2024 will be the year of camping – here's why

sleeping under the stars is back in fashion, and you should give it a try, too, if you haven't already

Set of duo camps (unmanned). In Japan, it has become a matter of etiquette to pull down a sheet for bonfires to protect the ground from flames.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Camping is a nostalgic throwback to childhood. We all have those memories of parents fumbling with portable stoves atop wobbly tables while we kids danced around, partly for fun, partly to escape pesky bugs. Tents were heavy and smelled funky, and most of the camping equipment seemed rickety and just generally unsafe.

Spending a night in a tent under the blanket of the starry sky has changed a lot since those times. The 'being in nature' element is still very much present to this day, but thanks to innovative technologies, camping in 2024 is a very different experience from yesteryear.

This is probably why so many people are attracted to camping now. In the U.S. alone, a whopping 66 million folks pitched tents in 2021, with 8.3 million embracing camping for the first time. That’s a huge increase year on year, and we’re not seeing any slowdown in this trend, either.

Similar numbers are observed in the UK, where 1 in 5 adults have been camping or caravanning post-COVID-19. Spending on camping trips increased to £2.7 billion in 2021 - 80% more than in 2020. There clearly is a hunger for camping.

Modern camping: trend or fad?

Why the camping craze? It's probably thanks to a mix of eco-consciousness and budget-savvy adventuring. Airbnb prices have soared 36% between 2019 and 2023, nudging folks towards wallet-friendly camping trips.

Combined with the unreliability of land and air travel, it’s no surprise that people are turning to camping as an alternative way to discover their immediate surroundings as well as their wider environment.

It probably comes as no surprise that the most significant increase in interest comes from the younger generation: 45% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Z have the highest level of interest among prospective new campers post-pandemic. These two generations are getting old enough to have a small family and enough income to enjoy quality recreational time with them.

These are also the same generations who have vague memories of camping trips with their parents and would like to recreate those memories with their kids. However, their expectations of what it means to camp are different, and they require more sophisticated camping gear than before.

TentBox tents mounted on a car

(Image credit: TentBox)

Modern gear for modern times

Lucky for us, camping has undergone a tech-savvy makeover, blending nature with innovation. Better still, new products and services aren’t just better suited for the job, they are also more sustainable, much like camping. Spending time outdoors without giving up almost any of your creature comforts has never been easier.

Rooftop tents are an excellent example of this approach. These clever shelters, championed by companies such as Thule and TentBox, can be pitched quickly and provide a home-from-home experience with luxurious double mattresses, lights, multiple storage compartments and more.

Sleeping bags are also getting lighter, more compact and repairable, and so are camping mats. Nemo’s Endless Promise collection is made with a mono-polymer design, creating a product that’s nearly entirely made from a single material family, making it much easier to recycle at the end of the product’s lifecycle.

On-the-go water filtration is also getting more efficient, enabling you to have drinking water wherever you are. LifeStraw’s Peak Solo Filter is hardly any bigger than a USB stick (does anyone still use those?), yet it can fill a 1-litre bottle with clean water in under 20 seconds. LifeSaver’s JerryCan can filter 20,000 litres of water without missing a beat.

Portable power stations can power all your devices, provide light and ensure you never run out of juice when out and about – they are also much safer to use. Dabbsson’s latest range of power stations uses semi-solid state LFP batteries, which have a 15-year lifespan and can maintain their efficiency for over 4,500 charge cycles.

Snoozing under the stars in 2024 is a plush affair and something you should try, too, if you’re fed up with the griefs of spending yet another holiday in Spain in July, along with hordes of other Brits.

Thanks to the increased interest in camping, the infrastructure is way better than it used to be, not to mention the exciting new products in the category. Time to pitch those tents, people!

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.