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8 Tips to Plan a Safe Pandemic Camping Trip

A woman in a tent wearing a mask and taking a selfie.
Aliaksander Karankevich/Shutterstock

No other vacation does social distancing quite as well as camping. If you and your family need some time away, consider pitching a tent at a rustic campground this summer.

Camping isn’t completely lacking in social moments, though—people will pass by, you might share a public restroom and showers, or swim in a public pool or lake.

It’s important to make the right decisions for your family’s health and well-being while you enjoy the great outdoors.

Pack with Safety and Social Distancing in Mind

Packing for a camping trip during and post-pandemic is going to be a bit different. You’ll still need all the usual provisions (tent, sleeping bags, ingredients for s’mores), but you’re also going to need the following items:

  • Masks: You’ll still encounter others, so don’t get lax about wearing your face masks. Make sure to pack more than one for each person, as well. You never know what kind of mess you might find yourself in or how much you’ll be sweating. You don’t have to wear your mask unless you see other people, but keep it with you any time you leave your campsite.
  • Extra hand sanitizer: You probably include this anytime you pack to go camping. Because you especially want to avoid public restrooms and port-a-potties now, bring some extra sanitizer (you don’t wanna have to make some if you forget).
  • A kiddie pool: Chlorine or not, public pools aren’t very sanitary. Plus, they quickly get packed, leaving you with no way to socially distance. Consider taking a cheap plastic kiddie pool with you to dip your feet into. Be sure to check and make sure it’s okay to fill one up at your campsite.
  • A portable toilet: Most campgrounds will be stepping up the cleaning in public areas, including restrooms. Somehow, though, that doesn’t make them any less scary right now. To avoid using the public bathroom, you might want to bring along a camping toilet. You can regularly empty it in the public restroom.
  • Dry shampoo: You’ll likely want to avoid the public showers, as well. You can bring a camp shower and a separate tent for it if you want. Otherwise, just bring some dry shampoo to keep your hair clean and some baby wipes to wash yourself.
  • Extra plastic bags: If you spend much time around people who don’t live with you—even if it’s just when you’re shopping for provisions or visiting tourist attractions—you’ll want to play it safe and bag up your dirty clothes. Of course, depending on how many attractions you plan to visit, you might also need to pack more clothing than usual, as well.

Some Questions to Ask Before Reserving a Campsite

A picnic table, two tents, and a camper in a woodland campground.

There are a few questions you’ll want to ask when you reserve a campground, so you’ll want to call rather than book online.

One thing you might want to find out is how many reservations there are for the time you plan to be there. If you can, wait until close to the date you want to leave to make your reservation so you’ll get an up-to-date count.

This way, you’ll know how busy the campground will be when you get there. You might also want to ask if they have any special events going on that will attract even more people during your stay.

You also want to find out what safety precautions the site has in place to protect campers. Ask what the spacing is like between campsites, and if the campground is under-booking so spacing won’t be tight.

Some campsites are so close together, they feel like a parking lot, while others are spread out so far you have to yell to get the attention of your nearest neighbor. Ask how often they’re cleaning the public areas of the campground. Also inquire about the steps they’ve taken to protect you when you check-in and out.

As many businesses reopen and folks try to get back to some sort of normal, we all still need to be cautious and do what we can to protect ourselves. The pandemic doesn’t have to ruin all your summer plans. For now, though, they’re going to look a bit different and require an extra dose of caution.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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