While many vacation and travel plans are no longer possible due to the coronavirus, is it ok to go camping? And can it be done in compliance with current health regulations? These are the questions many travelers are asking this summer. Unfortunately, campers may not be getting the answer they’re looking for just yet.
Heading to the mountains or a remote location may seems harmless, but there are things to consider before packing your bags. State of Montana infectious disease expert, Cora Neumann, spoke with Outside to address the issue. She acknowledges that many campers may be in a hurry to get back outdoors after months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
“For those of us who feel healthy, as some portions of the country begin to relax restrictions, it can be tempting to rush back to life as normal,” Neumann said. Despite the urge to return to normalcy, she says there are risks of doing so.
What are the Risks?
“We must remember that all of us could be carriers,” she continued. Neumann explains that campers and travelers should continuing following current health and safety guidelines. She says there is risk involved with any type of travel in the current circumstances.
Neumann believes social distancing should continue until there is a coronavirus vaccine. “Until we have universal testing and/or a vaccine for COVID-19, we must continue to practice vigilant hygiene, wear masks in public, and continue social distancing.”
Despite Risks, Camping During Coronavirus Popularity is Booming
In spite of the possible health concerns, camping is still expecting a major spike in popularity this summer. According to the NPD group’s “2020 North American Camping Report,” camping related businesses are seeing double and triple digit growth.
Matt Powell, NPD sports industry advisor, explains that the COVID-19 lockdown is causing people to head for the outdoors. “Cabin fever has set in big time, as the lockdown and work-from-home lifestyle continues to be followed by much of the nation,” Powell said. “Families are looking for a safe escape to save their summer vacation. As a result, there’s an uptick in consumers gearing up for outdoor activities and road trips, whether local or more long distance.”
Judging by the uptick in sales, many travelers likely believe camping is a safer option than other vacation alternatives. However, campers should remember to continue safe practices while traveling to and from the campground.