Anecdotal evidence suggests that how people spend their leisure time under lockdown plays a key role in their resilience to living in these uncertain times. Whilst there is some data to support this, research is urgently needed to document leisure actives which are beneficial (and why) both in periods of lockdown and during transition back to ‘normality’. Camping is a leisure pursuit with known health and well-being benefits. This project investigates whether benefits might have been accrued by the many individuals who have chosen to ‘home camp’ (indoors and outdoors, using a variety of means) during COVID-19. Using qualitative techniques to explore the motivations, experiences, and future hopes of these ‘campers’, the research provides valuable insights into the role of leisure during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the pandemic.
The research is relevant to three coronavirus-related concerns in the UK: health and well-being, social relationships, and human-nature relationships. The findings will be useful to a range of stakeholders, including those working to frame public policy in response to COVID-19, organisations/groups with a primary or supplementary interest in camping as a leisure pursuit, and those invested in the camping industry. The deliverables are designed to be impactful from the very early stages, and will include a range of accessible, targeted, multi-media, non-academic and academic outputs (e.g. blog, social media, podcasts, precis, presentations, long-form texts). The work complements concurrent COVID-research on urban greenspace and isolation, and flesh out knowledge derived from cognizant data sets and market research.