Camping with COVID-19

Posted on April 28, 2020 at 9:00 AM by Tom Swegle

Image of Camping

This may be the longest Spring break ever, but is it safe to enjoy it outdoors?

With the spread of the Coronavirus, outdoor enthusiasts around the globe have been wondering what is safe to do and what is not. Experts say the virus can live on some surfaces for up to 72 hours and can remain suspended in the air for some time after a sneeze or cough, so is it a good idea to go out and about with the family?

The short answer is yes… ish.

As we recently suggested in a recent post, it’s best to plan before your trip. Here are a few things to consider before you pack up and head to your favorite camping spot.

A virtual flyer encouraging safe social distancing at National Parks (provided by

Your Health

The fresh air, beautiful sun, and exercise of the great outdoors can do a body good and help fight that ever-looming cabin fever. However, if you (or any of your camping partners) have a fever or are feeling ill, you should stay in. The outdoors will still be there when you’re feeling better.

If you’re sick, stay home.

Is the Park Open?

The National Park Service (NPS) is watching the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the latest safety information very closely. They’re keeping parks open or closing on a park-by-park basis. Most events may be canceled, but outdoor spaces in many parks remain accessible. Doing a bit of research about the parks near you to find out if your favorite spot is open can save you time and help pick alternate spots.

If everything around you is closed, consider visiting a park virtually!

A virtual parks digital flyer provided by the National Parks Service (

Remember: If a park is closed, it’s closed for a reason. Respect the rules.

Adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines

The World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, and health professionals around the globe agree. Social Distancing and practicing good handwashing is the fastest way to slow the spread of COVID-19. If on the Trails, Camping, or in public outdoor areas, be sure to stay at least 6-10 feet away from anyone that you do not cohabitate with.

On trails, this means respecting space. When camping this is easiest accomplished by setting up your tent or camper at least one space away from other campers.

Respect social distancing for your safety and the safety of others!

What About Playgrounds?

Most city parks are closed due to COVID-19. If a child is sick and coughs, the particulates containing the virus can live for up to 4 days on many surfaces. It is nearly impossible to play on most playground equipment without touching rails, slides, bars, and other fun things. Until the authorities say it’s safe, it’s best not to let your kids play on playground equipment at National, State, or City Parks. Rather, take your kids hiking.

Keep kids safe. For the time being, keep them off playground equipment.

Final Thoughts

The best practice is to play it safe. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as often as possible, wear protective cloth or mask over your face if in a public or shared outdoor space, try not to touch any public surface (like at playgrounds), and practice social distancing. Also, pack ahead and prepare with a solid plan.

Enjoy the great outdoors and stay safe!

Before you explore the great outdoors, get Outdoor Joe’s Poison Ivy Pro®!

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