7:23 | 22/04/2012 | 87

As camping’s appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

But just as these companies have begun to adopt more export based operations, the demand for kerosene heaters at home jumped up as more campers began using them.

As camping's appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

When the sun goes down, it’s story time at the nation’s campsites. Here, lanterns illuminate families’ tents as they get together over barbecued meals. JoongAng Ilbo

At a campground in Gyeonggi last month, 100 families packed together, their accommodations blanketing the area. The recently opened venue was dotted with tents, campers and RVs where people could eat and sleep. Huge tunnel tents offered slightly less luxurious shelter to families, and singles settled down in one-person tents.

This scene at the Yibopo Auto Campsite would have been almost unheard of in Korea just a few years ago, with camping considered a pastime for the wealthy few who could afford the posh equipment it came to require. But in recent years, the number of campers in Korea has exploded, fundamentally changing the perception of the activity as it opens up to everyday people.

The nation’s camping population is estimated to be around one million this year, a five-fold increase over the previous two or three years, according to industry insiders. Today, there are four Internet communities for campers to join and share information, each with between 100,000 and 200,000 members.

This growing market has attracted the attention of global camping equipment companies eager to cash in on the rapidly growing market here. The event in Gyeonggi, for instance, was organized by outdoor clothing and equipment brand Millet Korea.

“Korea is probably the only country that enjoys camping when it rains or snows”, said Richard Guilfoile, the president of Coleman Asia-Pacific, another camping brand. “The United States and Japan have longer histories when it comes to camping compared to Korea, but Koreans’ passion for camping is second to none”.

As camping's appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

As camping grows in popularity, meals other than samgyeopsal (pork belly) make their way onto grills at campsites.

There are about 500 camping sites in Korea and those within arboretums are highly preferred by the newest participants of the pastime. Outdoor sites that include sports facilities such as miniature golf courses are also popular.

As the popularity of camping increases, so does profit for companies who produce basic camping necessities. Winter camping has been a boon for local makers of kerosene heaters, which have seen their domestic sales shrink as the country adopts more advanced heating systems.

But just as these companies have begun to adopt more export-based operations, the demand for kerosene heaters at home jumped up as more campers began using them to heat their tents. Some companies even needed to reimport heaters that they had shipped abroad for sale overseas.

Today’s consumers aren’t quite the same as those who were the mainstay for camping equipment companies in the past, though. As more and more average citizens take up the activity, veterans are recommending that newbies start with less expensive or secondhand equipment, increasing demand for these materials.

Except for kitchen tools, veterans say it takes time to get a good grip on how to properly use camping equipment, especially tents, and that flashy and expensive tools are not for everyone.

Large and high-end camping gear from Coleman and SnowPeak used to dominate the market a couple of years ago, but now the types of tents used at campsites are much more varied.

Seeing this new opening in the market, companies like Millet have begun organizing camping events and festivals to educate new consumers, providing information about the various products they offer for sale.

Coleman Korea organizes more than 10 such camping festivals every year, and online communities from Web portals such as Naver and Daum also hold camping festivals every spring and fall.

“Everyone starts camping by imitating other campers in the beginning, and they come to enjoy camping with their families”, said Bang Min-ho, who’s been camping for eight years. “And then there comes a phase when they feel bored with similar camping patterns. I recommend these kinds of camping events for those who want to perk up their camping routines”.

As camping's appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

Campers gather in a tent to enjoy dinner.

Last month’s Millet-sponsored event consisted of many different activities that campers could take with them on their next trips.

During the day, families came up with their own recipes that could be easily enjoyed at camping sites and entered them into a friendly competition.

The first-place prize went to the family of Park Wu-sik, who prepared a scotch fillet steak that was first boiled and then skewered and grilled over a charcoal fire. Greens that are only available in the spring, such as wild chives, added a sophisticated flare to the dish as a garnish.

Like many Korean men, Park hardly visits the kitchen at home, but he becomes a different person when he leaves for a camping trip with his family.

“The children are watching me. I have to cook and prepare the dishes well”, Park said with a grin on his face.

After the cooking competition, campers prepared dinners by themselves, mostly on charcoal barbecues like the one Park used. After emptying their dinner plates, another staple in Korean camping was put onto the fire: sweet potatoes wrapped up in shiny aluminum foil.

“The most exciting part of camping for me is nibbling sweet potatoes with my younger brother”, said 10-year-old Bang Eun-ji, who was at the event with his family.

As camping's appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

Famed mountaineer Um Hong-gil, center, poses with campers at an event organized by Millet Korea, an outdoor clothing and camping equipment company, late last month.

As the sun went down, the flickering lights from lanterns began to illuminate the tents one by one, setting the mood for storytelling. That’s when mountaineer Um Hong-gil started talking.

As a paid endorser of Millet Korea, Um, who has some of world’s tallest mountains under his belt, drummed up excitement for camping among the attendees.

Speaking to the crowd, he shared some of the many adventurous moments he has experienced while venturing to climb some of the toughest mountains in existence, from Mount Everest, the world’s highest, and K2, the second highest.

When Um discussed losing some of his fellow mountaineers, young campers began to sob. Um’s eyes filled with sudden tears when he recalled the moment he broke his ankle while climbing Annapurna in the Himalayas.

Although the scenes described by Um and that at the Yibopo Auto Campsite couldn’t have been more different, the veteran climber did his job – drawing in his audience and focusing their attention on the excitement of camping.

Though he’s conquered more serious terrain than his audiences will likely ever see in their lifetimes, he’s a successful guru of sorts, using his 24 years of camping and hiking experience to reach out to Korea’s new campers.

He’s likely to be especially popular with the more serious outdoor types, who have started camping in recent years.

As camping's appeal widens, retailers stake their ground

Recommended campsites

For instance, some experienced campers now choose backpacking instead of settling down at preselected camping sites, which are often crowded with families who are out for a different kind of experience.

These backpackers walk until they find suitable and tranquil places to set up camp. The so-called “Indian tents” often used by these backpacking campers weigh about two kilograms (4.4 pounds) and cost about 100,000 won ($87.8).

“Backpack camping costs about half of ordinary camping, and it also promotes self-esteem for your children because they have to carry their own backpacks”, said Sohn Han-seok, who runs a camping community called Snopy.

Going on a backpacking trip has become a monthly ritual for Lee Jung-hwa, a 37-year-old office worker.

She fills her backpack with camping gear such as a tent and camp stove before hitting the road. Since national parks do not allow camping and cooking, she often goes to small islands around Incheon.

“Most islands have mountains. I walk up to six hours from the landing place to a mountain and then set up my tent when I find a suitable, flat place”, she explained.

“If you head to the western islands of Korea, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset in the afternoon and a sunrise the next morning while sipping on a cup of coffee. I can’t ask for more than that”, Lee said.

A similar sense of anticipation likely came over Um’s crowd as he described in detail his favorite parts of camping.

“After tossing around in the tent all night, watching the sun come up is one of the most grateful moments at the Himalayas”, Um said.

And that’s just what he was hired to do.

By Kim Young-ju

DON'T MISS

2PM”s Nichkhun is the new face of ‘YONEX KOREA’

2PM”s Nichkhun is the new face of ‘YONEX KOREA’

2pm’s nichkhun is known for being a badminton player and coach for his high school team, and now a badminton brand "yonex korea" made him their latest endorser.   on.
Gugak album exemplifies traditional Korean sound

Gugak album exemplifies traditional Korean sound

The national gugak center unveils its gugak album "textures of korean traditional music: flowing, deepening and widening" on august 1. The national gugak center released.
Red Velvet’s Leader Irene Looks Cute in Her Selca

Red Velvet’s Leader Irene Looks Cute in Her Selca

The new girl group also had their first debut stage yesterday at kbs music bank where irene also introduced herself as the leader of red velvet. Meanwhile, red velvet.
Red Velvet Profile

Red Velvet Profile

Group name: red velvet (레드벨벳) label: sm entertainment debut date: august 01, 2014 on music bank debut song: happinessmember profile stage name: irene (아이린).
Boy Band Idols Enthrall Audiences in Musicals

Boy Band Idols Enthrall Audiences in Musicals

He dismisses previous criticism about his performances in musicals that he could only sing, not perform, and wows fans in scenes where he seduces women or bites off their.
MBC Music Core 08.02.14 : Debuts by Red Velvet, HA:TFELT

MBC Music Core 08.02.14 : Debuts by Red Velvet, HA:TFELT

♬ Comeback StageHA:TFELT(Ye Eun) 『Ani’t Nobody』Red Velvet 『Happiness』Boys Republic 『Dress Up』♬ Hot StageBlock B 『H.E.R』INFINITE 『Back』SISTAR.
Son Hoyoung and Danny Ahn release “One Day” for “Marriage, Not Dating” OST Part 3 + MV

Son Hoyoung and Danny Ahn release “One Day” for “Marriage, Not Dating” OST Part 3 + MV

Check out the music video for “one day” below! be sure to check out “marriage, not dating” as it airs on tvn as well!have you been watching “marriage, not dating”.
Ivy to sing an OST for KBS”s “The Joseon Gunman”

Ivy to sing an OST for KBS”s “The Joseon Gunman”

It has been reported that ivy will be singing a new ost for kbs drama "the joseun gunman". It was written by megatone with a piano sound, which really fíts ivy"s smooth.
Chu Sarang’s Three-Step Procedure For Waking Daddy Up

Chu Sarang’s Three-Step Procedure For Waking Daddy Up

On this week’s new episode of “superman returns,” which airs august 3, our beloved chu sarang’s aegyo filled procedure for waking up her father, chu sung hoon, will.
Happy birthday to After School”s Jung Ah

Happy birthday to After School”s Jung Ah

Birth name: kim jung ah stage name: jungah birthday: august 2, 1983 position: main vocalist, lead dancer, leader height: 167 cm weight: 49 kg blood type: o star sign: leoeducation: kyungmin.
Popular Drama “Fated to Love You” Stars Dress Up as High School Students During Parodies

Popular Drama “Fated to Love You” Stars Dress Up as High School Students During Parodies

”meanwhile, lee gun took up the alias of hwa san go, which was the title of his 2001 film, also known as “volcano high school. *warning: mild spoilers includedon episode.
Popular idols, actors, and artists to participate in “2014 Oh Joon Sung K-Drama Concert” this September

Popular idols, actors, and artists to participate in “2014 Oh Joon Sung K-Drama Concert” this September

However, the concert website revealed more names that were not mentioned in the initial press releases such as tvxq, taetiseo, kim hyun joong, lee min ho, and lee jun ki.
f(x)’s Amber Congratulates Red Velvet’s Debut with a Selca

f(x)’s Amber Congratulates Red Velvet’s Debut with a Selca

Meanwhile red velvet is the first group to debut from sm since the debut of exo two years ago. Has anyone seen their debut stages yet? what do you guys think?. They will.
[Video] Added Korean drama “High School – Love On” episode 3

[Video] Added Korean drama “High School – Love On” episode 3

20 episodes fri 20:55 also known as "hi! school: love on" synopsis a youth melodrama based on new fantasy high schoolers experience. Added episode 3 for the korean drama.
Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung Wishes Fellow Member Tiffany a Happy Birthday

Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung Wishes Fellow Member Tiffany a Happy Birthday

”in other related news, the group is coming up on their seventh anniversary since debuting into the music industry this coming august 5. Girls’ generation’s sooyoung.
f(x)”s Amber congratulates Red Velvet on their debut and shows her friendship with Seulgi

f(x)”s Amber congratulates Red Velvet on their debut and shows her friendship with Seulgi

Amber also wrote on twitter with the same photo, "happiness! please give our red velvet support keke. " red velvet will officially release their debut digital single "happiness".
[Video] Added Korean drama “It”s Okay, That”s Love” episode 4

[Video] Added Korean drama “It”s Okay, That”s Love” episode 4

Added episode 4 for the korean drama "it"s okay, that"s love"watch on dramafever"it"s okay, that"s love" (2014)directed by kim kyoo taewritten by noh hee kyeongnetwork :.
Clara goes for sleek menswear-inspired looks for “InStyle”

Clara goes for sleek menswear-inspired looks for “InStyle”

 in anticipation for the upcoming autumn, clara looked very chic, giving off a masculine vibe in her menswear inspired looks very in trend for the fall season. Rather than.
Second Spin: Welcome to the “Paradise” of INFINITE’s Underrated Tracks

Second Spin: Welcome to the “Paradise” of INFINITE’s Underrated Tracks

It’s the chance to showcase some of the unpromoted tracks that are overshadowed by the signature songs in the featured artists’ discography. The same can be said for.
Brave Brothers and DM collaborate to debut a new boy group

Brave Brothers and DM collaborate to debut a new boy group

Written by: loveluytakyo@dkpopnews. According to reports, brave brothers and artist composer dm are recruiting new trainees for a new boy group they are going to debut early.