Nights between tents

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I have loved camping ever since I was a little kid. I remember vividly the entire experience. My parents really love being outdoors, so my two brothers and I naturally went with them on such adventures. We took trips that lasted a life time and then after many hours we finally reached paradise, or what we consider paradise to be. As different s we all are, we share a love for the outdoors, for the simplicity of living around nature. It is the absolute best.

It is no secret that in my family we love camping! But, camping can be done as a family, solo, in the back garden. In my point of view, all forms of camping are great.

The love for camping

Ana María Rodriguez © Solkes

There are so many reasons why and we want everyone to experience the joys and benefits this fantastic hobby has to offer. But, in all honesty, things have seriously changed in the past few months. Since 2020, life has been completely shaken around.

Let me start by stating that camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a tent or a recreational vehicle.

Camping as a recreational activity became popular in the early 20th century. With time, it grew in popularity among other socioeconomic classes.

I am talking about camping through my own experience. And, for me, thinking about going camping has a stress-relieving effect on me and boosts my mood.

It had been years since I had been camping. The last tine I did it, I lived in Colombia and it must’ve been more than 15 years ago.

Camping means time outdoors, which never fails to make me happy, and the thought of even just a day or two in my tent, is enough to get me through the toughest of weeks.

The benefits of camping during a pandemic

Camping can inspire the most heavenly of thoughts. But in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it inspires a sobering question as well: Is it safe?

Camping is among the safer forms of recreation you can enjoy right now. Even so, it’s not without risk.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

Let us begin with something as simple as fresh air. Something as simple as fresh air can make us feel a whole lot better. Let us be completely honest, fresh air has taken an entire new meaning since 2020 began. I mean, we are all sort of “cooked up” in our only little bubbles, trying to avoid others and trying to keep sane at the time has never been harder (at least for my friends and I).

Air doesn’t get fresher than when camping! Some of the amazing benefits are: better digestion, blood pressure, heart arte, immune system and it obviously boosts your energy levels.

Oh, and since we have been for such a long time indoors, our bodies are getting less sunshine, therefore, less amount of vitamin D.

Being outdoors is also a great way to reset your sleeping pattern. The fact is that natural light ensures that you wake up when the sun comes up and therefore you’ll likely go to bed when it goes down. This makes it the perfect way to freshen up before starting a new working week.

Camping will do wonders for your mental health. Getting away from the everyday routine and technology prone routine will help you relax and give you a break from the hustle and bustle giving you time to reflect and take some time for yourself. I mean, now our office is in our house, most of the time our kids go to online school and as a result we are stuck in a virtual world.

Our busy working life can sometimes get in the way of quality family time. There’s no better bonding experience than sitting around a campfire and telling stories and reminiscing. In fact, spending a short time living off the grid without your gadgets is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of nature.

When the weather is inviting, the smell of campfires and pine trees allure many people into the woods and mountains for camping trips. At the start of summer, when the days are getting longer, or perhaps in fall when the nights are chilly and the leaves are beginning to turn, are ideal times to take to the woods.

Camping in Germany

I went when the summer was ending and the wind was blowing in the new season. So, nights had become a bit chillier and rain was in the forecast. But, as I learned many years before, a camper should always be prepared. We obviously took a tent tarp, rubber boots, extra socks and warm clothing.

When camping during rainy times, tarps are your best friend. So, I suggest to place a large tarp under the tent and one over it.

 

Laura vier A © Solkes

Sure enough after we had dinner it rained. We wanted to see the night sky. The idea was to show my 4 year old what the sky looks like without the city lights but that didn’t happen because of the clouds and the rain. So, we slept and next morning we had breakfast with the smell of raindrops.

Whether it involves a tent or a caravan, camping is a great plan. In Germany the camping craze has reached a new level. Generally speaking, Germans really enjoy travelling with their tent or in a camper van, but the camping boom has reached new heights in times of corona crisis.

According to the Caravanning Industry Association (CIVD), 54,439 camper vans and caravans were registered in Germany during the first half of 2020; that is as many as in the whole of 2016.

Camping generates a feeling of freedom, but of course campers also have to observe the rules. Camping in Germany is very different from camping in Colombia. Wild camping is prohibited in Germany. If you simply pitch your tent in a German forest, you risk receiving a fine of up to 500 euros or even more if you do so with a camper van.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — Scottish-American naturalist John Muir

Nevertheless, camping enthusiasts do not have to forego interesting camping locations in Germany. Adventurers will find temporary camping sites on the Pop-Up Camps website: for example, on Lüneburg Heath or the Ferropolis peninsular, an open-air museum with gigantic opencast mining equipment.

Caravanning is a form of holiday that is particularly safe in the current situation, as you travel individually and only with people from your own household. Furthermore, thanks to your own cooking and sanitary facilities, you are at home practically everywhere and therefore largely self-sufficient.

If you’re interested in backpacking, you can carry everything you need on your back and head into the wilderness. Whether you want to practice survival with some prepper gear, or just have some time to yourself, backpacking on- or off-trail will take you places many people will never see.

Surviving the pandemic

However, even if we take care to disinfect anything we might touch (before and after) and limit our physical contact to gas pumps, stopping at a gas station still creates potential ways to transmit the virus.

We have to ask ourselves: is the person using the gas pump next to yours really six feet away? Even if you’re wearing a mask, are they? What if your car breaks down and you need to call a tow truck? What if you get into an accident? One of those might expose first responders and tax a town like Shelby’s already strained healthcare resources.

The coronavirus can only spread through close contact between people, or the surfaces they may share. It looks like more of us than was previously thought may be asymptomatic carriers.

By avoiding travel, we avoid spreading the disease. Additionally, traveling to camping destinations naturally involves passing through small, remote communities.

Some safety suggestions are:

Don’t be spontaneous: Place reservations and buy permits, firewood, ice and other things online or by phone before you get to the campsite.
Come supplied with cleaning and personal hygiene agents: Arrive with your own soap, surface disinfectants, hand sanitizer, paper towels and toilet paper. This is one area where you shouldn’t skimp.

Social distancing: Set up your campsite — including sleeping, campfire and eating areas — to be as far as possible from nearby campsites that hold people from different households.

Ana María Rodriguez © Solkes

Be respectful of the rules: Follow all campground rules and instructions for your own safety and that of others. That might include wearing a face mask in public areas, heeding social distancing signs and leaving furniture such as chairs and picnic tables where you found them.

Avoid contact sports: For instance, outdoor basketball courts may be open to shoot hoops, but signs prohibiting contact games should be respected.

Trails: If a trail is marked closed, there’s a good reason. Don’t go on it.

Boating: Don’t raft up to other boats and cluster up on lakes.

Restrooms: If you got an RV, use your own restroom instead of the public ones. The fewer people using the common ones, the better.

Camping is not for everyone, but…

Something to keep in mind is that not everyone is a camping type person. And, that is ok. So, I would like to address some ideas that people may have. Let’s begin by addressing a few of the common concerns that put people off camping:

Laura Viera A © Solkes

Camping is not boring. There is a change of pace but there is an absolute ton of things to do while camping. Getting active, exploring the landscape, visiting local towns and attractions, playing games and sports or just chilling out with a good book. Camping is what you make it.

Camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it. Camping gear and equipment is advanced and there is no reason for you can’t be very comfortable, clean and have all your essentials to hand when camping. Unless you want to rough it, that is still easy too.

There are many campsites available which offer as many or as few facilities as you like, including electric hook-ups, wifi, restaurants and hot showers.

You don’t need lots of expensive equipment. To get started what you need is a tent, something to sleep on, to cook and a few utensils.

With time I have created a “list” of what to bring for a camping trip. First of all, let me say that staying wet in not a good idea so having a fry towel is super handy.

Secondly, my luggage of choice for any tent camping trip is a bunch of sturdy Rubbermaid type containers. The fact is that they hold a lot of things, they are waterproof, most critters can’t get into them and are easy to stack.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

Thirdly, I believe that sleeping can be a problem for some. So, invest in an inflatable mattress. Make sure it has an air pump! yo should also  bring more blankets than you think you’ll need. It gets cold at night. And you’ll wake up a bit clammy and chilly.

Bring a blanket to go under your air mattress to protect it from anything on the ground that might puncture it, another to go on top of the air mattress (below the sheet) as that plastic gets cold at night, and a nice thick one to cover your self with.

 

The conclusion

If you are considering going camping but think there might be too much to learn or that you won’t know what to do, don’t worry! Camping is actually very fun and easy and this guide is going to tell you everything you need to know.

As a lifelong camper, one of the things I’ve learned is that even when things can get rough camping is still pretty good.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

This time around I (we, my entire family of three) could hear, the laughter and music from other campgrounds. But it felt worlds away from anyone else there and so far away from the city we’d left that morning.

Just think: camping is an opportunity to disconnect from our surroundings. It is the opportunity to connect with nature and to rest with the so needed social distancing measures we all need.

This is our current reality: there are canceled flights, mandatory quarantine periods, plus a seemingly endless list of closed businesses and rescheduled events making us seek new opportunities.

We have to buckle up because we are living through a momentous chapter in our history books and it won’t end anytime soon.

For the last months, I’ve been glued to the news, like everyone else. I wanted to stay informed but in reality, the anxiety my husband, my kid and I felt was getting out of hand. Camping was the perfect pandemic vacation option and I recommend it.

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