The great open spaces are calling to vacationers who are ready to bust out and pitch a tent. Trekking into the wilderness is particularly appealing now because it offers the promise of fun minus the risk of close contact indoors with others. The allure has sent demand surging for a spot in campgrounds along with a scramble for RV rentals. Now is a good time to keep in mind that camping safely depends on how you camp. Each campground is creating its own coronavirus distancing rules depending on local social distancing guidelines.
Not every campground is set up to provide campers distance from each other. You may want to seek out smaller campgrounds that offer significant space between pitches even if they lack amenities found at larger spots. You may consider abandoning RV parks and campgrounds by going wild or heading for dispersed camping.
Or, look closer to home and camp in your own backyard. Your backyard is the safest campground around and it’s gotta be the most budget-friendly. If you forget to pack something, you can always run home to pick it up. Here are some Backyard Camping 101 hints to get started.
Pack a bag for the getaway.
You’re heading out on a camping trip, even if you’re only going a few feet from the backdoor, so make all the right camping moves. Stow your toothbrush and pajamas, a flashlight, a book, and snacks in an overnight bag.
Take your tent for a trial run.
Practice setting up your tent inside before taking your great adventure outdoors. This is doubly important if you’ve borrowed a tent for the experiment. Here’s a hint for newbies: Use a groundsheet or tarp to protect your tent once outside.
Start early, stay late.
Set up the tent early in the day so kids can make it their own playground and get comfortable with planning to sleepover. Keep the party going by leaving the tent up the next day so the kids can continue to play explorer.
Make it an adventure.
Have a telescope? If you do, lucky you! Bring it along and look at the starry night. Bring along the family’s favorite board game and a lantern or flashlight so you can see every move. Download a scary movie for the older teens. Break out that dusty guitar. Make it a night of special family entertainment.
Make it comfortable.
Backyard overnights don’t have to be a study in luxurious glamping but they do need to be comfortable. Make sure each camper has a sleeping bag that’s rated for the weather and a sleeping pad for some extra comfort. If you’re camping in the grass, forget the sleeping pad, but don’t forget to turn off the sprinklers! Set up a hammock or a couple of camp chairs so you can lounge around your campfire-in-a-grill.
Don’t think you have to stick it out.
There’s no rule that says you must stay out all night, especially if you’re camping with small children. Little ones may find night noises scary. They may miss sleeping in their own beds. It’s perfectly okay to head back inside before morning. The point of mini-campout at home is to have fun, not endure a forced experience.
Fall back on the great indoors.
If you don’t have the outdoor space for a backyard adventure, pitch a tent in your living room or basement. Grab some sheets, blankets, and high backed chairs, and you’ve got the makings for a pretend fort.