For the avid camper, it is impossible to comprehend a summer without sleeping in a tent, roasting weenies on sticks, and getting sticky with marshmallows as they squish between chocolate and graham crackers. The COVID-19 shutdowns of state and national parks doesn’t mean you have to give these things up. It just means you have to be more creative in your camping efforts.
Getting the Gear Ready
Although you may not be able to camp at your favorite campground, you still have the backyard, and it comes with the perk of having a bathroom within walking distance for those who hate using porta-potties and bushes. Before you start your backyard adventure though, you have some prep-work that you will want to do.
- Shakeout the Dust and Dead Bugs – There’s nothing like slipping into a musty old sleeping bag only to find it has been the winter home of rodents, flies, spiders, and other unwanted guests. Take the time to give each sleeping bag a good shakeout followed by a tumble in the washer and dryer to ensure that the only creatures in your sleeping bag when you’re ready to use it are you and any impromptu guests that you choose to invite.
- Tent Repairs – Roll out the tent equipment to make sure that all the parts are there and in working order. Test tent poles and cables. Inspect canvas areas and sun/rain tarps verifying that there are no holes, mold and mildew issues, or broken zippers. It’s better to find out now than when camping and trying to keep out the rain and bugs.
- Inflatable Mattress Test – Many of us love camping but hate the stiffness that comes from sleeping on the ground making air mattresses a must for an enjoyable camping experience. Pull out the air mattress and give it a test run while you are inspecting the camping gear. If you find a hole or two submerse it in soapy water to locate the puncture, mark it with a sharpie, then dry it and patch the hole. Give it at least 24-hours to cure before testing it again. This will keep you from starting out sleeping on air and awakening on the hard ground beneath.
- Coolers and Ice Chests – Months in storage creates a prime breeding ground for micro bacteria, molds, mildew, and other pathogens that you definitely do not want to take on your camping adventure. Clean these items thoroughly with a bleach and water mixture followed by a comprehensive wipe down with disinfecting wipes and rinse off all residue. When packing food and ice use resealable containers to avoid leakage and cross-contamination.
- Camp Stoves and Mini Grills – Perform a deep clean of all cook surfaces, knobs, lids, and handles removing all residue, burnt-on crud, and germs. For propane cookstoves cleanout burners and inspect components to avoid gas leaks, blockages, or flame-ups for a safer more even cooking experience.
Camp Location Options
Whether the campgrounds in your area have reopened, or remain closed due to COVID-19 restraints getting out into the great outdoors is something we all need to do to shake off the cabin fever caused by a long brutal winter and isolation. Try some of these ideas to feed your camping craving while maintaining vital social distancing to avoid a more substantial secondary outbreak.
- Backyard – Enjoying your backyard doesn’t have to end at dusk. Spend some time with the kids camping in the backyard making s’mores and roasted weenies on the grill while avoiding the traffic and driving to get to a crowded campground.
- Front yard Neighborhood Camp-In – Try organizing a neighborhood camp-in where everyone sets up tents in their front yard and enjoys the community in a safely-distanced manner.
- Tent or RV Time at Grandma and Grandpa’s – Take the kids to visit their grandparents for a family yard camping trip. Not only will they get to see their grandparents, but they will also enjoy the experience of camping.
COVID-19 doesn’t have to ruin your summer camping fun. A little creativity and responsible planning and your summer memories are ready to be made. So, pull the camping gear out of storage and get your summer started. Then when you’re ready to pack all your winter gear away, give Browning Park Mini Storage a call. We have everything you require to meet your storage needs.