Pandemic leads to an increase in camping

A Wisconsin-based guiding company, specializing in outdoors adventures, says it’s never been busier.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 3:17 PM CDT
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WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) - If you’ve spent more time outdoors over the past two years due to the pandemic, you’re not alone

A Wisconsin-based guiding company, specializing in outdoors adventures, says it’s never been busier.

On 40 acres outside Waupaca last month, a winter camping workshop was hosted by NOW Outdoors, which offers year round camping, backpacking and paddling adventures throughout the Midwest.

On this weekend, more than 30 beginners came together, ranging in age from 20 to 70, with an even split between men and women, and nearly all sharing a common theme.

“Most people come out on these trips by themselves, they’ve got spouses or kids or siblings or friends that just don’t want to do this stuff, whether it’s winter camping or even summertime stuff, so it’s a great way to just meet other outdoor enthusiasts and kind of connect,” says Nick Gordon, owner of NOW Outdoors

Gordon launched his guiding business in 2010, and says the last two years are the busiest he’s ever seen.

“When the state shut down, when the country and the world shut down, a lot of folks I think were feeling kind of stuck indoors and we’re social creatures, we want to get out and do stuff and be around people,” explains Gordon.

Over the weekend, campers learn the ins and outs of proper gear and how to use fire as tool to stay warm, dry off and cook food.

Gordon says going with experts is a wise way to get started.

“When you go with people who know more than you, you learn a lot of stuff a lot more quickly, you avoid a lot of mishaps. We try to help people get out there farther, longer and safer, we do first aid courses that are wilderness-themed, and if you’re a hunter and you want to go out farther in the woods without carrying as much gear, we want to help you do it, if you want to get into paddling, if you want to bring your kids camping and make sure they have a really good time, come out on our trips and we’ll help you get the confidence and the skills to do it really well,” says Gordon.

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