With the unseasonably early warm weather here in VA, i’m starting to get the bug…We didn’t camp at all last year bc of all the social distancing but this year I think we’ve gone so stir crazy, I started creating ways to camp and social distance the final issues (shower, bathroom). We were supposed to go to YellowStone last summer but at this point, I would just take a local campground and be ecstatic! What plans did you or will you use to maintain camping social distancing?
I’m heading out West full-time the beginning of June. Plans are to camp a majority of the time on public lands (NF, BLM). Social distancing, mask, and regular disinfection per the “new” norm and per the states guidelines. Showering at Planet Fitness and campgrounds. Second round of vaccine on 4/15. Definitely going to spend more time outside than in.
To stay safe, I went out of my way to travel during the week to popular places for less exposure so I wouldn’t be surrounded with people. Most of my camping was in National Forests and BLM doing volunteer work.
Volunteer work meant I got to get out further into the woods with no one around and I felt like I was out there for a purpose instead of just because I was going crazy at home. Out here in Colorado (and around the nation) there was an insane influx of first time campers who don’t exactly follow LNT principals so I spent a good portion of time cleaning up well used spots.
I bought a $5 portable camp shower and would hang it in the sun for the day and shower when I got back to site if needed. For my friends who were novice campers, we hosted a virtual LNT class focused on human waste. It seemed to help with protecting the areas where my friends and I went so we could safely distance ourselves and still camp in a pristine environment. You can also buy a bucket toilet seat at Walmart and make a 5 gallon bucket toilet. I suggest saw dust toilet set up, it’s lighter weight to carry out and doesn’t smell.
oh my goodness yes, so ready to be outside again!
I was thinking about all the people I heard were using camping to social distance that hadnt really been hikers/campers before and the impact it would have. SWe typically dont hike but use the truck which attaches to our tent so everything that goes in drives right back out with us. Have a camp shower now and looking at porta potties that we can truck in. We are big on LNT and usually leave the campground with more garbage than we created since we clean up as we walk. Thank you for your volunteer time, thats awesome!
In the case of traveling porta potties, you can get a one-person standing changing tent for between $60-120 that you can put the bucket toilet in. We have done that a few times for desert camping with groups so we aren’t digging holes in the desert landscape. They fold down really well and as long as you have a cover for the bucket, you are solid for transport.
Im probably going to do a lot of day trips to state parks or shorter trips so I don’t need to really worry about the shower situation. Luckily in Minnesota we have a mask mandate that people who tend to appreciate nature tend to abide by. Minnesota also has been upgrading bathroom facilities at state parks over the years so that there are personal shower rooms that you access from the outside, so in theory those campgrounds should be low risk even if someone is using the toilet without a mask due to the fact that I’m generally not spending 15 minutes on a toilet. I’m also vaccinated, so fingers crossed that there isn’t another new variety that wipes me out.
We’re in VA too, Amy. We just camped this last weekend at Gambrill State Park in MD. About an hour from the DC/Northern VA area. Most folks stayed pretty far away, campground is small, but nice. Bathhouse is simple, and I never was in there with another person. We did as much of our care for hygiene at the campsite as possible, but even with nightly bathroom trips we still didn’t see folks in the bathrooms. We’re sticking to this region for now. Planning Shenandoah in June, but knowing that so many more folks will be vaccinated helps. While adults in our family are vaccinated, our kids aren’t and I can’t wait to not worry about them. They are pro mask wearers now, so it’ll be fine when they do need to use them, but we are all so ready to not need them, ya know?
We just returned from a short camping trip within our state. We chose the small, rustic campground that was more out of the way on the side of the national forest. It partially filled with nightly people passing through but the day was open. We passed a few people on the trails but plenty of distance. Lots of people pushing the limits in gas stations and rest areas. Glad we brought all the supplies we needed so gas was our closest encounter with others. Felt so good to camp again!
We managed to camp 41 days in 2020 even with the pandemic, selling our camper (just before the pandemic hit) and buying an A-frame trailer (which wasn’t easy to find). Even resorted to camping in our Astro van a couple of times.
We’ve got one trip done in 2021 and 43 more days planned for the year so far.