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By Megan Hanson

Now that many campgrounds around the country have reopened after lockdowns this spring, camping seems to be more popular than ever. Dispersed camping in a campervan eliminates any concerns you might have about if your hotel room has been cleaned properly, flying in a metal tube with strangers, or if local attractions will be open (nature always is!) 

This summer I’ve been asked for advice about camping during COVID, more than ever before, and luckily much of my old knowledge fits in perfectly with our new socially-distant guidelines. Here are a few tried-and-true camping tips, with a COVID twist.

Girl and her dog camping.

Make Sure You Pack it Out, But Also Pack-It In 

Many of the small towns and rural areas that are idyllic for camping are not so idyllic for handling global pandemics. One of my favorite spots, Moab, Utah, was reportedly only equipped with three ventilators in their local hospital when the COVID-19 crisis began. 

While many of these towns are better prepared now, that doesn’t mean anyone should exacerbate the issue by unnecessarily coming into close contact with others in these vulnerable areas.

“Pack it out” is a phrase any camper knows well, meaning take whatever trash or items you brought with you when you leave camp. But right now, “pack it in” is just as important. Before you head out on your Escape campervan trip, stop by your local grocery store for all the supplies you’ll need (or as much as you can fit if you’re going on a longer trip). Fill up on gas too. 

Something to remember while camping during COVID, if you must stop mid-trip, be mindful of where you’re shopping and, if possible, try to utilize larger cities with better health care resources. The rural areas we love will appreciate it.

Family sitting around a campfire.

When Parking, Try To Space Out!

There’s nothing worse than settling in at your camp spot for the night only to see a total stranger pull up next to you and park, either unaware or uncaring that you’d prefer your own spot for the night. 

While not camping too close to others is a courtesy under normal circumstances, it’s even more important now. If a spot is taken, consider it that – taken. Move on to another location, or, even better, reserve ahead!

If you absolutely must park near other campers — like a situation I recently found myself in up a 4×4 road at night when I didn’t feel I could safely continue driving —- be respectful. Don’t play music, don’t ask to join the campfire. Set up your sleeping area quickly and discreetly (with as much distance as possible) and be gone by morning. Maintaining social distance while camping isn’t just for now, it’s for normal.

Be Mindful And Wear A Mask or Bandana

Ok, so I probably wouldn’t have advised this as much before COVID. But, one piece of clothing I do often find myself recommending to other hikers and campers is a trusty bandana to keep in your pack or pocket — or now, tied around your neck! 

Bandanas are not only great for wiping sweat or keeping the sand out on windy days, but they’ll also protect you and those around you from any lingering germs. Available in a variety of colors, patterns, and materials, there’s no reason not to stock up on these handy items. Better yet, borrow from your dog on this one. I do it all the time.

Pick Up Your Campervan and Enjoy Some Socially Distant Camping

While many campgrounds have reopened and are welcoming visitors back for camping during COVID, keep in mind that you still have to be safe.  Plan your getaway, pack your supplies, and book your campervan from one of the many Escape depots.  Take a little time to enjoy some camping during a socially distant road trip.

Dog with a bandana.

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