With the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, this summer has definitely been unique. One thing that hasn’t changed is our drive to explore. For much of the spring and summer here in Washington, overnight trips were not allowed. This meant no camping! This was difficult for us as we typically spend more time outside than inside, especially in the summertime. By the time recreational travel opened back up, we were eager to get outdoors and back into our summer camping schedule!
When camping during COVID, we have tried to find more isolated places where interaction with others is extremely unlikely. The outdoors are an amazing place to practice social distancing while giving your dog the adventures they so eagerly desire!
Here are our top 10 items we’ve brought camping this summer that have ensured we have an amazing time while staying safe and respecting others who are also looking to experience the outdoors:
1. Location, Location, Location!
Looking for the roads less traveled is our number one tip for social distancing in the outdoors. While we almost always camp in remote locations within State Parks, rarely at private campgrounds, we understand that living in WA allows us to do this and it is not an option for everyone. When camping at a designated campsite, it is important to double-check that dogs are allowed! Normally, many campsites and recreation areas allow pets, but since the pandemic, not all do. There are plenty of websites like Recreation.gov that will tell you if your pup is allowed!
2. (Extra!) Food
Don’t forget to pack lots of your pet’s favorite food! While camping, proper nutrition is extremely valuable for your dog. This is especially true for our active Weimaraner. Koda is in his element outdoors ー running, smelling, chewing and exploring. We love Wellness CORE RawRev for exactly that reason. Wellness knows that dogs are in their element outdoors and their primal instincts are fully activated! Feeding Koda a high-protein diet is key to his active lifestyle. Bringing more food than you think you’ll need is our general rule when we go camping, but since the pandemic, we bring even more than that to avoid needing to make a trip to any stores.
There are many opportunities to let your dog run and play off-leash while camping, but it is always important to be respectful of those around you. While near other campsites, especially when practicing social distancing, it is important to have your dog on a leash. Koda is so friendly, he would walk over and introduce himself to every dog and person at the campsite which is why we keep him on a leash when we go camping now.
We typically leave Koda’s toys at home when we go camping because he has just as much fun chasing sticks as he does his ball. However, in times where social distancing is a priority, it’s a great tool to help distract your dog when others are near or walking past your campsite!
5. Poop Bags/Shovel
While it is always important to “Leave No Trace” when camping, that phrase now carries special weight. Like with masks, when camping in a campground where people will be staying after you, making doubly sure to erase any trace of you – and your dog – is the easiest way to respect the next group of campers!
Like with toys, treats serve as a great tool for distraction if you encounter anyone on the trail or walking by your campsite. Koda’s personal favorite are the Wellness CORE Grain Free Marrow Roasts, and if he hears the Wellness treats come out, Koda comes running straight to us!
This is the only item on our list that isn’t directly affiliated with Koda but we felt was important to mention. Many recreational areas are requiring face coverings when not at your campsite, like near bathrooms, water fountains and at check-in. It is important to follow these rules and even if masks are not explicitly required, they are still a good idea to bring and wear to be respectful of others sharing common spaces while camping.
8. Pet First Aid Kit
This is something that we always bring with us on every adventure. In case of an emergency, we can quickly take care of Koda until we get home. Many outdoor stores sell pet first aid kits. There have been several times where Koda has cut his paw running on Washington’s rocky beaches or gotten a sliver from climbing around the forests. In those instances, having a first aid kit to clean his wounds was key to getting him back to adventuring. If your dog gets seriously injured, you should cut your camping trip short and get them to an emergency vet.
Koda’s favorite thing to do is to run into the water then attempt to get into the tent we covered in sand! We always make sure to bring an extra towel just for Koda to dry off and clean any sand, mud, pine needles or anything else Koda gets into while camping!
10. Hygiene Kit
The last thing we have added to our camp supplies is a hygiene kit. Gloves, disinfectant wipes, fresh masks and hand sanitizer are all things we include in our kit. These are all great to bring with you to wipe down picnic tables, for use in bathrooms or shared other spaces.
I am by no means a medical professional and every state has different rules and regulations in regards to outdoor recreation so be sure to check out what rules apply to you before making any excursions! Stay safe and have fun!