said Ness. “You know, just younger families going with everything."
Hart Ranch has seen a gradual increase in people coming back to camping, specifically those younger families.
"Got to have the smartphones the iPhones, the iPads, whatever device, so they want to stay connected,” said Schnabel. “But at the same time, you see that emphasis from the family wanting to spend more quality time with their kids. So, they're getting the best of both worlds in a lot of places where they can still stay connected and get that outdoor experience, get that camping experience. They'll still get those memories, and post them of Facebook which is very important."
The number of campers purchased in the United Stateshas gone up every year since 2009.