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What would you do: camping during Covid
Old 06-29-2020, 08:35 AM
  #1

We live in Miami, where the COVID numbers are skyrocketing.

We have had a camping trip planned (and rescheduled numerous times due to our children’s sports and activities) to the Smoky Mountains for this coming week.

While we are staying in our own tent, we are staying in a campground and sharing the restrooms. Our plan is to hike, maybe sight see Gatlinburg, but remain flexible and stay away from crowds.

Family members are trying to persuade us not to go.

What would you do?


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I would
Old 06-29-2020, 08:37 AM
  #2

I’d go. This seems like a fairly low-risk activity and we’re going to have to start living life eventually.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:58 AM
  #3

Given the huge uptick of cases in your state, I would stay home.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:59 AM
  #4

We camped last week but have an RV with a bathroom. For tent camping I would consider a portable toilet and set up a hand washing station on your site. You can get small tents to hide the toilet. Public restrooms both while traveling and at the campground make me nervous. If you have plenty of hand sanitizer and masks I think you will be fine.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Detacha...kle_mcd_asin_0

Last edited by Garden Gal; 06-29-2020 at 09:42 AM..
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:59 AM
  #5

We are also going “camping” which for us means renting a very small,very basic cabin in the mountains for a week. While we will have our own bathroom, we will likely have to stop at least once on the drive there for restrooms/fast food. We are going ahead with the trip. Once there, we’ll have minimal contact with others.

I think your plans sounds pretty low risk to me too. I’d go and have fun!


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Old 06-29-2020, 09:04 AM
  #6

I'd double check the camping grounds to make sure bathrooms are actually open, first. (I've seen news articles about grounds in some parks keeping them closed.)


I'd also want to be aware of how many other visitors there would likely be, and if they are from the area or traveling in from hard hit states.

Tbh, I'd probably only feel comfortable doing it if I was in an RV with my own kitchen, shower, and toilet facilities. Or a rental cabin like a PP said.

If you decide to go, the New York Times has some articles on tips for using public bathrooms currently. (They don't claim it's safe, but they have tips to mitigate the risk.)
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:04 AM
  #7

I wouldn’t go. If you had an rv with a bathroom and you could be in an isolated area that would be different but sharing bathroom facilities would be a deal breaker to me.

You are in an area with a surge of cases and you’ll be in contact with too many unknown people.
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I would not go
Old 06-29-2020, 09:06 AM
  #8

as I am old and have health issues. But if you are young and healthy it might be worth the risks.

Camping, cooking out, hiking should all be fine. I would keep a mask handy while hiking in case you have to pass someone.

If you are armed with cleaning supplies for public bathroom use that will be doable. Take your own paper towels just in case. I have heard using those electric hand dryers is not a good idea as it blows germs around from the floors and walls.

If I did go I would avoid Gatlinburg since it a city and more populated. Maybe you can research the best drives and lookouts in the area to just enjoy the vistas of the Smokey Mountains. You will be safe in your car and getting out at lookouts if you use social distancing.

Be careful. Be ready to walk away from any situation no matter how tempting if it is too crowded. Have fun if you decide to go.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:15 AM
  #9

My DD, 28, camped two nights on the way here and on the way home.

My DH just spent a few nights on the Appalachian Trail.

I'd make sure I had plenty of wipes and sanitizer for after using public bathrooms.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:18 AM
  #10

Another no-for-now vote here. Have you read CDC/doctors recommendations about travel, crowds, and shared facilities? Put your children’s health first. Can you postpone?


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Old 06-29-2020, 09:28 AM
  #11

The problem with public bathrooms is droplets lingering in the air after flushing. So, while washing hands well, and using sanitizer is important, it is still a risk.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:29 AM
  #12

I've resigned myself to no tent camping in developed camp sites where we have to share bathrooms and showers. Later on this summer I'll probably do some camping in more remote undeveloped sites - no shower, no shared beach, and just a pit latrine w/windbeak.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:31 AM
  #13

I would not go. You are risking others ( especially if you haven't been isolating) and yourselves. The shared bathrooms are problematic.

Personally we are not traveling this summer. We held off to see what it would look like, but given the current US numbers, it doesn't seem responsible or safe to do most vacations we would want. I LOVE travel, but staying home one summer while disappointing, seems like the right choice. Selfishly, it also doesn't seem like travel right now would be all that fun based on what I like to do.

Last edited by love_to_learn; 06-29-2020 at 10:44 AM.. Reason: Clarifying something
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:44 AM
  #14

Remember the Smoky Mountains will be crowded!
I would not go if you have to use public restrooms. It isn't just about the surfaces in the restrooms. It is about being inside in close proximity of other people and when a toilet flushes it causes particles to really spread.


If you can set up a porta-potty station of your own that you can empty and dump in the sewer dump, and either outdoor shower or just wipe down with wipes, I think it would be okay.


We are camping this summer, but we live in our motorhome and have all our own facilities.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:48 AM
  #15

Like a pp suggested, I would check that the public restrooms are actually open if that part is important to you. I'm in a huge outdoorsy area and around here camp sites are open, but public restrooms at the sites aren't.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:52 AM
  #16

I'm not going to advise you one way or the other because I can see both sides very easily.

My son's family has camped several times since the virus started. They have a camper with a small bathroom/shower. Camping and the boat have been a saving grace for them and especially their kids during this time.

Remember that a substantial group of posters on this board are retired and older-like me. We tend to be more vulnerable and much more cautious. You have kids and that makes a big difference in many ways. Your life is very different from ours. You have navigated the crisis with an entire family to look after and keep sane. You know all about how isolated you have been and how comfortable you feel traveling and being out in a community. You should be the one to choose.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:00 AM
  #17

Quote:
For tent camping I would consider a portable toilet and set up a hand washing station on your site. You can get small tents to hide the toilet.
I agree with Garden Gal on this. In the past I have car camped by myself and rigged up a private corner for a portable toilet and sun shower using tarp.

Looks like they now have a commercial version of it: https://www.amazon.com/ADVANCED-ELEM...79820648&psc=1
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:06 AM
  #18

Sorry, I am also in the 'not right now' camp. Shared, public restrooms and shower rooms would not be safe. Sightseeing in Gatlinburg and around the Smokey Mountain puts you at risk of coming in contact with many people from many different places. And, as you mentioned, you are from a very high count/risk area so you could potentially be spreading Covid as well.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:06 AM
  #19

I wouldn’t go when you have to share bathrooms. Also Gatlinburg is always crowded.
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In RI, CT, MA, NY
Old 06-29-2020, 10:24 AM
  #20

Anybody coming from Florida or Texas or those high case states need to quarentine for 14 days. Not sure about Tennessee. RI and CT are the only states in the country where cases are going down.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:24 AM
  #21

We’re camping right now but in a cabin with a sink and toilet but no shower. I read do’s and don’ts and public bathrooms was a big DON’T.

We do have a portable bathroom that we’ve used before. I’d do that instead.

All that we’ve since learned about Covid -kids & young people are getting it and some have severe reactions; there are lasting (even lifelong) effects on the body; healthy people (not older) can experience harsh reactions lasting months - makes me wary of taking big risks. Life will return to a new normal eventually which will include vacations. I ask myself is this payoff worth potentially getting Covid (myself and probably my family)? Only you can make that decision. Take your family members advice into consideration - they love you.

Wishing you the best!
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:57 AM
  #22

I think camping is a relatively safe activity.

But I'm in the "no" camp for a different reason. Your state is experiencing a surge in infections right now. Have you considered that you might be bringing the virus with you to other locations? You may be an asymptomatic carrier and are exposing more people to the virus through your trip.

I know it's hard, but people need to take this seriously and stay home for now.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:13 AM
  #23

I would not go. Using public restrooms and showers are not safe activities now.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:24 AM
  #24

Shared bathroom is the deal-breaker for me. No way they will be cleaning that bathroom enough to keep it safe.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:57 AM
  #25

We went to a weeklong campmeeting a few weeks ago, but we stayed in our own camper which has a toilet. Mid-week my husband started using the toilets in the tabernacle, which upset me a great deal. I pleaded with him not to, telling him I read that the virus can be in the air from flushing. He uses public toilets during his work day so felt he wasn't taking any unusual risks using the toilets there. I would say stay home if you have to use public toilets, but my husband would say go, you'll be fine.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:15 PM
  #26

Actually, there are several other states besides those where cases are going down. Illinois is down to a 2.7% increase per day from a 20% increase at its peak. New York and New Jersey are down too along with most of the Midwest and upper east coast. The problem is in the south and west mostly right now with a few other states.

However, Florida is not one of those states so there is good reason to be careful. The public restrooms would bother me, but it is up to you.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:01 PM
  #27

I agree with Izzy. Don't go. Your area is not safe right now, and you should not risk spreading it.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:31 PM
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It would depend on how carefully your family has been social distancing and wearing masks. If you are all basically isolating and being cautious all the time, I would go if you are willing to share other's germs at the shared restrooms. If you have not been able to be careful or have jobs where social isolation is not possible. I would stay home.
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:01 AM
  #29

Live in Florida. They were supposed to come to CT but would have to quarentine for 14 days. So they are not coming. They said Florida is all over the place. Few folks wear masks and restaurants are open. They do not leave their home often.
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