This is part four of a multi-part series. The next installments will be published in the coming weeks. You can read the entire series here.

We've reached the point in our analysis of the 2020 Retailer Survey results when we start digging into individual product categories to identify the top brands by sales volume. 

Which tent brand outsold all others this year, as people flocked to the backcountry to escape the claustrophobia of the pandemic? What kind of sleeping bags did customers shell out their cash for? Read on to find out.

How we collected our data

To put these numbers into context, it will help to understand the methodology we used to gather them.

First, we did not supply a list of responses for retailers to choose from; all the answers you see below were write-ins. Second, the numbers below reflect the percentages of respondents who actually answered each question. A number of respondents declined to write in an answer for one or more of the questions in our camping category. These non-answers were not included in the calculation of percentages you see here. Finally—as with all parts in this series—survey responses were collected with the promise of anonymity. We assured our respondents that their names, shop names, and other identifying information would not be shared when we published our findings. This, we hope, led to the collection of the most accurate data possible from retailers across the country.

Best-selling tent brands

We'll start with a vital piece of gear in anyone's camping setup: the tent. 

Here, we didn't see total dominance by any individual brand, but rather a plurality split between a few key players. Big Agnes, Nemo, The North FaceMSR, and Kelty were the big winners, each capturing a significant share of the vote total.

Big Agnes: 31.5 percent

Nemo: 20.1 percent

The North Face: 14.8 percent

MSR: 13 percent

Kelty: 9.3 percent

Importantly, almost all of the vote was split between these five brands. Four other brands were named in the responses—Eureka, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and Peregrine—but they received only one vote apiece. Control of the category, our data showed, belongs almost fully to the five companies listed above.

Best-selling backpack brands

Packs were another story all together. One brand clearly dominated the category: Osprey. Well over half of respondents reported that the Colorado-based brand was their top performer for the year, with the second-place finisher trailing by a significant margin.

Osprey: 65.2 percent

Cotopaxi: 5.6 percent

CamelBak: 4.3 percent

Other brands named in the category included Black Diamond, DeuterGranite Gear, Gregory, Mammut, Mystery Ranch, Patagonia, and Topo Designs.

Best-selling sleeping bag brands

When it came to sleeping bags, we saw a return to a more even plurality. Here the spread was even more balanced than in the tent category.

Marmot: 17 percent

The North Face: 17 percent

Nemo: 15.1 percent

Kelty: 13.2 percent

Western Mountaineering: 13.2 percent

Big Agnes: 11.3 percent

Similar to tents, sleeping bags had a smaller number of brands named overall. Other than the six listed above, the responses included just five others: Eurkea, Ledge, Mountain Hardwear, Sea to Summit, and Therm-A-Rest.

Best-selling sleeping pad brands

The last product for which we gathered data in the camping category was the sleeping pad. Just like packs, sleeping pad sales tilted overwhelmingly toward a single brand. This time, it was Therm-A-Rest that took it, with Big Agnes turning in a strong performance as well.

Therm-A-Rest: 53.6 percent

Big Agnes: 19.6 percent

Other named brands included Exped, Klymit, Nemo, and Sea to Summit, but none got more than a handful of votes each. 

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