It is clear that in this time of a major super-virus, we are all doing the best we can to be socially distant from other people. The question is, how do we properly do this when the world seems to be getting in its own way? We have the answer as camping for social distancing is the best thing you can do.
We know, it might SEEM crazy but think about it. You are removing yourself from others who likely have the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Before we ever had homes to live in, people used to live outdoors anyway. Of course, they obviously had shelter which we’re recommending too.
However, if you or your spouse/spouse and kids go camping away from it all…you can easily stay away for months while this whole thing blows over. Most places are closed at least through the next month or so, meaning you’re likely home just waiting for people to infect you sooner rather than later.
In this article, we’re going to give you tips on how to survive in the wild..of sorts. We’ll go over critical things you need to know along with some interesting stuff you’ll find useful too. That said, let’s get started.
Why Go Camping For Social Distancing?
With the rise of Coronavirus cases, especially in the United States, there has never been a better time to go into the great outdoors. You’re escaping the normal civilization and that is very important at this point.
If you’re not around people who have COVID-19, there is a very good chance that you won’t catch it. Of course, if you do end up getting it, the CDC claims you’ll know usually in 6 days to 2 weeks after exposure.
However, it has been a few weeks since we were told to social distance. Thus, if you have been home most of this time…it is highly unlikely you have it. Therefore, hitting the wilderness while this whole thing blows over is pretty smart in our book.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors on top of this, then you’re ultimately just going to have fun in this social distancing thing. We feel camping for social distancing is not only useful to you, but it’s also actually possible that you come out of all of this even better than before.
Sure, your co-workers upon returning to work will assume you did something insane…but you never caught the virus. Therefore, you’ll look like a genius. In the end, isn’t that what we all want, to look like geniuses to our co-workers?
Where Can I Camp?
A lot of people are wondering about this, which makes sense. How can I go camping if I do not know where to go? There are a few places to consider.
Of course, you have places like National Parks, which are technically both open & closed right now. This, of course, depends on the park. To see a full list of openings/closures, click here.
They are open in that people can come through and visit them, even camp there. Yet major offices, restrooms, and the Rangers’ office are closed. Thus, a lot of the needs people may have while present will not be there for the time being.
This means that camping here might be harder. However, certain parks remain open on the land itself. Yet from what we have seen, pretty much any place that allows fishing normally has closed their respective river or lake section off to this. Therefore, even if the park is open for camping, you cannot fish. Others are even against overnight camping altogether.
Thus, we’d like to recommend staying at one but if they are closed, what are you to do?
Another thing to consider are camping grounds, especially areas that will allow you to stay several feet/meters apart from anyone else choosing to camp. Again, you’ll need to call ahead to some of these places to see if they are allowing camping too.
If you’re going in the middle of the woods close to your home or simply some wild section of land…this won’t be an issue. Either no one owns this land or you can likely get special permission from someone that does. To us, these areas are the best to camp as there won’t be any true restrictions and you’ll also be away from most people.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Picking A Place To Camp
There are many things to consider when it comes to finding an area to camp. There are obvious things such as avoiding swamp or very wet areas that likely flood. Then there are others that revolve around animals. If you’re in Africa for example, camping in a desert filled with hungry lions is not exactly smart.
Yet Americans may decide to camp in areas known to be filled with Mountain Lions(Cougar/Puma) as well as wolves among other wild animals that will be more than happy to kill you.
Be careful to keep a check on if it is Native American-owned land too. While you may not need to worry about them shooting you with an arrow or poison dart these days, you are on their land and they can have you removed from it.
While all of this may seem obvious to most of us…you’d be surprised how many do not consider these things.
What Do I Need When Camping For Social Distancing?
Now comes the part that will be controversial to some. Everyone will tell you about certain key items to take but this could differ depending on who you ask. There are obvious things one needs to take with them, such as:
- At Least One Knife (2 to 5 If Possible)
- Matches/Lighters/Flint (Big Box Of Matches or Several Lighters)
- Gun (not completely needed but you never know)
- Purified Drinking Water
- Purification Tablets (purifies previously undrinkable water)
- Tent (you can also make your own shelter)
- Blankets (it’s hot but it’ll get cold too)
- Food (perishables only)
- Cannister (a few if possible for storage needs)
- Toilet Paper (mother nature waits for no one)
- Stainless Steel Pot/Pan (cast iron works too)
- Foldable Chair(s)
Sure, this seems like a lot but it really isn’t. We’d even recommend adding more to the list such as a sleeping bag or air mattress. One would assume that an air mattress is the obvious easy choice here but it’s actually not.
A sleeping bag, especially when packed with proper liners or padding, can be much better. You do not need to air up a sleeping bag or the things you put inside it. Remember, an air mattress can randomly pop on you and you might need to air it up off and on. Meaning you need a battery-powered blower that’ll eventually run out of juice.
The Battery Method
Speaking of batteries, one thing we’d recommend you take with you is just that. However, it might be best to consider a solar battery. While regular batteries need an energy source to charge from some type of electronic source, solar batteries get their energy from the sun.
One thing you’ll find interesting is that chargers using solar power can actually go up pretty high in their mAH count. Several are over 20,000 mAH, in fact. This is something you’ll want to have with you. Likely one of the best you can find is the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank.
It is 25,000 mAH and costs less than $50. It is completely solar-powered, so it’s perfect for camping.
While we think solar batteries are perfect to take, you may also want to take a back-up battery pack to help keep your stuff charged up. Some may assume it is good to take a generator, but we’ve found that just another powerful battery that runs on something like Lithium-Ion batteries is perfect.
Yet there even better options. Take the Flashfish CPAP Battery for example. It is a powerful battery at 166wh or 45,000 mAH. It actually charges in 3 different ways. While you can charge it via your average wall socket, it also charges with solar panels and your car’s cigarette socket too.
It even has a back-up battery just in case. Since you only need one Lithium-Ion battery to charge this, you could easily buy several batteries to keep around just in case.
While some may not assume they’ll need a battery around, those people are idiots. Yes, you need a battery present if nothing more than to have in case of an emergency. You’ll want to keep your phone charged if nothing more than an emergency. You may also want to charge a camera or something along those lines.
One of the most important things you will need to have is a fire. You could be an open area or in the middle of a wooden section so dense that you cannot even see the sun midday. However, fire is needed to keep you safe. Of course, fire is needed for so much.
You need it to cook things, but you’ll also need it to help keep possible predators away. While you could pick a place that dangerous animals are not known to frequent as often, you do not know if they will or not. Since we’re hitting the peak periods for bear sightings and snakes are coming out too, you’re clearly going to want to avoid them.
Snakes tend to steer clear of fire while bears are startled by several things, including fire. Mountain Lions and Wolves also tend to stay away from fires at night, so be sure to have one going at least partially in these times.
You’ll want to take a lot of matches or lighters with you. Why? Naturally, you want to keep a fire going as long as possible but you cannot be sure it will. After all, it could rain or you could forget about it. Thus, a ton of both can be helpful.
However, perhaps the best thing to have around is, well, Flint. Both a regular Flint Striker or Magnesium Flint Rod can work. This will take a very long time to destroy and will help you start a proper fire. If it gets wet, unlike a match, you just need to wipe the Flint off and it’ll be ready to strike.
Here are some you can look into and try out from Coghlan’s, and Redcamp.
About The Animals
We already sort of mentioned this, but it is clear you need to be aware of the animals in your camping area. While fire will certainly help you out, this won’t be helpful to you when you’re out and about during the day. Several animals hunt at night but some may very well hunt during the day.
Bears, for example, love to hunt in the middle of the day but tend to go more for fish than human beings. They are often at streams or shoreline areas, so you can easily avoid them by simply walking slowly away from where they are.
Never run or make noise because they are faster than you think and can catch up if they want to hurt you. If you just run into one, experts say that it is best to play dead and not be a threat to them. Bears may still cut you a bit but won’t kill you as often like this, as they aren’t commonly wanting to eat a human. They’ll get bored by you if you’re not a threat.
More importantly, whether it is a bear, mountain lion, or any other mammal that can hurt you…it is obvious that you should be aware of any offspring. The mother of these smaller animals likely won’t be far behind and they WILL attack you if you get too close.
Steer clear of the babies, regardless of how cute they might be. The mother will not care if you’re nice to them or not, as they will assume anyone close will harm her children.
Food & Animals
You have likely heard already that animals have been known to ransack campsites due to the smell of food in the area. Naturally, we humans are often cooking food using our fire. This smells good and animals will get curious.
While it is not as likely they’ll come close to campsites while humans are present, they are known to come into them when they feel no one is there. Once present, they will tear up a campsite in their search for food.
The best thing to do is to put any food you have in a high area away from these animals. Usually, tying them up in some netting high in a tree will work perfectly. Of course, you want it to be as high as you can climb to reach it. Bears can easily stand up and get something in a tree, so you should at least look for something that is over 10 feet off the ground.
Mountain Lions can partially climb trees but this is more of a problem with panthers or jaguars. Yet bobcats or anything from the Lynx family can jump high but aren’t as skilled climbing wise in North America. In South America, some of the smaller cats can climb pretty well. Yet they aren’t as strong.
To make things easier, you could likely bring a strong net with you before departing. If it is made with strong fibers, it won’t cut very easily. So it’ll take the animal far too long and they’ll likely give up on it even if they can climb up to get to it.
Perhaps the best for this is debris netting, which is more often used for construction. Everything about this netting is strong, as it is able to hold up thousands of pounds. One you can look into is the Construction Safety Debris Netting from Xpose Safety.
Survival Tips While Camping For Social Distancing
The material we’ve already brought up will be key for your survival, yet there are a lot of other things to think about too. You’ll notice above that we recommended at least one knife but feel several will be useful too.
Ideally, a knife that can do everything for you is great. However, some people would prefer to have different knives for different needs. For example, you may need to gut an animal. If that is the case, you need a knife for this. Yet you’d then take this gutting knife and use it to cut stuff open and much more.
Thus, having more than 1 is good. Plus, there might be more than 1 person on this camping trip and you’d ideally want to have everyone equipped with a proper knife.
We always like to recommend strong knives with good blades. However, if you want one that can do it all then you’re likely going to need something like a Swiss Army Knife. Ideally, a pocket knife that has several tools for many different needs is good for everyone.
You cannot find a company that makes these better than Victorinox, as this Swiss company specializes in them. We’d recommend the Victorinox SwissChamp specifically, as it has 33 functions to it. This includes a knife and saw along with mini-scissors, screwdrivers, pliers, and much more. However, if you want one specifically for hunting or simply want a good knife only, then we’d recommend tactical knives.
Those perfect in this department include the SOG Trident Elite Tactical & CRKT M4-02 EDC Folding Pocket Knife. Both can handle a lot of wear and tear. However, if you want something as sharp as possible, you want an Obsidian knife. This knife will likely be good for that purpose.
While you could pull a Survivorman or Bear Grylls and make your own shelter out of wood and other stuff in the area, we would not recommend this for a regular camper. We also would not recommend it for people who have never done it before, as you’re planning to be here for a while, right?
As a result, taking a regular tent with you is essential. However, you can still make a shelter while also having a tent around. This will give you more time to make a good one while you have somewhere to sleep and get out of the elements just in case.
When it comes to a tent, we always recommend getting one that can hold up well to the weather. While we are not certain of how many people are going to be with you on this adventure, we’ll try to recommend a few tents that will work for several needs.
The best place to start will be with Coleman, as most of their tents come in various forms that can hold more people. The one we’d recommend highly is the Coleman Cabin Tent. It is a pop-up tent and takes less than a minute to set-up.
It also uses 150D Polyester with taped seams, making it waterproof. Though we’d recommend using it on a higher area to avoid flooding, like with any tent. This tent also has darkroom tech to block out sunlight, making it great to have in this warmer weather.
The WeatherTec System all Coleman tents come with, it is cleared for pretty much anything weather throws at it. Meanwhile, the tent can hold 4 to 10 people depending on the model you buy.
While the Coleman option is good for families, there is another great for couples called the NEMO Aurora. It is able to stand up well to pretty much anything. This also includes “footprint,” which is great for rougher terrain areas. It also holds up very well against rain.
Finally, the Big Agnes Big House Tent is great for bigger families or friends. Cleared for 6 people, it is great to take with even fewer people just to have extra room.
It is also waterproof, with several storm-related additions to handle itself well. On top of this, they have included numerous pocket-sections in the tent to make sure you can store tons of stuff. It even offers great ventilation and has two door areas to enter, both of which close up with relatively quiet zippers.
What To Do About Water
We mentioned to take purified water with you, but the water often runs out pretty quick. This is why it great to take purification tablets with you too. You’ll need freshwater and not saltwater for this, as saltwater will have tons of other crap that needs to be removed before it can be good for drinking.
You’ve likely heard that is good to get water and simply boil it for safe drinking. While this will get rid of various bacteria and pathogens that’ll do you harm in the short-term, it actually will not rid the water of certain bacteria or issues from it.
For example, animals might use the bathroom at or near water and it’ll end up in it. This is especially true after rainstorms. Thus, boiling water won’t rid it of the animal’s waste anymore than it will human waste. This is why boiling won’t completely get rid of things.
The best water to get is from a running water source like a stream, waterfall, etc. Due to running water moving through areas quickly, it does not keep as many bacteria or pathogens. Therefore, you’re able to boil this. Adding a tablet into it only ensures safety.
Keep in mind that most purification tablets, such as the version from Aquatabs, can only clean a certain amount of water at a time. Usually, it is just under a liter of water. Of course, 1 gallon is equal to 4 quarts and about 3.75 liters. Thus, one tablet cleans quite a lot.
The version from Aquatabs is considered the best as they’re the only ones with an NSF-60 rating from the World Health Organization. This is equal to the number given to Clorox Bleach, which is pretty impressive.
It is possible that you’ll run out of perishables almost immediately. Any meat you take, if it is not properly frozen, will go bad within the first week too. Therefore, you may eventually need to hunt or fish. The question is, how will you go about this?
We mentioned to take a gun with you while camping for social distancing, but ideally, you want to save the gun for emergencies. The best thing to do is set traps for small game, which you can likely do beginning with your first arrival or when your food is about 50 to 75% gone.
Obviously, waiting until the last minute is not the best thing to do here. You also want to check each trap you set daily. If you don’t, another animal may happen across it and now your dinner is gone.
The type of traps best for this are things like:
- Grave’s Bait Stick Snare
- Grave’s Motion Snare
- Fixed Snare
- Rolling Snare
- Figure-4 Deadfall
- Greasy String Deadfall
We recommend looking up every one of those to learn more about how to do them. However, the idea of the snare and deadfall traps is that you’re trying to catch an animal, so you want to be sure to hide the snare under leaves or something that will move once the animal is caught.
Snares are the easiest to do this with. Deadfall traps are meant to trap an animal but they often kill upon impact as you are usually dropping a heavy rock to hit them. This is sure to trap most animals if nothing else.
Clearly, you’re putting bait there for them to go for, so we recommend something with a solid smell to it. This is found in some perishable foods like beans but you can usually get it best from fish. This is an unmistakable smell that animals will know right off.
If you’re looking for bigger game like deer or pig, you’ll have to step it up a notch. Not only will your snare need to get tighter but also stronger. You can use mere string from your shoelaces for the smaller animal game. If you’re wanting something bigger, you may need to look for something strong material-wise.
Naturally, fishing is the easiest way to get something to most of us. However, unless you bring your rod and bait, there is no guarantee you’ll catch something. Even with this, there STILL isn’t a guarantee.
Therefore, we’d recommend remembering a few key things. If you’re making a makeshift rod, you can do this using a strong yet slightly bendable branch. You’ll ideally want to go with one on a tree and not one that has fallen off.
Once you get one, simply carve it down to the wood to remove any bark. Then make sure you keep the thickness while making a cut at the top where you’re going to put your string. The best thing to use is the cordage from your shoestrings.
Just remove this and simply tie your shoes back up with the outer section of the laces. You can even cut this cordage to make it fit your needs. Make sure it is tight though.
For a hook, if you still have one of the cans from your perishable foods, just use your knife to cut a hook out of it.
Once you go into the water or sit on the bank outside of it, remember something VERY important. Make sure to fish “upstream.” Fish are moving toward your bait this way and they are not often seeing where they are going completely as the current often drags the fish.
So you could catch a fish this way even if they did not mean to bite. Fishing on a lake or river does not offer this as easily as a moving stream, however.
It is always good to consider your options when you go into the wild. Obvious hunting and fishing are good to do, but perhaps you’re a vegan. You’re going to want to stay away from meat if possible, so the next best thing is to find editable plants, fruits, and vegetables.
It is tough to know what will be available, as it’ll often depend on the area. However, there are a few key things to remember that are usually pretty universal when it comes to gathering up stuff to eat.
Experts in this field suggest that you look at the plant in all of its parts. That means to sort of separate the root from the stem, leaves, buds, etc. You can choose to eat one section at a time and this will help you determine if it’s good to eat the rest.
If a plant has a strong and pretty bad odor, steer clear of eating it. But the best thing to do is the poison test.
Do this by taking a piece of the plant and place it on your inner elbow or wrist, keeping it there for a few minutes. If your skin is irritated by it, burns, feels numb, etc. then it is obviously not good to eat. If none of this occurs, then it is not poison and is safe to eat.
You may also want to continue to test it by touching it to your lips, testing for burning or itching. After 15 minutes, put a small bit in your mouth and chew it. You should keep it there another 15 minutes. If at any time it tastes bitter or like soap, spit that sucker out!
The most common thing people want to do is eat berries. We’ve noticed that black or blueberries are often safe to eat. About 90% of those are safe to eat, so it’s a solid bet they are fine.
Yet you may want to stay away from any white or yellow berries as only 10% of these are editable for humans. Red berries are safe about 50% of the time.
For fruits, single ones on a stem seem to be the safest to eat. However, we’d recommend staying away from mushrooms or wild vegetables as they are some of the hardest to test for novices.
One of the most important things we can possibly tell you is that hygiene is important even if it’s just you out there. Your body chemistry can be thrown off by a lack of hygiene and from an anatomical perspective, we want to avoid that.
Unless you bring soap from home, you’re going to want to clean your body and hands. How can you do this if you do not have soap?
Ash. Specifically wood ash.
Some soap companies even make ash soap. This has a lot of good things in it. Lye is formed when wood ash is mixed with water. Lye happens to be sodium hydroxide while ash is mostly potassium carbonate. When this is mixed with water, it becomes alkaline.
Once coming in contact with human skin, it begins to absorb the oils we naturally produce and essentially turns your skin into soap. This allows us to wash off the top, dirty section in a water area.
This also works by cooking the lye with fat, making it into soap you can put in a bottle and produce. This was often done centuries ago before we had the soap we see today, so ash soap itself is literally thousands of years old. If it worked for them, it’ll work for you too.
We all have to use the restroom eventually. It is recommended heavily that you dig a hole for this at least, roughly 30 to 50 feet downwind from your campsite. Your waste obviously produces an odor, so using the restroom close to camp can smell pretty bad, especially upwind from it.
Even digging and putting waste in a hole that you’re going to use a good bit will continue to smell bad the longer it present. The question many will then ask is, do you bury the used toilet paper too?
Well, we’d suggest you do so but if you get desperate, it can also be burnt for fire purposes. Clearly, there is a lot that can be said about this but when you need something bad enough, you’ll put up with a lot of crap…literally.
We do not suggest making soap with this batch of ash though. You’re camping for social distancing here, not joining a crap cult.
What To Do With All That Toilet Paper You Hoarded
Don’t lie to us, you went out and bought a lot of toilet paper “just in case,” right? Now you’re in the wilderness, camping for social distancing needs, and you have a ton of toilet paper. You have far more than you need, so what could you possibly do with it all?
Whether it is while you’re camping or when you go home, this toilet paper has many uses.
We already covered how you can use it for fires. This truly is perfect for it, as long as you keep it dry, of course. Yet there are a few other uses too.
For example, take for instance that you’re wanting honey from a honeybee hive. You’ll obviously be stung by the bees in that attempt. Yet if you cover most logical sting areas with enough toilet paper, the bee stingers cannot penetrate the paper.
The reason for this is that a bee’s stinger is only going to hit you with so much pressure. While it often penetrates human skin, it can barely do this at the force it produces. Therefore, covering up in toilet paper will ensure you cannot be stung.
The same goes for mosquitoes. They cannot bite what they cannot touch. They might be able to penetrate one level of paper but not with numerous amounts. It’s almost like having bug armor.
If that isn’t enough, you can also use it as a makeshift rain protector. With certain toilet paper, as well as paper towels, they are made to get up as much liquid as possible. Therefore, with a solid amount of paper, water could not penetrate through after a certain level.
Of course, this best when the water has a place to go. Therefore, this might be best on a hill, or at least somewhere the water can flow down or away. Otherwise, it’ll just set on the paper and break-through eventually.
Toilet Paper Rolls
You’ve likely seen a ton of arts and crafts projects using toilet paper rolls. They truly can be quite useful.
One of the most clever might be using them as makeshift seed holders as you’re trying to grow something. It’ll act as a holder, similar to a pot. Another is that you can make them into bird feeders, which could be used to catch a bird for eating purposes if you get desperate enough.
They can also be used as a pest trap. Cut and angled the right way, it can catch certain creatures like rats. Since you’re essentially using cardboard here, they can chew or claw through this. So you’ll want to make a few levels of thickness with something like this.
Of course, they are round holders at the end of the day. This means you can use them for organizational purposes too. While you’re camping for social distancing, a lot of stuff may become scattered, causing you to lose important stuff. Using these as holders (obviously having them on a flat surface), you’ll never lose your stuff again.
Put pens & pencils in one, various cordage, and much more!
In one amazing story, a man actually built an entire cardboard house using toilet paper rolls. He made the rolls into what is known as “papercrete.” He used shredded toilet paper rolls, cement, sand, containers, MDF molds, and a stucco mixer to accomplish this.
Of course, you can do this with any paper or cardboard…not just toilet paper. You can view one such papercrete house invention here.