Since the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of disappearing for the time being, you might want to socially distance as much as possible.
Camping can form part of your plan because it enables you to get away from busy city centers and enjoy the quiet, and remoteness of nature.
Is camping safe during Covid? While camping outdoors is considered a low-risk activity, your risk can increase if you’re in a crowded campground that shares facilities such as picnic and restroom areas, as well as if you share a tent with others.
The stress of staying free of the virus aside, it’s not always easy to find places that are open and catering to campers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Covid is changing where you can camp and how you should camp in order to stay safe. With that in mind, let’s look at what you need to know about camping during the pandemic – and where to do it.
Where To Go Camping During Covid
Want to go camping in a national park or an RV park? Here’s what you need to know about how different campgrounds are being affected.
National & State Parks
You might find that National, State, and local parks will be open during the pandemic, but don’t just assume that this is the case before you go to them.
It’s really up to federal, State, or local authorities to choose if the facilities will be open to the public, so make sure you find out the specific park to which you wish to travel.
For example, California recently announced that the Regional Stay At Home Order that was put in place has resulted in some campgrounds in impacted areas being forced to close down temporarily.
It’s also important to remember that, while some parks will be open, what might happen is that only some areas or services at the campgrounds will be offered to the public.
This will require more planning on your part because it means you’ll have to prepare for the facilities that won’t be available so you can make another plan, such as when it comes to bathroom amenities.
To ensure you stay up to date with information about which parks are open and which ones are closed, visit the NPS website. Here you can type in the name of a specific park and get information about it.
Just like with national and state parks, RV park rules and regulations regarding Covid vary. These parks, whether they’re on campgrounds or private parks, are usually regarded as “essential” services by local governments on a case-by-case basis.
That’s why you’ll have to call ahead to check if they’re operating. For example, as of October 2020, states such as Virginia and Connecticut reported that their RV campgrounds were non-essential and therefore closed to the public, while states such as New York, Delaware, and Maine are a few that have said these campgrounds are essential. Yup, things can be pretty confusing at times!
To get a comprehensive list of RV parks, visit RVillage. You’ll be able to search for an RV park you want to visit, click on it, and then be directed to the specific park’s website where you’ll be able to view the park’s latest Covid rules and regulations. Another useful resource to check out is ARVC which offers state, county, and city information pertaining to RV parks.
It’s important to note that what parks and campgrounds are open can sometimes change on a daily basis as a result of the pandemic and how people respond to it.
What makes it further complicated is that different U.S. states will treat the rules differently – and sometimes even municipalities within that state will have their own rules. Therefore, it’s always good to stay up to date on the latest rules in your area.
How To Go Camping During Covid
While planning ahead and checking to see if you’ll be able to head out to your outdoor adventure at a park or other campground is obviously important, when you get the go-ahead signal, you’ll have to ensure you remember some important tips to keep you safe when camping during Covid.
Have a backup plan
Covid has been pretty unpredictable. You never know when new regulations will crop up and these could get in the way of your camping plans.
Therefore, it’s important to keep checking with the campground right until the time when you’re meant to go so that you ensure that they’re open for business. Many state parks and other campgrounds will allow you to cancel your trip up to 48 hours beforehand so that’s good to know.
It also helps to have a backup camping plan in place in case something gets in the way of your first plan, such as in the form of a second location where you could go.
Don’t plan too far ahead of time
You might want to plan a camping trip at a resort months ahead of time, but just don’t do it. You never know what could happen by that time, so it’s best to focus more on the short-term future. Covid camping requires you to be a bit more flexible and spontaneous!
Avoid long trips far away from home
Since the Covid rules and regulations can change pretty quickly depending on the Covid numbers, it’s not a good idea to travel far away from home or to make your camping trip very long. Stick to shorter trips that enable you to enjoy camping in a safer way.
Bring more than just a mask
If you’re camping in a place that’s busy, you want to ensure you stay safe. Remember that camping demand has increased during this time with lots of people seeking out remote places, so other people might have the same plan of jumping into the outdoors as you do.
Wear a mask if you’re going to be interacting with people but also ensure that you bring your own hygiene items for you to stay clean and prevent you from having to use bathroom facilities that are used by many other people. Must-have items include your own toilet paper, hand soap, and hand sanitizer so that you don’t have to use what’s available.
Pack your own firewood and food
This is because some camp stores will be closed or have restricted hours. You don’t want to end up stuck without the resources you need during your camping trip, so plan ahead and make sure you have more than what you thought you’d need.
However, when it comes to packing your own firewood, it’s worth noting that some campgrounds insist that you only use the firewood that’s provided. Check with them if there are firewood supplies available during Covid and if not, bring your own amount of firewoods.
Avoid large groups
It’s worth avoiding camping with large groups as this can make your risk of contracting the virus higher, especially if there are some members of the group who you don’t know.
Sleep in your own tent, and try to stay six feet away from other campers unless they’re your immediate family.
Consider dispersed camping
This requires you to have your own resources because you won’t be able to make use of the campground’s facilities, but it’s a good idea if it’s available at national parks or forests in your area because it’s much more remote.
Don’t forget to plan ahead for resources such as water, fuel, and waste handling when you’re camping in a remote area. You can learn more about how to deal when nature calls in the outdoors by reading our guide, “How To Make A Camping Toilet.”
You can find out more about how to camp safely during Covid by checking out this CBC YouTube video.
Has camping become more popular during the Covid pandemic?
In North America before the pandemic, camping made up 11 percent of travels, but after Covid this number has jumped to 16 percent, so there’s definitely been an increased interest in camping.
Can camping in a cold region prevent Covid?
There’s no evidence that cold weather or snow can kill the Covid-19 virus, so don’t head for cold weather camping conditions in the hope of this.
Can you go camping during Covid?
You might feel like the Covid pandemic is throwing a spanner in your exciting camping plans, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this article, we’ve provided you with important information about Covid camping so you can still get out there and make the most of your vacation.