It's camping season.

But how can you camp in this time of COVID-19 amid closures of all public and private campgrounds in Minnesota?

Campsites at private and public campgrounds that serve as a residence, or that serve seasonal renters who maintain personal property at their site, may remain available for occupancy by members of the same immediate household provided they do not host overnight guests, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

One option is to open the backdoor and look to at the open space.

"The easiest and best idea is put a tent up in your backyard," said Kelly Cunningham, who runs with her husband, Ryan.

The Cunninghams did just that in April and made it a special night for the family.

"We put lights up, made a campfire, ate s'mores and even brought the TV out and watched Disney movies," Cunningham said. "The kids loved it and it helped scratch that camping itch we had."

Cunningham said camping in the backyard is a good first step to camping newcomers and will help determine what to do and what's needed if camping expands beyond the backyard. 

"If it doesn't go well, you are right in your backyard and can go right back inside," she said. "It doesn’t have to look a certain way, it just has to be fun for the family."

The key to any kind of camping is being prepared and Beyond The Tent has a list of what's needed to have successful camping night, including a good tent, sleeping bed (air mattress/cot), flashlight and bug spray. 

"Comfort is key when you are camping," Cunningham said. "If you aren’t comfortable, you will never want to camp again."

A couple key essentials to have a successful camping night:

  • A good tent. "The shelter is your most important piece gear for any camping trip. Investing in a high-quality tent is the single most important investment you can make in camping. A high-quality tent will be durable, easy to set up and take down, weatherproof and able to withstand high winds," Cunningham said.
  • Sleeping. "Proper sleeping gear is essential for an enjoyable car camping trip. If you are cold, uncomfortable or hot while sleeping, you will be tired and find your camping trip going sour rather quickly," she said. 

Cunningham added at this time of the season it can get cold so be prepared with plenty of sleeping bags, blankets, and a tent heater.

But again if its not working out, you can always go back to the comfort of your own bed inside the house.

If campgrounds are able to open to recreational camping this summer, Cunningham said be prepared.

"I think camping will explode because people have canceled their vacations and are looking for something to do," she said.

Sports editor

Todd Abeln has been the Shakopee and Jordan sports editor for more than 10 years. He enjoys highlight big accomplishments and competitive games. Todd also enjoys golf, softball and watching his kids play baseball, soccer, hockey and basketball.


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