For many of us, primitive camping may not sound like the most desired type of vacation, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the safest choice. When camping, you can easily limit your social interaction to your own family and avoid touching anything that does not belong to you. Additionally, you are surrounded by nature, fresh air, and the goodness of the sun, which are beneficial under any circumstances. Another plus? Camping is cheap, even if you need to buy new equipment. So if you are tired of your own four walls, get out and explore nature near you. In this post, you will learn how to get ready for your primitive camping adventure. A detailed checklist is included.
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I thought that my camping days were over until the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to look for alternative ways of travel that would let me do it safely. As a person living and traveling with cancer, I am not willing to take any chances. It will be a while until I feel comfortable about jumping on a plane or spending a night at a hotel. I wish I had my own RV, but I do not, so camping became my only choice. For the purpose of the post, I will be talking about primitive camping style and necessarily the actual location deep in the woods. I will be targeting my old-time favorites in the Northeast, hopefully, the best state parks in New York State. Those parks provide showers and bathrooms, but I am not going to use them. Many of them are not inviting even without the virus going around. I will most likely use electricity and water if they are available at my campsite.
HOW TO SAFELY TRAVEL DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC – PRIMITIVE CAMPING WITH A CHECKLIST
This post is not intended for backpackers who need lightweight equipment to carry it into the wilderness. Instead, it is aiming at those who are looking for stationary camping with as much comfort as possible, preferably with drive-in sites. Camping is a wonderful experience, but packing and unpacking are far from it. Let’s face it when packing for camping, you are practically moving. You need to create a less comfortable version of your home to survive, you have to take everything with you! That is especially true for primitive camping with the primary goal of becoming self-sufficient. Here is the primitive camping checklist.
The most important thing you need for camping is a tent. Its goal is to protect you from nature’s elements, so it has to be of high quality. I suggest a double-wall design that isolates you from cold and rain. The rainfly has to cover the whole length of the walls, not just the top of it. For 33 years now, I am using Eureka tents. I had a few of them in various sizes. I only changed them when new technologies became available, simply to improve my comfort, not because there was something wrong with them. Those tents are slightly more expensive than their competitors, but you pay for quality. You do not want a brand new tent with zippers that would not last your first trip or will get you flooded with the first rain. Make sure to do your research on how to choose a tent.
- tarp to put on the ground to protect your tent’s floor, pick the right size for your tent!
- extra tent stakes, they tend to run away!
- sleeping pad
- Sleeping bags
- Sheets to protect your sleeping bags just how you protect your comforter at home
- Pillows from home
- Doormat to keep the dirt out
- dust/pan brush
Another essential part of your primitive camping experience is your outdoor kitchen. I strongly suggest bringing a canopy tent with net walls that you can put over your picnic table. It will protect you from the sun, rain, and will keep bugs away!
- popup canopy with mesh sidewalls
- Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler to store your food
- camp table with storage organizer
- camp stove
- fuel for the stove
- cast iron skillet with a lid
- matches and lighter (have extras and protect them in Ziploc bags)
- utensils – large spoon, spatula, tongs, whisk
- camping coffee pot
- pots and pens
- lots of water for cooking if needed, or water jag
- clips to keep your tablecloth in place
- forks and knives
- cutting board
- paper towels
- kitchen sponge
- Ziplock bags
- trash bags, lots of them in different sizes (things get wet and dirty)
- big plastic boxes with lids to protect your things again rain, dirt, and animals
- lantern (this item is also listed under shelter section above)
- can opener
- beer opener
- biodegradable soap
- clothesline with clips
- wash bin
- baby wipes
- oven mitts
What to do about the food
Remember, the idea is to reduce social interaction, so depending on new ice every day is not going to work. I suggest to cook ahead of your trip and freeze your food. This way, you are not wasting any space in your cooler, and nothing gets soaked like it would if covered with ice. Frozen food will keep your items cold. If you are camping for a long time, start with frozen food, then move on to pasta, boxed soups, baked potatoes – items that can easily be stored without refrigeration.
Campfire and around
- camping chairs
- fire starters
- wood (bring your own, majority of parks do not allow wood collecting)
- plastic box or tarp to keep the wood dry
- marshmallows and smores kits
- roasting sticks
- Bug repellents, if you do not mind them. I recommend wearing longs sleeves and hats instead. It is a healthier choice.
Electronics – stay connected
- portable Wi-Fi in case you camp truly remotely
- portable phone charger
- multiports car charger
- portable charger power bank
- solar phone charger with dual USB ports
- extension cord if you site offer electricity
- extra batteries
- camera charger
- extra batteries
- extra memory card
- canoe or kayak
- walking sticks
- backpack for hiking
Clothing and shoes
In addition to your regular clothing, a few extra items are important when packing for a primitive camping trip.
- slip-on shoes to put them easily on and off a when entering the tent
- heavy socks to protect your feet from mosquito bites. This is the worst part of your body to get mosquito bites!
- hiking boots or sneakers
- water shoes
- hats for sun protection and mosquitos
- vinyl hooded rain jacket
- rain boots
- sweatsuit than can also be used as pajamas in case of cold nights
This is the most unpleasant part of primitive camping but important if you want to avoid human contact. The idea is to create privacy at your own campsite. For that, it is better to reserve a campsite bordering the woods. I am going to use this set up even in the future when the pandemic is over. Campgrounds restrooms and showers are usually far from spotless and often require waiting in line to use them. I would rather use cold water to shower and have my own space.
- pop up privacy shower tent
- shower bag with a removable hose and on-off switchable shower head
- folding camp toilet with bags
- biodegradable body wash/shampoo
- toilet paper
- shovel ( you know what I mean!)
- prescription medication
- lip balm
See here how my first primitive camping trip to Worlds End State Park went. I am pleased to announce that despite some rain, it was a pleasant experience.
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