Camping sites are havens from the noise and bustle of cities. When they get tired of the hectic pace of city life, many people decide to head for the woods. What some people often forget is that they are not alone in the woods and that there is certain camping etiquette they should follow. In this article, we will present you with 15 unwritten rules of camping everyone should know.
If you are a camping rookie, you may also want to take a look at camping terminology that everyone should master. Camping is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable activity where you get a chance to reconnect with nature, play fun games, tell scary stories and learn some new outdoor skills.
Camping is a communal activity. With that in mind, there are certain written and unwritten rules to ensure that all campers have a ball without disturbing others. It all comes down to having the utmost respect for nature, as well as your camping neighbors. After all, we all go camping to enjoy some peace and quiet, not drama and disturbance.
Here are 15 unwritten rules of camping everyone should know and follow so that we all have the time of our lives when we go camping.
Table of Contents
#1 Take out what you bring in
This rule is supposed to be quite an obvious one, but it’s worth emphasizing that it is the campers’ duty to clean the campsite before leaving. Leaving a mess behind for other campers to clean is disrespectful, both to the campers and to Mother Nature. Some places enforce strict rules and impose heavy fines for littering.
Even when there are no formal rules enforced in reference to littering, we should all do our best to minimize the traces we leave in nature. Leave-no-trace principle is a fundamental rule for all campers to abide by to ensure that we can enjoy pristine wilderness for many years to come.
#2 Keep noise to a minimum
If your idea of unwinding is playing loud music to your heart’s content, then camping might not be the best pastime for you. Imagine if all the campers just casually cranked up the volumes on their boomboxes whenever they felt like it. We would drive each other crazy.
Quiet hours are there for a reason. All campers should observe them, as well as be courteous to their camping neighbors even outside these hours. We all have different sleeping habits and one camper’s fun should not get in the way of another camper’s rest.
#3 Bright lights are for the cities
Campers often hang fairy string lights to brighten up their camping site and make it feel cozier. Although they are simple decorations, they can also become a distraction for others campers when they try to sleep. Make sure to switch them off before bedtime.
Use your camping experience to enjoy starry skies, rather than add to light pollution. Although there are not that many strict rules when it comes to using lights around campsites, it is common decency not to leave your outside lights on the whole night while other campers try to sleep.
#4 Keep your dog on a leash
Believe it or not, not everyone is a dog person. Even if they are, your dog roaming the campsite might cause issues with some people. To be on the safe side, make sure that you always know where your dog is.
Always clean up after your pet. Don’t let your dog make another camper’s area its bathroom. Check out the best tips for camping with pets to ensure both you and your dog can enjoy your camping adventure while still being respectful to other campers.
#5 Put out the fire
If you travel as a camping group, it might be a good idea to assign a person who will be in charge of the fire. This means both lighting it up and putting it out. The rule of thumb is never to leave a fire unattended. You can safely use water, sand, or dirt to douse the fire. Follow these steps to ensure that your fire is completely extinguished:
- Pour plenty of water – keep pouring water on top of the campfire until a hissing sound stops. You can also use dirt or sand and stir it into the embers to bury the fire.
- Stir the embers – use a shovel to stir the embers and ash and make sure that there are no smoldering embers left.
- The fire should be cool to the touch – if it’s not and the heat is still radiating, continue adding water. Adding another layer of dirt and sand is a good precaution too.
#6 Don’t be a latecomer
Arriving later than 10 pm and setting up your tent is bound to bother some campers. The same goes for leaving a campsite super early. If for any reason you have to do this, try to be as quiet as a mouse. Your headlights and the sound of your RV engine can disturb other camper’s sleep, so try not to leave at the break of dawn or arrive in the middle of the night.
#7 No smoking
Smoking cigars is not good for you and it is especially stinky and annoying to other fellow campers who are nonsmokers. You may not notice that, but nonsmokers can smell your cigars 1000 feet away. When in nature, try breathing in some fresh air and let others enjoy the crisp, fresh air, as well.
#8 Respect other campers’ privacy
Don’t just walk casually through another camper’s RV site. Even if it is a shortcut to your desired location. It is rude and it is encroaching on people’s privacy. It is like walking through someone’s backyard without them knowing.
#9 Respect other campers’ personal space
Don’t park your RV right next to another camper if there are other spots available. Try to spread out. Stay organized within your site and keep all of your camping equipment on your, not your neighbor’s site.
#10 Don’t burn trash in the fire pit
Burning trash might release certain toxins and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause a wildfire. Forest fires can quickly get out of control and take a toll on both people and the forest. Simply pack out your trash and take it with you once you leave the campsite. Keep in mind that burning trash causes around 40% of all forest fires.
#11 Don’t leave the machines running all the time
Generators, ACs, and different types of machines all create a type of noise that reminds us of cities’ hustle and bustle which we try to get away from when we go camping. If you are unsure whether to leave your RV inverter on all the time, make sure to check out our blog.
In addition to creating noise, these machines produce fumes that nobody wants to breathe in. Whenever possible, be kind enough to switch them off and enjoy nature’s sounds and peace.
#12 Don’t take a campsite that is not yours
Believe it or not, the increasing popularity of camping has created a problem of campsite theft. It goes without saying that we should be considerate of others and never claim or steal a reserve-only campsite. Never replace someone else’s occupancy tag with yours. Here you can also check if you can camp at a closed campground.
#13 Don’t take away your unburned firewood
You should neither bring your own firewood nor take away the unburned firewood with you. All firewood carries certain bugs and fungi and we never know how these can affect a region where they don’t naturally exist. You should always collect only ”dead and down” wood for camping purposes.
#14 Bring extra snacks, beverages, and ice
You can’t have too many snacks or too much ice when camping. Sharing these things with your camping neighbors is an act of kindness and it might be a start of a great camping friendship. Beverages and particularly booze are a nice way of bonding with people and always bring more than you think you might need.
People like to try out different people’s things, so be prepared to share. If you have a sweet tooth, check out our 12 make-ahead camping desserts you need to try. These desserts will be a cherry on top of your memorable camping trip.
#15 Follow the speeding rules
Speeding rules on campgrounds are enforced for a reason. They might vary depending on the location. You might think that driving 7.5. miles per hour is painfully slow but think about the children and wildlife. These rules are not arbitrary and do your best to follow them. Slow down and enjoy the ride in nature.
Camping is a truly remarkable getaway experience. Nevertheless, to make sure that all campers have equal chances to enjoy it, observe all the rules we talked about in this article. Both written and unwritten rules are a part of camping etiquette and it’s campers’ duty to abide by them. You’ve also heard about something called the 28-day camping rule and would like to know more? Read our article to find out more.