For some, camping is an easy way to get away from their regular stressful life; for others, it is the time they get to spend with their family and friends with loads of fun. Whatever may be your reason for camping, one thing you shouldn’t forget is the fact that you will be surrounded by other campers, who are also looking to have a good time camping. However, without appropriate campground etiquette, the campground experience can be spoiled considerably from thoughtless acts from others, noise and other factors. Therefore, to make sure that everyone around you also has a great camping trip, it is vital that you follow some camping etiquette.
Regardless of your camping style and the campground you choose, following are some most common camping etiquette guidelines you should follow to enjoy your camping trip and let other enjoy theirs.
Let’s start with the first step of camping – arriving at your campsite. First of all, try and make it to your chosen campground early, not just because you will have sufficient time to find a good campsite and set up, but also because you can avoid disturbing your campsite neighbors during late hours. If you have no choice but to arrive late, be sure to dim your headlights and find a campsite as quickly as possible to avoid excessive driving; these are some actions your fellow campers will absolutely appreciate.
As soon as you arrive at the campground, remember to check for specific instructions and regulations before you proceed to finding a site. If yours is a self-serve campground, go around looking for a good campsite and when you find one that you like, leave someone, or one of your camping gears, at the chosen site to let other know that it is occupied.
Stay Away from Peopled Campsites
Would you like it if someone cut through your campsite? You would probably feel angry or annoyed. That is exactly how other campers will feel if you walk through their campsite. Unless and until your campsite neighbors are your friends, family, or someone you know, you need to stay away from their campsite.
Remember, people pay for their campsite to make their very own personal spot for as long as they choose to stay in the campground, just like you do. Therefore, respect their privacy and space and avoid walking through their temporary property just to make your walk a few minutes short.
However, if you really have to enter other people’s campsites for a valid reason, say your clothes flew into their space, get their permission before entering. If you will be having your kids with you while camping, teach them this etiquette even before you leave your home.
Leave No Trace
Leaving behind no trash is possibly the most important campground etiquette guideline every camper should follow. Always use the trash disposal containers available at the campground to throw away any rubbish. If there is no such facility in your campground, you need to collect all your trash and carry it out to dispose elsewhere.
Avoid burying any sort of trash, especially food, because animals can easily dig up things with just the odor. Follow the simple rule that whatever you bring in, you need to take out.
One other important thing to remember is to not burn trash in your campfire. Obviously, you shouldn’t burn plastic; in addition, avoid burning other packaging materials as well because most of them contain an aluminum layer, which has the same properties as plastic and can be harmful. Would you like it if you came to a campsite with piles of burnt paper plates, nappies, and plastic? Keep this in mind and avoid burning your trash.
Follow Quiet Hours Rules
This is probably one of the most ignored campground etiquette rules. Most campgrounds have quiet hours, which is basically in place to make it comfortable for people camping with kids and for those looking to have a good night’s sleep (which is almost everyone!). This time is usually between 10 pm and 6 am in most campgrounds.
Of course, some of you might have plans to have a fun-filled camping trip, with friends, barbecues and late night parties. But, there will be others who go camping just for the peace and quiet and there will also be people with kids. You need to be respectful and considerate over others and avoid disturbing them with loud noises like laughing, shouting, using the generator, playing loud music, etc. Even if you have planned to go hiking early in the morning the following day, get ready without making too much noise or disturbing your neighbors.
Watch Your Dog
Dogs can be amazing companions for any camping trip and the fact that they love spending time outdoors will only make your trip even more exciting and fun. There are numerous campgrounds across the country that welcome dogs. However, there are times when your dog can be a source of trouble and inconvenience to others. One major problem you could face with taking a dog camping is the constant barking. It not only affects your experience at the campground, but will also ruin the experience of everyone around you.
If your dog is a barker, whether at strangers, other dogs or animals or for no reason at all, he/she is not ready for camping yet. Your best option in this case is to practice your dog by taking him/her to dog parks regularly so they get used to moving with new people and other dogs.
Other etiquette guidelines to remember when it comes to camping with dogs are to keep them on a leash and cleaning up after them. Though the rules for camping with pets differ from one campground to another, one common rule that every pet owner should follow while camping is to keep their pet on a leash to avoid them from wandering around. Because you never know who may have animal allergies, kids, or other issues. Cleaning up after your dog is a basic yet important camping etiquette to follow as well.
Put Out Your Campfire
Federal and state law requires campfire to be put out before it is left unattended. This is to prevent wildfires and other potential hazards. Adding water to the ashes gradually and stirring them is considered as the most effective way to put out campfire. Stirring the ashes and adding water little by little is important because the fire will not get completely extinguished just by pouring water over it.
During the camping season, you will find most campgrounds to be busy with people. It is during such circumstances that you should be more patient, respect people’s privacy, and treat them the way you would like to be treated by others. The facilities at the campground, like water taps, restrooms, trash bins, etc. are meant to be shared by all campers, and you need to be patient till it’s your turn when using them.
Follow Stay Limits
The stay limit for almost all campgrounds is anywhere between 7 days to a couple weeks. Only very few locations have smaller limits, or allow long-term camping. Depending on the campground you choose, be sure to follow their stay limits and give chance to other campers to savor the experience. Some campground may also have restrictions on the number of vehicles and the number of persons that can use a campsite; be sure to follow those rules as well.
Some of these etiquette guidelines may be unwritten rules, but each of these rules is crucial and should be followed if you want to be the camper everyone loves.