So we are now living through the pandemic that is COVID-19. As much as this has brought huge disappointment to many people as most families start their camping season by going camping during the Easter holidays all is not lost. As you may have seen on social media some people are still finding ways to get their camping kicks. There are many ways you can still be camping and doing camping related things! Read on to see how you can get involved in some great camping that may make history or things to keep both you and the kids busy that still involves camping and being outdoors.
These are tough times for everyone especially since while writing this the whole country is in lockdown. As a nation, we have never known the struggle of having our freedom (mostly) taken away from us. For many outdoor enthusiasts, this has been a real struggle. The message is to “Stay at Home, protect the NHS, save lives”. Many are finding it hard as we are not used to
Camp Site Closures
With this pandemic going on all campsites are closed and may remain so for much of the year as we are still uncertain on when such restrictions such as travel, get together and large gatherings will be lifted. If this is not until much later in the year, many campsites may not open at all this season and some may even have to close due to their financial situation through these tough times. It is sad to think that some of our favorite campsites might not survive these times, for us they are our holiday destination full of fun and laughter but for businesses, it is their lives, paychecks and a lot of hard work behind the scenes to give us such great memories.
For most of us this year our campsite will be our garden if we are lucky enough to have one or a small tent in the house if space allows. Although it is not what we want it is a positive way to make the best of such an uncertain time.
If wild camping is more your thing, even if it is solo camping please do not think you can still go out and camp in the wild and still call it self-isolating! You are still going to walk across some communal ground and maybe through farmed lands to get to your destination and with this, you risk both catching COVID-19 and spreading it. As the virus has an incubation period of around 14 days you are not going to know and if you take sick while out in the sticks you are at risk of not being able to get the help you need and if you pass it on to a farmer or landowner you risk them passing it on to their loved ones and workers who are working hard to help feed this nation.
What You Can Do
Below I have listed some camping-related things that you can do to help keep both you and the kids happy and busy over the next few weeks, and what’s more, they are all FREE, unless you want to buy some ingredients for recipes if you don’t already have them at home.
Sort Through Your Camping Gear
You may have been wanting to replace a few things this season after noticing they were getting a little tired last year and if you are like me you won’t part with items until you replace them, just in case!
Sort through your stuff and see if there is anything you can breathe new life into. Can it be cleaned, can it be mended at home or can it be saved and passed on if it is an item that has been outgrown, such as sleeping bags?
Often we will discard things and make new purchases simply because it is easier. Now, for most of us we have more time on our hands, so why not put that to good use and save something you already have. With time and a little effort, we can save some of our previously loved items and when complete you feel good as you have done something useful, productive and saved something from landfills.
Camp At Home
Why not set up camp in your garden or even in the house if you have a small enough tent. This is especially good if you have kids as they can make anything an adventure. What’s more, you can have many more home comforts than you would when camping and you certainly won’t have to play the dreaded “Car Tetris” and “are we there yet”. You will have home comforts such as your own toilet, a full kitchen and can even take your favorite duvet and pillow into the tent with you. If you are missing the fresh air you could always open your windows if you are having to camp indoors.
Depending on where you live you may also be able to have a small fire using a fire pit or chimenea. If you can’t have that or you are camping indoors you can maybe download
The Great British Campout for NHS Staff
This event is taking place on April the 4th and you can get more information by joining the Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/218282259248985
This event has been organized to help raise funds for the NHS staff and donations can be made through a JustGiving page. They are asking people who are taking part in this event to try and please donate £2 to the cause although this is optional. On the night there will be an organized family quiz which will happen online at 7 pm.
You are free to camp out in your tent in your campervan or caravan on your drive and join in the fun as well as being part of something big. So far there are 2K marked as going and 1.5K marked as interested.
So why not join in some of the fun and give the page a little look.
The Great Garden Indoor/Outdoor Camp Easter 2020 (10th, 11th &12th April)
Another Facebook group has organized an Easter Camp Weekend and this is taking place from the morning of the 10th at 9 am until the morning of the 13th. What’s more, there is no rush to pack up if you have nowhere else to be that day. Group page can be found here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2841301125987223/
This is the same idea as the previous camp that you camp in your garden or front room for the Easter weekend, and again, you can still have all those home comforts while enjoying your camp.
Now, we know this is not how many of us envisioned our Easter weekend camp to turn out but you never know it could be fun and give you the chance to improve on your camping skills. Whether this is getting the tent pitched just right or improving on your outdoor or camping cooking. Remember how close to your actual camping trip you are prepared to go is up to you. You can just put the tent up and use your own toilet and kitchen in the house or you can go the full hog and have all your kit out and have a full-on camp.
Although I would say please stay safe and don’t use your camping stoves in the house if they are gas as carbon monoxide poisoning can still occur.
Camping Related Activities
What kind of activities do you get up to while away camping and how many of these can you safely practice at home?
Games and Board Games – Do you play board games or verbal games while camping that you don’t play at home? If so why not sit in the garden or tent and have a few games together.
Wildlife Spotting – Do you like spotting wildlife? Why not try to identify as much wildlife as you can from your garden and learn about the life that surrounds you on a daily basis. From the insects in your garden to the birds flying overhead. Why not use this time to learn more about them. Download some apps to help with this such as GoBird – Guide to Nearby Birds or Picture Insect. You’ll be amazed at what lives around you that you may not have noticed before. You could also keep a little note of what all you spot and tally it up at the end of the day.
Plant Identifying – As with the wildlife spotting about why not identify the plants around you. You will be surprised at how many they are too. Look them up and learn about them and you may just learn that all those pesky weeds you have been killing off each year are in fact some very useful and medicinal plants. Again you can get some apps on your phone or tablets that will help you identify these and give you some information.
Knot Tying – Do you know your knots? Why not use this time to learn about knots. How to tie them and what they are useful for. This is a great learning activity for both kids and adults as using knots is becoming practiced less and less in everyday life. You can use a multitude of household items for this including shoelaces, string, rope, garden twine. Just see what’s lying around that is suitable to use. You can also make it interesting by using things such as cola or strawberry laces if you have any in the house or are able to get them in with your shop. Please don’t go out specifically for them though as they are not an essential item! If you don’t have them and are trying to keep the kids interested and enjoying this activity why not give a small treat for every knot the kids can master.
Wood Whittling – If you have some older kids around 4 years + is ideal for this. (Supervised of course). And if you have some spare bits of wood and a few old sharp knives lying about why not try some wood whittling and even making some good old wooden tent pegs. Now, you may be thinking that a 4-year-old is too young to be given a sharp knife to carve out wood but for many countries and childcare practices, this is common practice. We are a nation that has become way too risk-averse over the past few decades. Giving children responsibility helps them to grow. You know your child and if you think they will handle the responsibility and engage in this activity in can be an afternoon well spent. find a spot to sit and sit with them, show them what do do and give some guidance, then sit together and whittle, you might just be amazed at how relaxed they become and the conversations you have with them.
You can watch some Youtube Videos here if you are unsure about how to make them.
Cooking – Cooking is always a great thing to do either on your own or with kids. It’s a skill that many forget about yet it is key to our survival to prepare and cook food for ourselves. Now that many more of us have some extra time on our hands why not try some extra cooking. Maybe there is a new camping recipe you’ve seen that you would like to try but don’t want to wait till your on the campsite to see if it turns out or whether you like it? Take this time to try cooking or baking it at home first. There are probably many dishes you have seen that you would like to add to your repertoire. You can even get your camping kitchen out if the weather is good and do some outdoor cooking.
Maybe you have your favorite camping meals for when away. Why not make these at home to give your at-home camp a little more authenticity. Just because you are camping at home doesn’t mean you have to go without some of your favorite camping food or even s’mores. Why not have some bake at home s’mores for a change, no fire needed for the ones we have listed below.
Oven-Baked S’mores Dip – this recipe is made with only 3 ingredients. What’s more 2 of them are open to all sorts of suggestions.
Oven-Baked Banana Smores– a great sweet treat.
Baked oven smores-converted– the classic s’mores only done in the oven.
I hope this has helped to give you some ideas about how camping can still be a part of your life this year even though you may not actually get away camping to your favorite places. But it is important to follow the guidelines on staying safe throughout this pandemic to keep everyone safe, especially where we can our own families.
Hopefully, by practicing your skills at home this year and learning some new things, you will be able to totally rock the campsite next year once we can all enjoy camping again.
For now, stay safe and take care of yourself.