Must-Know Camping Gear Trends

Erik Dier, sales manager at Kuma Outdoor Gear, tells us about the Canadian company and what campers are looking for.

RV PRO: How did Kuma get its start and what is your company’s makeup like now?

Dier: Kuma Outdoor Gear started in one of the most beautiful places on the planet – Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Jasper is like something out of a postcard, and the idea for Kuma took root during our countless adventures – hiking, biking, skiing, you name it – in this outdoor paradise. In 2014, we decided to turn our passion into something tangible. We wanted to create gear that would not only hold up to the rigors of outdoor use, but our main goal was to inspire others to get out there and soak in nature’s wonders, just like we do in Jasper.

Ten years later, with team members in Edmonton and Vancouver and the support of our incredible rep team across Canada and the United States, we are sharing our love of the outdoors with our Kuma Kommunity across North America.

RV PRO: Can you tell us about the Re-Discover Project?

Dier: Over the past 10 to 15 years, we have seen an increase in campers, from all demographics, entering into the outdoors market. From affluent outdoorsmen to families on tight budgets, we’ve seen a wide range of price and durability in outdoor products. Although inexpensive gear makes it easier for all demographics to enter the market, we’ve seen major waste issues due to low durability. With mass amounts of “disposable” outdoor products heading to landfills year after year, we were determined to build products that would avoid that.

Through our “Fix It Don’t Replace It” program and building durable, long-lasting products, we had taken a step in the right direction. We’re sending parts to fix chairs rather than fully replacing them and building products that will last many seasons. However, we’ve always had this belief that there’s more we can do on our sustainability journey, especially when it comes to cutting down on waste. That’s why we’re proud to present our latest initiative: The Re-Discover Project.

Teaming up with Katrina at Earth Warrior, a local upcycling business, we’ve embarked on this adventure of giving old products a new lease on life. Together with Katrina’s expertise, we’ve created sewing patterns that allow us to repurpose returned goods like chairs, tents and even pet products. We’re giving these products a new life and “Re-Discovering” how we can continue the circulation of these would-be discarded materials.

Our goal is “Nothing goes to waste!” Every component of the original item has a purpose. From the straps and buckles to the fabric and stuffing, we recycle or utilize every piece, recreating “new” items that our Kuma Kommunity can enjoy and use again.

RV PRO: What products are campers looking for right now? What’s trending?

Dier: Recently, we’ve noticed a significant uptick in interest for two specific product lines. Leading the charge are heated chairs – perfect for those chilly outdoor hangouts or cozy campfire sessions. Plus, they’re a hit at kids’ sports events and appeal to tech-savvy campers. Last year, we rolled out our Switchback Heated Chair with Bluetooth technology, and this year, all our heated chairs, including the Lazy Bear Chair and Double Bear Buddy Chair, will be equipped with this technology. Kuma is the first company to introduce this technology in a heated chair.

On top of that we’ve noticed a trend of camping with pets, especially dogs. They’re part of the family, right? That’s why we’ve got a full line of pet gear that includes our Lazy Bear Dog Beds to keep your dogs comfy after a day of adventure. People love matching their pet’s gear with their own, so we’ve put together collars and leash sets that perfectly complement our camp chairs. Now, every camping trip is not just an adventure but a stylish outing for both humans and their furry buddies!

RV PRO: How do you decide what products to put in your collections? How do you do your market research?

Dier: Much of our market research revolves around understanding how our Kuma Kommunity uses their gear and pinpointing what additions would enhance their outdoor experiences, keeping them out there longer. We have also found it important to offer a blend of timeless designs, such as our iconic Red Plaid Collection, alongside dynamic and lively color palettes like our Backtrack Collection.

We are constantly engaging directly with our community through social media interactions, in-person events and visiting our retailers to gather insights into our customers preferences and needs. By staying closely connected with our Kuma Kommunity, we’re able to tailor our product offerings to match their need for gear that allows them to spend more time outdoors.

RV PRO: Why do you feel camping is on the rise – what  are people looking for that camping fulfills?

Dier: People are craving a connection with nature, and camping is a great way for a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy it. It’s not just about packing up a sleeping bag and pitching a tent on the hard ground anymore; it’s about finding your camping style and spending more time enjoying the outdoors in a way that fits your lifestyle and comfort levels.

Camping offers a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing people to unwind and recharge surrounded by natural beauty. Plus, there’s something truly special about gathering around a campfire with friends and family, sharing stories or songs under the stars. So, we feel people are turning to camping as a way to fulfill their need for adventure, relaxation and genuine connection with the world around them.

RV PRO: When RV dealers send their customers out on an RV trip for the first time, what are some must-have camping products they should recommend their customers buy?

Dier: We firmly believe that comfort acts as a catalyst for outdoor exploration. A comfortable first outdoor experience with their new RV will allow them to enjoy their time more, therefore wanting to spend more time camping. To truly enhance their outdoor experience, we think it is important to understand the unique preferences of the customer. This insight allows you to recommend gear tailored to their specific needs.

For example, a customer that prioritizes being warm might be recommended to check out a heated chair, ensuring warmth and relaxation during chilly evenings under the stars. Some may place a premium on protection from the elements and pesky bugs, making products like our Bear Den Deluxe Gazebo indispensable for creating a sheltered oasis amid nature. Others will prioritize having organizational solutions like our Busy Bear Camp Kitchen on hand to keep essentials easily accessible and neatly arranged.

For new RV enthusiasts, we suggest investing in high-quality RV mats. These mats effortlessly bridge the gap between indoor comfort and outdoor spaces, fostering a welcoming environment that beckons people to spend extended periods outdoors. With these products, you can provide customers the gear to balance between indoor coziness and outdoor adventure, ultimately encouraging them to embark on longer and more frequent camping trips.

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