Camping, hiking, outdoor gear in high demand during COVID-19 pandemic

Americans head outdoors amidst pandemic, good for sporting good stores

SAN ANTONIO – More Americans are going outdoors to enjoy nature during the pandemic, which means a boost in sporting good sales.

Jordan Hoppe, with Good Sports Outdoor Outfitters on the North Side, said store staff members have helped a lot of people taking up new hobbies.

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“I’ve had a lot of new people that are trying fishing,” Hoppe said. “So, we sell waders and wading boots, sun shirts. So, fishing has been a little bit more popular for us.”

Hoppe says water purifiers, high-priced star gazing chairs and exercise equipment are trending among consumers.

“Outside’s one of the only things we can do right now. So, everyone is staying active and staying healthy and getting geared up to hit the rivers and lakes,” Hoppe said.

Cooler weather brings more camping enthusiasm, Hoppe said. As the weather cools down, people also start to look toward hunting and skiing season. Hoppe urges customers to plan ahead to ensure they get the gear they need.

“Ski season’s coming up,” Hoppe said. “So, this is probably going to be the most affordable year to go skiing if people are willing to take that risk and go through all the steps for precautions and everything.”

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, which tracks information for the industry, more Americans took up new outdoor hobbies between April and June this year. Initial reports show the most popular activities were running, bicycling and hiking.

Sean Bibby, with Whole Earth Provision Company, says it has become more difficult for buyers to quickly get trending items in stock.

“Our buyers ... they’re pushing the boundaries for how we are able to order things immediately and at once,” Bibby said. “We’re seeing a lot of people realize that if they’re going to get out of the house and be safe about it, it’s going to be about connecting to nature outdoors,” Bibby said.

Good Sports Outdoor Outfitters said it is offering curbside pick up and a senior hour an hour before regular business hours.

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