COVID-19 pandemic is squeezing supplies of tents, bikes and freeze-dried food

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People are buying more outdoor recreation gear during this pandemic, and tents are on low supply. Photo credit: skeeze/CC 2.0, via Pixabay

It’s tough to forget the desperation that defined the pandemic’s U.S. arrival in March. Grocery store shelves were bare. Items were backordered online for weeks. It was tough to find toilet paper. That crisis seems to have passed.

Now there’s a new shortage looming. Outdoor recreation equipment is becoming scarce, including bikes, canoes and kayaks, tents and coolers. It’s even tougher to find freeze-dried food. 

John Herrman wrote about this for the New York Times.

“You’re cooped up, or you’re stressed out from work or family obligations. You’re hearing that it is pretty safe, if you’re careful, to be outside. … So you start looking into it,” Herman tells KCRW.

He continues, “The problem is that given the shortages, it does sort of favor the person who already knows what’s up. It’s a little discouraging for a lot of the first timers now, who are thinking, ‘Gosh wouldn’t it be great? Let’s take our family on an overnight camping trip.’ … Around Los Angeles … there are all these wonderful places you can get to within a couple hours, but a lot of them have reservation systems. A lot of them aren’t open at full capacity. But generally, lots of people are finding their way outside.”