Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Is it ethical to go camping after testing positive for COVID-19?

I recently found myself pondering the question: Is it ethical to go camping after testing positive for COVID-19?

Here’s why: A few weeks ago, my wife had a persistent cough which she attributed to her asthma. Not wanting her longtime hairdresser to be concerned when she went to have her hair done, my wife took an at-home COVID-19 test so she could tell her hairdresser, “It wasn’t COVID”. Turns out the test showed she was positive for COVID-19. Thinking it was a false positive, she took another, producing the same results.

Needing to know my status, I also took a test. It showed I, too, was positive for the virus. Well, at least it meant I wouldn’t have to go out in my driveway and isolate in the RV! But it did mean we would be missing our grandson’s birthday party on Saturday and Church on Sunday.

after testing positive for COVID-19
After testing positive for COVID-19 – Now what? – CDC Photo

Now what?

Being vaccinated and boosted, neither of us felt sick. With a sunny, warm weekend forecasted, after weeks of rain and cold temperatures, I thought why not take advantage of a now-free weekend? After all, the truck was full of fuel, our travel trailer was already prepped for spring travels, and we had plenty of groceries in the house to load in the trailer. We could go boondock on my favorite fishing lake. We could spend the whole weekend without interacting with anyone. What a perfect weekend! The only potential risk to others would be to uninvited visitors that came into our camp.

Dispersed camping at my favorite fishing lake. Easy to be socially distant here

In the back of my mind, I began to wonder, is it ethical to go camping after testing positive for COVID-19?  Searching online for answers, I found our local department of health advised, “Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.” We wouldn’t be violating any of those restrictions unless you consider boondocking far from others on public land being in a “public area.” By definition, boondocking (dispersed camping) equates to social distancing.

Further research revealed stories of those who have “camped” in their apartment after testing positive for COVID-19. Finally, there are many online posts from full-time RVers that found themselves isolating in their RVs after testing positive for COVID-19. My wife and I camping wouldn’t be any different. Then came the doubting thoughts of what if our symptoms become worse and we couldn’t make it home, we must summon help or we end up in a Podunk hospital?

We stayed home

Ultimately, we didn’t go camping, we stayed home. I got a lot of projects done around the house as my symptoms were mild to non-existent. However, since COVID is here to stay, the question “Is it ethical to go camping after testing positive for COVID-19?” is still a valid one. I suspect I will be pondering it again sometime in the future. Many of you reading this are likely to find yourself asking the same question at some point in your future, too.

Is it ethical to go camping after testing positive for COVID-19? What is the correct answer? Is there one?

Please share your comments (politely).



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Deborah Mason
19 days ago

As long as you keep apart from others, why the heck not. You’re in your “personal isolation chamber”.

22 days ago

Well, if you are a full time rver, you really dont have a choice. Have groceries delivered and stay put!

23 days ago

I am ‘camping’ in our RV in the driveway. I tested positive and am in isolation from my family. They have all tested negative, day one and day three. I would love to be able to go somewhere and look at something besides the walls of the houses that I am between, but my family is worried and keep checking on me. We lost two close family members to COVID, one in October and one in January, so I am trying not to worry them. Once I am clear, we can run away for a time. We are also expecting a grandchild in a couple of weeks, so even more reasons to focusing on getting better.

Turtle Trrry
23 days ago

Personally I feel it’s fine if you are being socially distant as in dispersed camping and where you wouldn’t be using a public bathroom. However, your fear of not being able to get to a hospital made me think. But there were two of you so maybe it would have been ok.

23 days ago

I am a Family physician for 36 years who has worked in a COVID clinic since 3/2020. I know this issue is very confusing. my first advice to patients 1. do not get your advice from anything that is said on T.V. – I don’t care who is talking. 2. go to the CDC website and read all of the current recommendations and evidence to support those recommendations (this will take you at least a week – welcome to my world). 3. a single study, a newspaper article (even from the New York Times) means nothing, but it is interesting. Having said that, the current Omicron strain (BA.2) is very contagious but the most mild form of COVID that we have seen yet. it is still a problem compared to a common cold, especially in high risk individuals. to this specific scenario: if you are feeling well i would not have a problem recommending that you could go camping – you need to avoid people during the quarantine period – which can varying depending on your health status.

24 days ago

Most people can’t seem to help chatting with others, going into a restaurant/restroom, but you sound like a responsible person because you are vaccinated and asked the question, which shows concern for others. So I vote ‘go ahead’. Btw, my brother-in-law is still testing positive after 15 days- my sister is grateful they have a trailer!

24 days ago

Feeling ‘symptom’ free I would probably carry on with my plans and just make sure I stay clear of anyone which is the main reason for my camping so see no reason change that.

Last edited 24 days ago by J.R.
24 days ago

The nice thing about RVing is that you can stay completely to yourself. If you have obvious symptoms, be cautious, but if you feel fine, then go for it. The fresh air will do you good!

Neal Davis
24 days ago

I don’t see any reason to not go camping, presuming that you really can stay away from others. Also, agree with others to have masks on hand and put them on if do encounter someone “up close, and personal.”

24 days ago

Wear a mask.

Lyle Latvala
24 days ago

To me the issue of RVing with Covid boils down to how sick you might get. If you’re at ‘home’, i.e., at your normal residence, you’re near your primary medical care doctors and facilities. If you’re traveling, you may be far away from medical assistance and the doctors that know your history. So, stay home and take care of yourself, as well as minimizing interaction with others.

24 days ago

I got it last year while on a three month trip out west. Had to move twice during that month, we were in Colorado around the Rockies and no where was there a longer term site. I am the only one that tested positive, we had been vaccinated and wore masks when indoors. My husband never tested positive and slept in the bed with me. I was sick for about a month, but never in the hospital. We have a class A motorhome, so fully self contained, so we did not use the shower rooms or any other common areas. Would I leave home to go camping if I had tested positive, maybe, it is according to how sick we were. Sitting out in the fresh air is good for the soul.

Darla VanAlphen
24 days ago

I am a full time RVer of over 7 years. If home is your RV then stay there. We have been safe and comfortable in ours

Darla VanAlphen
24 days ago

Read back on how many people who have commented who were fully vaccinated and still caught it. Flu,cold or covid…if you know you have it stay home. It’s not just the unvaccinated who suffer.

Turtle Trrry
23 days ago

The vaccine doesn’t pretend to guarantee that you won’t contract COVID but does protect from serious symptoms and hospitalization.

24 days ago

Vaccinated April 2021, positive with the only symptom of no taste / smell in July 21 – we were booked to go camping 7 days later & we did. We kept to ourselves, wore masks to check in, did not go anywhere inside without masks and only went in & out quickly. Figured every adult who had wanted to get vaccinated had been by then or they were not going to get vaccinated and could choose to wear a mask to protect themselves or not.
Have been boosted since then, continue to home test when any flu like symptoms & have not caught it again even though have been out a few times with positive people that found out after the fact. This virus is here to stay and we now just have to live with it all around us going forward (hopefully with continued updated boosters just like our flu vaccine). Lots of people will be positive with close to zero symptoms from now on so the unvaccinated will remain at risk.

Bill Forbes
24 days ago

Two points:

  1. Most of us are wearing surgical masks, or some facsimile of surgical masks. They are not intended to protect the person wearing them, but protect the other people around them. Think of the surgeon – his patient is lying on the table in front of him cut open and exposed to whatever germs or viruses the surgeon may breathe out, or sneeze, etc.
  2. Vaccines do work, but they don’t keep you from getting the disease. They prepare your immune system for dealing with it. That way the virus doesn’t reproduce nearly as much when you do have it, you don’t spread it as much, and transmission is reduced.

In both cases, it’s not so much about you as about helping protect everyone around you.

24 days ago
Reply to  Bill Forbes
  1. Masks have been shown, in multiple studies, not to stop viruses. They force the wearer to breath their own exhaust, which makes them less healthy, more susceptible to everything.

2. Multiple government agents have stated on public venues that if you take the vaccine you will not get Covid. Two of these people were the “President” and the head of the CDC. The vaccine does not do this, it doesn’t work. The “Helps you through it” position was a fall back when the failure was brought to light by 75% and more of Covid cases being among the fully vaccinated.
Trying to paint a smile on this debacle does not alter the facts.

23 days ago
Reply to  Richard

The point in number one implies that the many, many medical personnel who have worn masks as part of their jobs long before Covid, should be less healthy than the rest of us!?

Keith Lyall
24 days ago

After being vaccinated and fully boosted, my wife and I both tested positive for Covid. It hit us like a ton of bricks with fever, headache, congestion and cough. We were very sick and lethargic for several days. I would suggest you stay home if you test positive as you probably will not be able to “work” the campsite, but will just want to sleep.

24 days ago

If you feel sick, stay home. That has worked for centuries. According to thousands of doctors, scientists, and organizations/trials around the world – Covid tests are not reliable; masks don’t stop viruses; Covid vaccines are dangerous and don’t work; the numbers on infections have been grossly manipulated; cheap available drugs will stop Covid. Gov. mandates are not an argument against any of this.

Adam K.
24 days ago

My two cents worth… Yes, camping is the ideal way to isolate especially if you are self-reliant and practice physical distancing. But what if an illness or injury occurs and medical services/first responders/hospitals have to be utilised – then there might be issues with infecting others.

24 days ago

I think if you aren’t going to come in contact with other people, then why not. I applaud your selflessness though by staying home.

Ironically, my hubby and I contracted Covid last January on a camping trip even though we were both vaccinated and boosted. The wife of one of the couples we went camping with had a cough and a sore throat but she came on the trip anyways as she didn’t want to miss out. She was so sick, she spent most of one day of the trip in bed. A few days later all of us came down with Covid. Some of us got extremely sick. My hubby had major life-threatening complications (he is recovering and doing well now) and along with his suffering we are saddled with some pretty large medical bills. But, you know, at least our “friend” didn’t miss out on our camping trip.

Bob Weinfurt
24 days ago
Reply to  Suru

But that’s not isolating away from other people. If it was just you and your hubby, you would have been fine.

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