The Quiet Revolution: Electric Vehicles Transforming Camping Trips

The Quiet Revolution: Electric Vehicles Transforming Camping Trips

As dawn breaks over the campgrounds, a familiar symphony of nature’s sounds plays out. Birdsong fills the air, owls hoot in the distance, and raccoons rustle through the underbrush. Yet, there’s a change afoot that’s altering this morning melody: the absence of car engines rumbling to life as campers pack up to leave.


This change is coming as electric trucks and SUVs begin to roll into campsites. According to Kampgrounds of America (KOA), while only about 1% of Americans own an electric vehicle (EV), the figure rises to 4% among regular campers. These eco-conscious travelers praise their EVs and call for better infrastructure in the great outdoors.

The shift to electric is not without its challenges, particularly when it comes to towing. EVs, with their robust electric motors, excel at pulling trailers at any speed without the mechanical stress associated with traditional vehicles. Campers like Matt Linn, who regularly tows with his Ford F-150 Lightning in the Texas Hill Country, appreciate the ease and comfort of towing with an EV.

However, range anxiety remains a concern. Towing a trailer reduces a vehicle’s range, and while gas stations are plentiful, charging stations are not. Despite this, EV campers like Mike Kowal manage well with careful planning and vehicles that adapt their range estimates based on towing demands.

Aerodynamics play a crucial role in extending range while towing. Companies like Thor Industries and Bowlus are innovating with wind tunnel research and design tweaks to reduce drag. Some Bowlus trailers even come equipped with enough battery power to charge an EV in emergencies or drive themselves short distances.


As the camping world evolves with the advent of electric vehicles, the experience of connecting with nature is becoming quieter and more sustainable. The journey may have its hurdles, but the destination—a cleaner, greener environment—is well worth the effort.


Plugging into the Future: The EV Camping Experience

Charging at campsites presents a new frontier for both campers and campground operators. Campers like Linn are adapting by using existing power outlets at campsites, typically reserved for household appliances in RVs. This workaround, while not causing issues yet, raises questions about the infrastructure’s readiness for the increasing presence of EVs. Linn conscientiously seeks permission from campground operators, understanding the potential strain on resources.

The current infrastructure at KOA campsites includes dedicated EV chargers at only about 5% of locations. However, there’s an optimistic outlook for expansion, with projections suggesting that up to 50% of KOA campsites could have EV chargers within the next decade. This growth will be crucial in accommodating the surge of electric vehicles hitting the roads and the great outdoors.


Powering More Than Just the Journey

EVs are not just transforming how we travel; they’re changing how we camp. Vehicles like the F-150 Lightning come equipped with multiple power outlets, turning them into mobile power stations. Linn utilizes the “frunk” of his truck as an outdoor kitchen, running appliances directly from the vehicle. This innovation not only enhances the camping experience but also reduces the electrical load on the campsite’s facilities.

As we witness the integration of electric vehicles into the camping culture, it’s clear that they offer more than a silent start to the morning. They bring a self-sufficiency that could redefine the camping experience, making it more sustainable and convenient. With the industry’s push towards better aerodynamics and the gradual build-up of charging infrastructure, the future of camping looks electrifyingly bright.



Source: CNN / Wral