Affordable Travel Guide to Camping Etiquette

Good Manners Make for Good Neighbors at a Campground

Camping Etiquette

Everyone enjoys camping for their own reason, but there is a universal complaint from campers and it’s heard at every campground you visit: rude, loud and inconsiderate campers ruining the good times for everyone. It’s the old “do unto others” rule of etiquette that permeates this issue, so if you want to enjoy your camping experience, you must behave in ways that ensure other campers do, too.

There are expectations that campers have when they take the time to plan and execute a camping vacation, so when it’s disrupted by other campers, the disappointment is huge. Most of us only get a couple of weeks vacation per year, and we want to make it count.

All that nature and beauty can feel pretty rotten if you’re suffering from “camping disappointment syndrome”. Here’s how you can avoid it, and ensure you do unto others…

  • Keep swearing down, and even then, only at whisper level. There are children present in almost every campground; respect their innocence.
  • Don’t transgress other people’s campsites, even if you think it’s okay to use them as a short-cut; treat campsites like they are the property of the people staying on them.
  • If you stay up, shut up. You may not be tired, but the sun will be up early and it’s not your right to keep everyone else awake.
  • If you have a pet with you, restrict it on a leash or in a carrier when it’s outside. If your dog is used to being off-leash, look for a designated dog park, but leash him at the campground. And if it’s a barker, get a muzzle. Oh, and clean up dog poop; dispose it in a scent-proof plastic bag into a sealed container.
  • Not everyone is a morning person. Yes, we know you like to sing with the birds, but tents are thin and your singing voice isn’t as good as you think it is. Shhhh!
  • If you just can’t leave the television or radio at home, keep the volume down. People inevitably have different musical taste than yours, so don’t impose it on others, and that applies when you are driving your car around the premises, too.
  • If you’re planning to have a campfire night of song and fun, invite all of your campsite neighbors to join you. You’ll know when it’s time to call it a night when folks start to leave. Then stop.
  • For your safety and that of others, completely extinguish your campfire before you turn in, or of you are going to be absent from your campsite for more than a few minutes. And ensure your campfire stays under control, especially on windy days.
  • Leave it like you found it. Clean up while you are in residence and take everything away, including your rubbish, when you leave. This includes recyclable items.
  • No sex, please; we’re campers. If you tend to be vocal, then stuff a sock or a cork in it. Nobody else cares about what you’re doing behind closed tent flaps.
  • Don’t use the campground’s water sources to wash dishes (or your hair or your dog, etc.). Fill your container and go back to your campsite.
  • Enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation. You don’t know this, but you get loud (maybe even belligerent) after that 10th beer.
  • Kids will be kids, but… Don’t let your youngsters run amok or race around where there may be vehicular traffic. While most campgrounds welcome families, there are some people who are there for peace and quiet; respect them. And it may be best to leave newborns with colic at home.

It also makes sense to make a polite introduction to the people on adjacent campsites. This doesn’t mean they’re your new best friends, but it is just pain civil. Good manners make happy campers!

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