Avoiding virus during 10-day trip

PlacidWaters

Adventurer
I have a health problem (low immunity) and need to be extra careful. Goal: Camp for 10 days and have minimal contact with people or things that people have touched. Mixture of commercial campgrounds and free state sites. Rural to semi-remote areas. I don't plan to use the bathroom facilities at all.

Bathroom: Luggable Loo.
Bathing: In tent.
Water: Is it feasible to carry water for 1 person for 10 days in a subcompact car (including bathing water)? My concern is touching spigots.
Picnic table and bench: Is it even possible to disinfect these?

Anything else I should be aware of?
 

llamalander

Active member
10 days of water will take up some room- Wet wipes for bathing, beer for hydration, pre-cooked then frozen meals mean you can get by with 2-3 gallons per person per day, if you use hand sanitizer and wash your hands sparingly.
Better to count on water purification instead, it is often intended for much more durable crap in the water. Bleach, iodine or a pump filter will render your water safe, just be consistent about cleaning the cap and spigot before you use them.
Wash up your dishes with soapy water and rinse as usual, a sterilizes spigot will remain so until someone else uses it. Viruses need you to multiply, they do not do so on their own, like bacteria.

You can make a routine that helps you remember what is clean and what is potentially not: phone in the clean hand, goes in a clean pocket, gets cleaned when this doesn't happen. Car keys in the other hand, other pocket, start the car and sanitize your hands before you touch anything else and the controls stay clean--no need to worry about them. Wipes are becoming available again, rubbing alcohol too, so set yourself up so these up where you use them and you will. When you have a protocol, being vigilant is simple and you can make room to relax and enjoy your trip. Being comfortable is the next most important thing after being safe.

Not sure where you're traveling, but regardless of what other people are doing, bring some masks and wear them around people, especially in close proximity and during conversation. Keep the inside clean (on your chin is not the place to do this) and count the outside as soiled. Surgical masks are effective, fairly inexpensive and disposable. Having a trash container with a lid can make the whole cleanliness process a little more simple.

As far as campground furniture, maybe avoid eating off of the seat of picnic benches or sitting on your hands while you eat. With sunshine and warm weather, these surfaces are unlikely to remain dangerous for much time. Even so, only touch things you know are clean once you've cleaned your hands and are eating. If you are not comfortable, bring some waxed paper to sit or eat on and dispose of it when you are finished.

You may not be able to stuff your car full of 10 days of clothes, so you can keep an outfit that you deal with the wider world in and others to relax in--Mr. Rogers style. If you have to use your car in the middle of that, throw a towel over the seat for your dirty clothes and fold it over on itself when you are done with it. Again, having a clear line in your mind about what is outside/inside or questionable/safe beforehand will keep you in a place that you can enjoy your trip. Have fun!
 

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kga1978

Member
PlacidWaters, given that the virus is primarily spreading via aerosols and droplets, as long as you avoid indoor spaces with a lot of other people, you'll be just fine. When you're indoors (or close to other people outdoors) wear a face mask - get an N95 if you can find one. Use hand sanitizer when you touch doorknobs and high-touch surface areas - as well as just before entering your car - just to be safe (and yes, don't touch your face until hands have been sanitized). Again, while we initially thought most of spread was via surfaces (fomites), that really doesn't appear to be the case - but better to sanitize your hands and get some extra piece of mind (plus, flu spreads that way, so it'll help avoid that bug too!).

When at the campsite, I wouldn't worry too much about surface contamination (including e.g., spigots). Sure, avoid porta potties and cramped indoor bathrooms, but at the campsite itself, you'll be fine. If you want an extra piece of mind, get (or make) some 70% ethanol - don't go below 65% and don't go above 80% - in a simple spray bottle so you can spray everything down. It evaporates pretty quickly, so you can just leave it on the surfaces - or wipe it off if you prefer.

Enjoy your trip - luckily, SARS-CoV-2 shouldn't be too much of a concern when it comes to the outdoors!
 

F350joe

Well-known member
Ask your doctor first and foremost. You don’t have the luxury of playing the odds. Campgrounds in CA, the federal ones that are open, are not much different than New York as far as people density goes. 10 days worth of supplies is tough in a small car, you will have to use gas stations and get supplies along the line. Eat well, get sun, and avoid people like the plague. Again, you don’t get to play the odds, you simply must not contract the virus. May want to think about a small cabin in the woods where you can stay clean, keep your distance, and store 10 days of supplies.
 
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billiebob

Well-known member
why ???
why do you need to do a 10 day trip?
the key to limiting the spread of COVID-19 is avoid unnecessary travel.
why are you even thinking of leaving home?

ps, where do you live? That makes a huge difference to the risk. Country, State, Region....... fill in the blanks
 

PlacidWaters

Adventurer
Llamalander, thanks a lot for your detailed response. In fact I do have to take this much care in daily life, like separating car keys from cash in different pockets. 30 gallons of water is too much to transport. I think I'll take 5 gallons of drinking and cooking water and disinfect the spigot for bathing water.

This study says that 99% of the virus on surfaces is inactivated within 2 hours in strong midday summer sunlight: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/php.13293 In winter the virus lasts more than a day outdoors.

I think the fact the picnic tables have been removed in some state and federal parks is an indication that the table is a source of contamination. I'll be bringing a small table. A sheet of thin plastic painter's tarp might protect me from the table and bench.
 

PlacidWaters

Adventurer
why ???
why do you need to do a 10 day trip?
the key to limiting the spread of COVID-19 is avoid unnecessary travel.
why are you even thinking of leaving home?

ps, where do you live? That makes a huge difference to the risk. Country, State, Region....... fill in the blanks
  1. I'm traveling from a very low COVID area (zero known cases in my town and very few in my state) to an extremely low COVID remote area.
  2. I've had almost no in-person contact with people since March, have practised social distancing religiously, go to no public places except groceries twice a month, always wear a mask and gloves and use sanitizer when I'm out, and have kept up on the latest scientific studies on transmission.
  3. Instead of congregating on a beach in Florida, I'm taking a solo hiking and kayaking trip to a place where I will encounter few people.
  4. Campgrounds in this area are free or have self-pay iron rangers---no contact with a campground host.
  5. I've practiced zero contact on two short camping trips this year to master the bathroom thing. Just stayed at my site and went hiking on unused trails.
  6. Why am I leaving home and why 10 days? See 1-5 plus MY SANITY.
I know there are rebuttals to the above, like "What if you have an accident or your car breaks down on the road?" It's a question of risk management. I've done everything I can do to not put others in danger and have chosen a trip that continues those practices. I'm an experienced outdoors person and camper and am especially avoiding risks at this time---no climbing cliffs.
 

PlacidWaters

Adventurer
If you want an extra piece of mind, get (or make) some 70% ethanol - don't go below 65% and don't go above 80% - in a simple spray bottle so you can spray everything down. It evaporates pretty quickly, so you can just leave it on the surfaces - or wipe it off if you prefer.
Thank you! I actually didn't know you could just spray disinfectant on a surface and leave it there, but it makes total sense. Ethanol is just alcohol, right? What's the problem with above 80%?
 

kga1978

Member
This study says that 99% of the virus on surfaces is inactivated within 2 hours in strong midday summer sunlight: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/php.13293 In winter the virus lasts more than a day outdoors.

I think the fact the picnic tables have been removed in some state and federal parks is an indication that the table is a source of contamination. I'll be bringing a small table. A sheet of thin plastic painter's tarp might protect me from the table and bench.
Those studies are not representative of how the virus actually spreads (luckily). I know there are several studies showing that the virus is stable for up to several days, but luckily it just doesn't spread that way (for good and for worse). The vast majority of spread is via superspreading - probably 10% of cases leading up to 80% of new transmissions. So as long as you take precautions when outside and minimize time with other people inside (again, wear a mask), the likelihood of getting infected is very low.

Thank you! I actually didn't know you could just spray disinfectant on a surface and leave it there, but it makes total sense. Ethanol is just alcohol, right? What's the problem with above 80%?
Ethanol is an alcohol, but not all alcohols are ethanol - e.g., methanol (avoid that one!). For disinfectants, typically it's easiest to get either isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) or ethanol and then make a 70% solution. Note, that sometimes these are diluted and not 100% (because they're hard to distill to that purity (ethanol) - or because, well, companies want to sell more) so take that into account when diluting (although 'pure' ethanol is typically ~95% and isopropyl alcohol ~99% so you can basically ignore that part - as long as you get the 'good' stuff). Again, absolutely make sure you avoid methanol - it's highly toxic.

As for the 70% - it's because you still need the water in there to be fully effective (plus, you also get more for your money) - here's a good explanation: https://blog.gotopac.com/2017/05/15/why-is-70-isopropyl-alcohol-ipa-a-better-disinfectant-than-99-isopropanol-and-what-is-ipa-used-for/
 

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kga1978

Member
One additional thing to consider if you're super paranoid and want to disinfect food containers and other stuff where you might not want to spray 70% ethanol, get one of these (or similar - just don't get the cheapo ones that may not actually have strong bulbs):


You can run one of these from your car battery or portable power pack.

I got one of these early on in the pandemic where we thought spread was mostly via contact and used it then, but I haven't used it lately. But again, if you want to be extra careful, this is a nice little extra thing to have!
 

billiebob

Well-known member
  1. I'm traveling from a very low COVID area (zero known cases in my town and very few in my state) to an extremely low COVID remote area.
  2. I've had almost no in-person contact with people since March, have practised social distancing religiously, go to no public places except groceries twice a month, always wear a mask and gloves and use sanitizer when I'm out, and have kept up on the latest scientific studies on transmission.
  3. Instead of congregating on a beach in Florida, I'm taking a solo hiking and kayaking trip to a place where I will encounter few people.
  4. Campgrounds in this area are free or have self-pay iron rangers---no contact with a campground host.
  5. I've practiced zero contact on two short camping trips this year to master the bathroom thing. Just stayed at my site and went hiking on unused trails.
  6. Why am I leaving home and why 10 days? See 1-5 plus MY SANITY.
I know there are rebuttals to the above, like "What if you have an accident or your car breaks down on the road?" It's a question of risk management. I've done everything I can do to not put others in danger and have chosen a trip that continues those practices. I'm an experienced outdoors person and camper and am especially avoiding risks at this time---no climbing cliffs.
hey all the power to you, I'm all for being active. I agree, what if your home burns, ya got to live
all the best, no doubt toilet abolutions are the biggst risk after buying gas.
when I was a climber we had to carry 2L of water per day. Now retired and tired I doubt I drink 1L of water a day. Washing, towel bath, boil some water, 1L more. so 10 days, 20L seems plenty.

As for touching anything..... sanitizer before rubbing your nose etc. A small bottle of sanitizer when gassing up, using VISA or Debit or cash. And control what you do when between sanitizer. The risk is always there even without health problems. Be religious in controlling contact.
 
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