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Camping is a wonderful experience, and it is one that can be enjoyed alone or with friends and family. It doesn’t matter who you’re with, as long as you are prepared for an adventure in the great outdoors. Much like hiking, camping has a few unwritten rules when it comes to etiquette. Whether you’re planning your first camping trip, or you are a veteran of the art, this quick guide to camping etiquette might just teach you something you didn’t know before.
Being a Good Camper
In truth, being a good camper comes down to good manners and common sense. It’s important that you show your fellow campers compassion and consideration when you are camping if you want to maintain good relations. The camping etiquette rules are short and sweet, but they are also essential to remember on your next trip. Here’s each of them below for you to read through and learn.
#1 Keep it Down
It’s not just noise from children and dogs that can leave fellow campers on edge. If you and your group are a noisy bunch, make sure you keep the volume down as much as possible while you are at your campsite out of respect for your neighbours. Of course, if you want to be loud, there are sometimes options for more private and secluded camping spots, and during the day a little noise is acceptable.
Remember, you have a whole wilderness to explore, so save the noise and energy for your adventures. As a further note regarding noise, keep your neighbours in mind when you are playing music and/or drinking alcohol. No one likes wasted people staggering into their campsite after wandering away, and loud music at night is rarely appreciated.
Of course, it’s important that you still have fun – you’re on holiday after all. Just find the right balance between noise and silence that leaves everyone happy. After all, if you don’t want to wake up to angry stares and muttering every morning, you should take the feelings of your neighbours into account.
#2 Respect the Space of Others
Think about your fellow campers when it comes to pitching your tent. During the busy season, you are likely to have allocated areas, and if this is the case, you should not pitch your tent any closer than 2m away from your neighbours. During the quieter seasons, when you are free to pitch where you like, this should be made into 6m, giving you and your neighbours enough personal space and privacy.
Do not walk across someone else’s pitch because it is a shortcut, this is extremely rude and will likely leave your neighbours feeling uncomfortable. Similarly, it is very rude to enter a pitch without first being invited to do so. Treat the tents like homes – the same rules apply; you are just outside.
#3 Keep it Clean
Make sure you keep any campsite facilities clean during your stay. Treat them as if they were a part of your own home. This includes things like toilet and shower areas, as well as washing up and laundry sections. Clean facilities make for a better and more enjoyable experience for everyone, so once you are done, make sure you clean up.
The vast majority of campsites have toilet facilities installed. However, there are a few that do not. If you come across a site like this, there is one main rule for bodily functions – do it away from the camp, and do it downwind. Try to be respectful of others who are camping and their feelings. The best way to avoid odour is to dig a hole and fill it in afterwards. It may sound primal, but it works.
#4 Be Friendly
It’s really important to be friendly with your neighbours. Everyone is on holiday, and they all just want to have a good time, so make sure you introduce yourself as soon as possible. You might end up the kind of neighbours that greet each other politely, or it could turn into a friendship that really enhances your trip as a whole.
Make sure you keep up good relations as well. Offer to help where you can, and respect the unwritten rules of the campsite. One main thing to remember is that when you get up in the night, you should have your torch facing the ground from the moment your turn it on. Tents aren’t thick like houses, and your neighbours will not appreciate torchlight glaring through their tent while they are trying to sleep.
Friendliness and maintained relations are the key to a smooth holiday with little to no drama included. It pays to be nice, and it’s a lot less stressful too. Even if you don’t like your camping neighbours, be nice – after all, they won’t be there forever.
#5 Control Children and Dogs
Children and dogs are two things that can irritate people very quickly, and this is for the former most of all. The majority of people don’t mind dogs, but they also don’t appreciate screaming children throughout the day and night. Camping trips can be exciting, but it is important that you keep your child quiet and entertained while you are at the campsite.
There are great walk and adventures that you can take them on during the day, but when you get back to camp, it is time to be calm and quiet. Your neighbours will appreciate this, and it will make your camping trip a little bit easier to run.
When it comes to dogs, make sure they stay close. Don’t let them wander around. Instead, secure them to a stake outside your tent so that they remain in your campsite and don’t go wandering. Similarly, barking should be kept to an absolute minimum, and you must pick up all of their mess as soon as you see it. As I mentioned, people don’t mind dogs as much, but it is still polite to keep them under control.
#6 Be Considerate with Your Car
The parking situation on a campsite can cause neighbours to have a bone to pick with you. It’s not always easy, especially if it is a bit of a tightly packed area, but if you are able to park with your tent then there are a few rules that might make things a little easier for you:
- Don’t block the view of others
- Don’t park on their campsite
- Don’t drive the car around the campsite (this is a HUGE no)
- Do read the campsite rules for parking
- Do see how others have parked before you attempt it
If you follow these quick ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, parking your car will be a much easier and more civil affair. The most important one to remember is that you should never drive around the campsite, especially at night. Not only is it dangerous, but it leaves other campers feeling nervous and vulnerable.
#7 Leave No trace
This is probably the most important camping rule, and it is one that must be followed when you leave. As humans, we have a massive impact on the environment and wildlife as it is. The leave no trace scheme encourages you to pick up all of your rubbish and dispose of it accordingly before you pack up and go – leaving no trace of your time there.
This help to protect the environment and well as local wildlife, but also leaves the campsite clean for the next visitors. If there is one rule that you should always follow, the majority of campers would agree that it should be this one. Respect the place you are camping in, and the wildlife that surrounds it.
It’s not always easy to find a bin, and sometimes the bins can be near to the point of overflowing. If this is the case, please take the rubbish home with you and dispose of it there, rather than leaving it behind.
There aren’t many rules to remember when it comes to camping etiquette. The majority of them boil down to being polite and having good manners. As long as you are friendly towards you neighbours, keep the noise down, and have a little respect for space and privacy, you will be just fine. Just remember the importance of kindness and consideration, and you’ll have a great trip that could even result in a few new friends.
What did you think of our camping etiquette guide? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so let us know in the comments below.