Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

3 Totally Rad Tips to Make Quarantine Like Camping

If you miss camping, here are some tips that may or may not be helpful. Clothespins recommended.

Let’s be real—a big chunk of time spent camping is really just setting up, adjusting, tweaking, and grumbling at your gear. Well, the good news for all of us is that quarantine doesn’t need to get in the way of any of that fussing! Here are a few tips for making home feel like the backcountry during these trying times.

Cook on the floor!

It’s easy to take the adventure of camp cooking into your own home. The beauty of camp cook systems is that they’re portable! To recreate the campsite, simply take your Coleman stove, Jetboil, or other preferred cooking device and set it up on the floor near your existing stovetop. Why use four clean, indoor, natural gas burners at waist-height when you can crouch over two propane burners that have years/decades of irremovable mac 'n cheese and mashed potatoes cooked onto them.

To add to the authenticity, place a small rock under one of the corners to ensure your stove isn’t precisely level and will be prone to tipping at the slightest nudge. Even though you probably have filtered water in your home, pump all your water through a backpacking filter and use your camping spork as your sole eating/cooking/cleaning device. It’s all about the experience.

Sleep on your ottoman

Take your tent out of storage and set it up in the backyard or living room. Keep in mind that you want to find a hard, slightly uneven surface, just like you would find in the wilderness. If your floors are too smooth, consider placing shoes/books/lego bricks underneath to ensure a shot of excruciating pain when you plant your knee into the ground in the middle of the night. If you’re lucky, one of these items will puncture your tent floor—just like in nature!

Sure, you could use this time to sweep out your tent, but if you were actually camping you definitely wouldn’t have taken time to do that. All the sand, pine needles, cheese-it crumbs, and that unidentifiable sticky substance you hope is tree sap add to the whole experience. Bonus: make sure your sleeping bag hasn’t been aired out in a long time. The more unrecognizable smells wafting up from your bag, the more authentic your quarantine camping will be.

"Wash" your clothes

Here’s the game: Pick two t-shirts, two pairs of socks, two underwear, one jacket, one pair of pants, and one pair of shorts. Wear these and only these for the foreseeable future. If/when they start to smell funky, fill up a bucket with water from the hose and wash them by hand using only a small bottle of all-purpose camping soap. Remember: smell is very connected to memory. Sooner than later, you’ll be able to close your eyes and have your own odor whisk you away to memories of backpacking trips and far-off campsites.

Disclaimer: writer does not guarantee that any of these behaviors will actually improve your life. Cover photo by Prajit Ravindran.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Aaron RickelExplorer

Climber. Cyclist. Hiker. Writer. Currently has base camp set up in Los Angeles, CA. Runs the Los Angeles Field Guide.