Whether you are new to camping or an old pro, here is our guide to keeping everyone happy…
Keep Noise Down
Noise is one of the biggest issues on the campsite.
Whether its drunken revelry or loud music, noise can obviously affect others. Even if you’re at a “party” campsite, make sure to stay as quiet as possible so you don’t upset other campers.
Most campsites have late hours (between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.) where you’re required to turn off all music and keep your voices down. Double check your campsite’s quiet hours to ensure they don’t start earlier or end later.
During these hours, you should refrain from yelling or playing music.
You should also refrain from other loud activities, like driving stakes into the ground or chopping firewood.
Don’t shine bright flashlights around the campsite during these times either.
No matter what time of day or night, keep your music to a minimum.
If your stereo is loud enough for other campers to hear, it’s too loud. Imagine if everyone blasted their stereos at their campsites; the camping experience would be ruined for everyone.
Camping is about connecting with nature, so make sure to keep the electronics at home.
Make sure to keep your acoustic music to a minimum too. Though you might want to enjoy a little movie nostalgia by bringing along your guitar, your music might not be appreciated by other campers.
Keep Your Campsite Pet Friendly
Pets are a huge point of contention when it comes to camping.
Plenty of people love bringing their furry loved ones along but don’t know the proper pet campsite etiquette.
Make sure to follow the known and unknown rules of campers in order to make sure your pooch doesn’t upset the natural balance of the campground.
The biggest faux pas that new campers can make in regards to dogs is not properly cleaning up pet waste.
Make sure to take your dog for a walk at least once a day away from the campsite.
Just like you would in the city, bring along a plastic bag to remove your furry friend’s poop from wherever you may be walking them.
If you are walking them through bush or forest areas, keep in mind that any outside faeces can destroy the natural balance of the forest floor.
If your pet happens to go to the bathroom at the campsite, make sure to clean up the waste immediately.
Other campers can smell the waste, and the smell might ruin another camper’s dinner!
Make sure to control your dog’s barking – especially at night. Pet noise is one of the most common complaints at a campsite.
Remember that your neighbours might not be “dog people” and might not be used to the sound of barking all night long. Your dog should never go barking for more than a few minutes and should not bark at night – especially excessively.
Pets can easily get into other campers’ food or supplies. Some people are also afraid of dogs and won’t want to interact with your dog – as crazy as that sounds.
Make sure the campsite is also pet friendly.
Some campsites ban pets from their grounds. Double check the campsite’s website in order to find out if they are pet friendly. If they don’t mention whether pets are allowed on the website, just call and ask. You’ll want to know if pets are allowed on a site before you arrive there.
If no pets are allowed, you might end up losing your campsite and your deposit.
Finally, if your pets are prone to behavioural problems, leave them at home with a friend.
You don’t want to end up being the bane of the campsite’s existence because your dog caused a ruckus, bit a small child or barked all night long.
You might be asked to leave and risk being banned from the campsite for life.
Be Kind to Nature
Nature has been around for longer than you’ve been a twinkle in your father’s eye ; )
Make sure to respect nature, and nature will respect you. This means, leave your campsite exactly as you found it.
It also means, leave your campsite even better than you found it.
You also need to follow a few more rules if you’re going to commune with nature in a peaceful way.
Don’t use any metal to attach your camping equipment to nature. In fact, don’t attach your campsite to nature whatsoever.
This means you should never, ever nail your tent or tarps to trees. You should also never use metal wires to attach your tent or tarps to trees.
Steer clear of the trees when it comes to setting up your campsite. One of the cardinal rules of camping is to never, ever cut down trees.
It’s great to find dead twigs, leaves and branches for kindling. Yet you should never burn anything that’s alive in the forest.
You’re also more than welcome to bring your own firewood should you need to.
This rule also coincides with the golden rule of leaving your campsite exactly as you found it.
Leave nothing behind, and take nothing away.
Cleaning Your Campsite
Cleaning is one of the most generous activities during camping. Its kind to other campers and the campsite. Make sure you keep your campsite clean by removing waste every day.
You should designate one bag for garbage and one bag for recycling. Never leave any waste, recycling or compost at your campsite – unless the campsite has a designated spot for compost.
If your campsite has designated recycling and trash bins, you can dispose of these products daily.
Otherwise, save all your garbage in a safe container and bring it with you when you leave.
It is important that you don’t leave behind your water or cleaning products either.
Use only biodegradable cleaning products, and only use cleaning products at least 100 feet away from natural sources of water.
Wash your hair and body with biodegradable products and don’t wash yourself in the streams, rivers or lakes.
Make sure you take out all of your grey or used water from your campsite, or dump all used water in specially marked areas.
Give Them Some Space
One of the joys of camping is getting out in the wild and making friends with others. Make sure you’re actually making friends with other campers instead of isolating yourselves from them.
Set your tent far from other campsites. Campers love making friends; they just don’t want to hear all of your business.
If the campground isn’t full, try to set up at least 20 meters from other campers. You’ll give them plenty of space and won’t need to worry too much about your noise levels. Respect other campers’ needs for privacy, too.
If you want to hang out, try hanging out in communal areas first. Some campers even put notices on the community boards if they want company on hikes or during activities.
Respect your fellow campers and the campsite by respecting communal spaces. Make sure you follow the same rules for communal spaces as your campsite. Don’t leave garbage lying around. Don’t make an inordinate amount of noise. If your group is large, leave some room for others. Hang out in communal spaces in shifts, or stick to your campsites.
Make sure you don’t “borrow” furniture from other campsites or the communal areas.
Camping etiquette states that if you need more furniture at your campsite, ask the attendant. The campground might have extra furniture that you can check out. Borrowing furniture without permission could lead to fines or lead to others being fined for your mistake.
Try to keep all furniture in its place; that way, you won’t give the campground attendants extra work.
Speaking of being kind, make sure to be kind to the campground attendants, other campers and your own group.
Part of camping is learning how to get along with others better.
You can start by being kind to the campground attendants. These guys are getting paid to do a job, but they are not at your beckon call.
Say ‘hi’ to you neighbours to ensure comradery between campsites. Your neighbours might not want to hang out with you for the entire trip, but they probably have headed to the campsite to be around others.
Say ‘hi’ to people as you pass them on paths and communal areas. Ask them where they’re from, and strike up a conversation. This can be the most rewarding part of a camping trip.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but be kind to your own group.
If you are an experienced camper and have newbies in your group, show them the ropes.
If you’re all novice campers, print out this list to ensure everyone knows the campsite etiquette. If you’re uncomfortable with either, camp with only those people who have your similar personality type or cleanliness type.
Make sure everyone pitches in daily with cleaning activities.
Most of all, make sure your group is having fun. Plan a few scheduled activities to ensure everyone gets involved in the fun.
Camping etiquette doesn’t need to feel like a chore; it should encourage others to make good decisions while having a great time.