This document provides information for the Backpacking Light community on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus.

Pandemic Monitoring

US State and County government health departments usually provide the most up-to-date data regarding disease monitoring statistics. In addition, you can find generally reliable and up-to-date consolidated statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, and Dadax Worldometer.

Issues of Interest for Backpacking Light Community Members

1. Is receiving packages from Gear Swap transactions safe?

  • As of March 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that the likelihood of novel Coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low.
  • In a March 20 report conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours (cardboard), 48 hours (stainless steel), and 72 hours (plastics). Keep in mind that these are the times required to reach a virus presence that is 0.1% or less of the original inoculate population. Consequently, the likelihood of an infectious concentration of coronavirus surviving after these times is extremely low.
  • Precautions to take:
    • If you or a household member are infected with COVID-19, do not sell or exchange goods on Gear Swap until you have completed a 14-day quarantine following the disappearance of symptoms.
    • If you are a member of a high-risk population for complications resulting from COVID-19 illness and are receiving a shipment, consider the additional precaution of placing the shipment/goods in a dry location for 72 hours prior to handling the goods.

2. What’s the status of Backpacking Light film festival events, live clinics, guided treks, and other event-based programs?

  • As of February 1, 2020, Backpacking Light canceled all live events during the month of February.
  • As of March 1, 2020, Backpacking Light canceled all live events until May 31, 2020.
  • We have tentatively rescheduled the 2020 Backpacking Light Adventure Film Festival in October 2020 in Estes Park, Colorado. We will re-evaluate this decision on June 1, 2020.
  • As of March 25, 2020, approximately four months prior to the start of our guided trekking season in the State of Montana, we have not yet canceled group treks. We will re-evaluate the progression of the pandemic and make further recommendations about our July 2020 guided treks on April 30, 2020 (approximately two months after the beginning of the logarithmic progression of the pandemic in the US). Our decision to move forward will depend on the following:
    • The extent of progression of disease transmission in the US, the State of Montana, and the city of Red Lodge, MT.
    • Recommendations from our land management agency oversight and government health officials.
    • The extent to which we can ensure the health and safety of our guides and participants, and take measures to minimize disease transmission during travel to and from Montana, and during the trek.

3. Should I go backpacking in 2020?