I’m white, and have been hiking since I was a prepubescent. I assure you that I wasn’t inspired by outdoorsmen of yore, if I even knew their names. I grew up in the Northeast, raised by parents who have never pitched a tent. My love for the outdoors formed over summers spent at a sleepover camp in upstate New York, where we’d go on days-long trips in the Adirondacks. That is, I fell in love with the outdoors because I had the means to do so. I don’t know what Camp Dudley charged in the ’80s, but today a month there costs $4,800.
As Stuff White People Like says, “In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.” You may need to fly to your destination; otherwise, you’ll need a car and a full tank of gas. A backpack, tent, and the necessary gear will run you at least $1,000. And then you need some free time—which, if you work two jobs, you probably don’t have. That may explain why 40 percent of outdoor participants come from households with incomes of $75,000 or more, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s report.