COVID Camping: Everything You Need to Pitch a Tent This Strange Summer
We’re living in a movie. That’s pretty much the easiest way to explain this surreal “new normal” we’re currently stuck in. A pandemic has shut down most of modern life for months. Luckily, things are slowly starting to open up. And, if people continue to social distance and wear masks in public, we just might have some semblance of a normal summer. This means road trips, hiking, and even camping. Instead of a strange, plague-filled sci-fi movie, this summer might just be a fun, camping comedy instead.
If you live in a state that has already reopened campsites (or one that is opening soon), it’s time to book a site, plan your trip, and get out on the open road to explore America via tent or camper. Get out of your home quarantine. There are lakes to swim in, marshmallows to toast, and trails to hike!
But, since this summer is different from most, it’s important to do things a little differently than in past years. Lucky for you, we’re here to help. We made a list of the most important things you need to remember if you plan to camp this summer. Check them all out below.
Photo: Milo Zanecchia/ Ascent Xmedia (Getty Images)
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It might seem simple, but if you didn’t do it in past years, buy all the ice you need beforehand. Also, buy the firewood before. That is, unless you’re traveling far. In that case, grab a bundle or three at a local gas station or roadside stand.
Book Your Site Beforehand
Don’t wait to book your campsite when you arrive. This summer might be busy with everyone stuck at home for the last few months. There might not be any sites available when you arrive. Plus, if you book your site beforehand, you limit the amount of interactions with people working at the campground.
Get an Isolated Site
When booking your site, find one as far away from other sites as possible. If you book it early enough, you should have your pick of sites. Grab the most isolated one to avoid interactions with your fellow campers who may or may not care about social distancing.
Bring a Mask on Your Hike
Obviously, you’ll pack a mask for you and everyone in your entourage. It might not seem like you need to bring it on your hike, bu you never know if you’re going to come in contact with hikers who don’t care about social distancing. Also, you wouldn’t want to step too far off the trail to avoid them for fear of getting lost.
Avoid Sport Courts
Even if your campsite has tennis courts, basketball courts, or a playground, don’t use them. You can enjoy pickup basketball or tennis next summer, but it’s best to avoid it this year to limit contact with strangers.
Bring Your Own Kayak
If you own a kayak, bring it with you, even if you’re traveling far. This isn’t the summer for renting a kayak or canoe. You don’t know how cautious the owners of these rentals are. They might not be as considerate about sanitizing as you are.
Camp in a Forest
If you can, don’t even camp in a busy, crowded campground. Go camping in a wooded area (that allows camping) where you don’t have to walk by other campers or use a communal bathroom.
Pack Hand Sanitizer Along With Bug Spray
In past years, bug spray and sunscreen have been the most important items on your packing list. This year, it’s hand sanitizer. Even though camping is one of the safest summer activities when it comes to COVID-19, you never know when you’ll need to use hand sanitizer, especially after touching the door handles in the communal bathroom.
Bring Your Own TP
If you don’t have a camper with a toilet, you’re going to use the communal bathroom. Hopefully the campground is cleaning it often. But you should still bring your own toilet paper. Better safe than sorry, right?
Don't Camp With Friends
Sure, you usually go camping with a large group of friends. Take a year off. This year camp only with your girlfriend, wife, or whomever you live with. That is, unless you know all of your friends have been social distancing and using common sense.
Stay on the Marked Trails
Even if you consider yourself to be a real “trail blazer,” stay on the trails this summer. You really don’t want to get lost and force the campground personnel or park rangers to come out and find you.