Camping During COVID

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Camping During COVID

Many of us are needing a change of pace and a change of scenery after spending several months at home to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. If you are one of these people, bored and tired of staring at your living room walls, it is probably time to consider getting a little fresh air and going camping. Yes, camping safely is possible, and some outdoor time can be just what you need to stay well both mentally and physically.

If you are used to camping in crowded family campgrounds, you may be wondering how you can safely camp at such a place amidst the pandemic. The answer depends on a few different factors. Some facilities are completely shut down at the moment, while others have made modifications in an effort to improve the safety of the sites. For example, some state and national campgrounds have kept open individual camp sites but closed down shared areas like public restrooms and picnic areas. Other facilities have kept both individual sites and public areas open and are leaving it to the individual to practice safety measures.

If you decide to utilize shared campground facilities, there are some extra measures you can take to be as cautious as possible. For example, if the area you camp at has showers and toilets, be sure to bring a face mask for the moments when you are encountering other campers while in the building. You should also bring a supply of disinfectant wipes to wipe down frequently contacted areas like faucet handles, toilet handles, and shower knobs. Wipe down the surfaces before touching them and then after you have used them, to help prevent your germs from spreading to those around you.

Be sure to keep a mask at hand to put on if you encounter others. Choose activities that involve less exposure to people around you. You can use this time as an opportunity to intentionally explore trails that are less frequented. This way, you minimize the chance of coming into contact with others and potentially spreading germs. You may even discover a new favorite site that you choose to go to post-pandemic.

While it may be tempting to go to popular lakeside areas, these sites are most likely going to be heavily frequented by the public during this time. As an alternative, and to prevent the possibility of exposure, bring items like board games or outside games (such as Frisbee or badminton) that will entertain you and your family without needing to be in close proximity to members outside your household.

If you are someone who isn’t afraid to go beyond the typical family campground route, you can also give backcountry camping a try. This term refers to camping in nontraditional sites which you have to hike into. Rather than having access to water and restroom facilities, you will be responsible for bringing in your own quantities of water and using “Leave No Trace” practices. Backcountry sites can typically be accessed only by hiking in, so you will need to be prepared to hike a distance of probably several miles while carrying your supplies on your back.

You may find it tempting to stay inside for the indefinite future, but using common sense and partaking in safety precautions, you and your family can get some outdoor time to take care of your mental and physical wellness during these difficult times.

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