Camping, more often than not, is done with other people. You might have convinced a few family friends to come camping with you but unless you’ve set up well off the beaten path you’re going to be sharing the campground with at least a few strangers. In the interest of everyone involved you don’t want to be that guy, the one playing loud music at night or throwing rubbish everywhere. This is mostly for the people who think camping is a holiday for them, when in reality it’s a very communal experience. These aren’t hard and fast rules, everywhere and everyone will be different. With that in mind, here are some things (in random order) to think about next time you go camping for the benefit of everyone at the campground.
Don’t be loud too late (or early)
Camping is a holiday and it’s normally a more physically intense holiday than going away to a hotel. Because of all the hiking and set up people might be tired earlier but also rise earlier to get more things done during the daylight hours. Being loud late at home isn’t normally as big an issue but there aren’t solid walls separating you and your noise from your fellow campers. A good rule of thumb is avoid loud noises after 10pm and before 8am. You don’t know everyone’s plans and it’s safe to assume that those hours are for sleeping and waking up. Keep the chatter volume down and if you’ve got a loud van try to avoid slamming the door multiple times a night.
Pick up your rubbish
This one should be a no-brainer. You don’t toss rubbish all over your home, why would you toss rubbish everywhere at your holiday home? It still needs to be said sadly, some people turn off their courtesy for future visitors on holidays. Most campgrounds will have bins provided but don’t leave them overflowing for the wildlife. If you have to, please take the rubbish with you when you leave. It means that the next group to visit can enjoy a clean space like you did.
Don’t just stroll through other people’s space
As close as you might be when camping, try to avoid entering other people’s spaces. Just as they don’t want to hear you at bedtime, you don’t want to worry about people walking past and having a stickybeak at all your stuff while on holiday. If you have to, be apologetic about it and try to take note of an alternative path for the next time. If there really is no choice don’t make a fuss about the way the others have set up their tent, just roll with it. This is a holiday after all, it should be relaxing.
Keep kids/pets under control
This ties in to previous points but it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep your kids and pets from becoming the campground terrors. Keep your kids informed of the rules and expectations the campground and other campers have of them. It’s good to let them run around but try to keep them out of other people’s space. The same goes for pets too, nobody wants to have to dodge the jumpy dogs and shoo them away from their dinner tables. If it’s your pet it should only be bothering your dinner table. And no one else should have to clean up after it. If you bring something, anything, that makes rubbish you clean it up as above. Pets are part of the family and I’m not suggesting you leave them at home alone for an extended period, only that you make sure that it’s your family is the one looking after it.
It’s all about space, give people space
When you’re setting up your tent, if you’re in a campground with specifically marked sites, try to keep all of your gear in that space. If there aren’t marked spaces, don’t make it impossible to walk between the tents. It’ll be easier for you and your neighbours to get around. After all it’s camping not cramping, people go camping to get more space away from the city. Even if people aren’t always at the campsite during the day it’s worth being prepared for increased foot traffic.
Leave facilities in a decent state
If you’re lucky enough to be camping somewhere with active plumbing and clean communal facilities keep them that way. Don’t make a mess in the bathrooms, don’t leave charred meat on the barbeques, don’t block people from using the other facilities. You might like to cook alone but if there are two barbeques right next to each other try not to get in the way of the other one if someone wants to use it. If where you’re camping is more natural make sure you dispose of your waste thoughtfully, bury it deep and away from water sources and other campers. And don’t burn it either, everyone including you will hate every second of smelling that.
Some people like to do what can be referred to as 5 star camping or glamping (glamour camping), that is, camping with lots of electricity. If you’re going to bring a generator you need to be considerate of the other campers. Try to set up the generator so that the fumes go away from the rest of the campground, and try not to run it 24/7. Not only is that expensive but there are plenty of people who would be bothered by the sound. Naturally if it’s loud you’d do well to consider your neighbours and shut it down at night for some quiet time. If you do need it later just give everyone nearby a heads up so that they don’t worry about it keeping them up all night.
Follow the rules
Lastly, and maybe most importantly is follow the rules. While what you’ve read so far might seem like a catch all it really isn’t and everywhere will have their own rules. If there’s a speed limit follow it for the pedestrians, if there’s park rules about noise follow them instead of this guideline. You might not get kicked out for breaking the rules we’ve suggested but you can if you break the rules of the place you’re staying at so be aware of what’s expected.
At the end of the day, camping etiquette basically boils down to “be a nice person.” These little steps might not seem like much but it’ll make everyone’s camping holiday a better one. If you’re interested in camping out with the family or are looking for something that you need Decathlon has a whole heap of camping equipment that might come in handy.