According to a report by the Outdoor Foundation, Americans log 598 million nighttimes a yearunder the stars. At an average of $40 in overheads and costs per darknes, thats $24 billion spent on campsites alone. Add inall the related costsgear, transportation, foodand the Outdoor Industry Association figures the industrygenerates closer to $167 billion annually.
But former investment banker Michael DAgostino, who grew up camping on a farm in Litchfield, Conn ., still calls the industry a broken business.
The tip-off point went a few summertimes ago, when DAgostino met himself on vacation directly across from a campsite of 40 people at a Wiccan convention: robes and UFO spotters and streaking and all. It wasnt what hed seen as a quiet weekend with his wifecounting aces, listening to crickets, bellies full from prime steaks grilled over a man-made fire. We emphatically took them up on some mead, he mentioned of the Wiccans, but we had to keep the dog in the tentshe was going bonkersand it was kind of like camping in Times Square.