Although the first time you go camping can be an adventure, once you get camping down there is nothing more relaxing. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the desert or in the mountains, getting back to the basics is a great way to slow down and appreciate all the things that make our lives great.
However, even the great outdoors can’t escape from COVID-19’s reach. Although people are less likely to spread or catch the corona virus while outdoors, the fact that campers often travel to a campsite, mix with other travelers, and then return to their communities makes COVID conscious camping a must. Fortunately, camping is already a form of social distancing, and with a few tweaks you can camp with peace of mind. Check out ASO’s tips below!
Stay Close to Home and Keep Your Group Small
The two biggest challenges for campers are group size and travel restrictions.
For many people, camping is a chance to gather with extended family or friends who do not live in the same area. However, coming into close contact with people from other regions, by sharing a tent for example, opens everyone up to risks. The best way to camp safely is by only camping with people who live in your house and keeping your group as small as possible to make it easier to social distance from other people camping around you. Many campgrounds will already have their public areas either closed or adjusted so people can enjoy them while social distancing, but if they do not then it is on you to keep your distance and stay safe.
Some states may have travel orders that restrict non-essential travel like camping trips, but even if they don’t you should stay local in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has the itch to explore and see new things, but right now it is safer to camp closer to home. Plus, by camping local you can support local businesses.
Take the Road Less Travelled
So much COVID news is about what we can’t do, but here’s something you can do. Many public lands in America offer dispersed camping, which simply means camping in undeveloped areas. For example, Inyo National Forest allows campers to camp anywhere in the forest as long as it is away from developed or high-use areas such as roads and at least 100 feat away from lakes or streams. Check to see if your nearest public land area offers dispersed camping, and if it does look for areas that run up against private property so that you know where to avoid. Once you do so, all you’ll have to do is choose where to camp and how you’ll get there.
Don’t forget, dispersed camping means camping without public facilities or services such as bathrooms, so come prepared, don’t drive off road to get there, and leave no trace!
Be Patient and Follow the Rules
As much COVID related news as there is out there, really, we’re all still figuring this thing out. Be patient with others as we all adjust at different speeds. Whether you think the people camping near you are being too cautious or not cautious enough, the best course of action is to simply properly distance from them and keep yourself safe. It can also be easy to think a rule is only a formality and skip around it, but the truth is that if everyone thinks that way then things can go bad quickly. The fastest way to reach a new normal is for everyone to follow the rules while being patient with one another, so set an example for others around you by doing just that.