Great-gran Jo Prowse sometimes gets envious of her friends with motorhomes and caravans.

The feeling lasts as long as it takes to get back to the three-person dome tent the 75-year-old chooses to call home as much as possible.

"Sometimes I go into motorhomes and I think 'this is just wonderful' and a lot of them say to me 'this is what you need'. Then I go back to my tent and I think 'this is just wonderful'. I get an amazing feeling of freedom in my tent. You wake up to the birds and you're in a nice spot. It's lovely."

And it seems she's not alone.


Trade Me has revealed that camping was the most popular search term for the over-60 age group before the Christmas holidays.

Top buys in that category for over-60s were torches, tents, portable cooking equipment, stretchers and mattresses.

Spokesman Logan Mudge told the Herald on Sunday sales in the camping and outdoor category grew 14 per cent in the over-60 age group between 2013 and 2014.

Growth in the same category hit just 6.5 per cent for those 40-60, and 5.6 per cent for the 20-40 age group.

He saw an 8 per cent increase last year, compared to 2014.

"This is far greater than any of the other age brackets so far this year."

Prowse goes camping most weekends, staying home only during the coldest months.

She has pitched her tent around the North Island, but her favourite spot is the Eskdale camp run by the Hawkes Bay Camping and Caravanning Club, a 20-minute drive from her Hastings home.

The week before Christmas she packed up and made her way to the campsite. She will remain there for four weeks, occasionally visited by husband, Gordon.

"He's working," she said with a laugh.

The tent would remain her second home as long as she was able, Prowse said.

"Four walls get to me a bit."