Camping Etiquette

Camping Etiquette

By Tina Hayes & Indigo Silva

Summer is quickly approaching, the days are longer and it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. One popular way to get a dose of fresh air is to go camping. History has proven that camping expeditions are enjoyed by individuals of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and social classes.  Some prefer the tent experience while others camp in the comforts of motor coaches.  Whether you’re going with family or friends, there are rules to follow to stay courteous to others and the environment while camping. Just because you are in the wilderness doesn’t mean your etiquette stays behind.

There are three main rules to follow when camping:

  • Keep the campsite clean. Leave no trace of your stay. Keeping the site clean is good for the environment and keeps away unwanted wildlife.
  • Watch your noise levels. It is perfectly acceptable to listen to the radio or play your favorite CD’s; however, noise levels must be kept to a minimum, especially at night.  Most campsites have designated quiet hours that normally fall between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Constantly be cognizant that there are others near you.
  • Use a timer for your lights. Keeping the lights on all night can disturb other campers as well as be dangerous to your site. By setting a timer you can make sure you don’t leave the lights on for longer than necessary.

Most campsites have posted rules to follow. Be sure that you and everyone in your party are aware and familiar with the rules for your campsite. Some general rules all campsites follow include:

  • Avoid washing your dishes in the bathroom or shower areas. The food clogs up the drains and makes for an unclean sanitary site. Use the areas designated for food cleaning at all times.
  • Don’t dump waste water in the lakes, streams, or on the ground. Not only is it unsanitary and disrespectful, it is harmful to the environment. Dispose of waste in the appropriate places designated around the campground.
  • Follow the speed limits posted for all vehicles used in the campground.
  • Keep the campground facilities clean.
  • When camping with children set rules for them to follow such as boundaries for how far they can go without an adult. Make sure they keep their toys out of the way of other campers and their sites.

Camping is a fun way family and friends can bond with one another while experiencing nature. Being outdoors can be a great way to relax and clear your mind. Here are a few last minute etiquette tips to remember before taking your next camping trip.

  • Camp in your assigned campsite within the campground. Do not switch your site without speaking with the park ranger first.
  • If you bring along your pet, keep it restrained so that it does not wander into nearby campsites.
  • Always remember to not burn any plastic items or other objects. They can create toxic odors that are bad for you, others and the environment.
  • Do not feed any wildlife.
  • Be courteous by cleaning your fire pit for the next camper.
  • When hiking, stay on the indicated trails to avoid getting lost or hurt as well as eroding the habitat surrounding the campground.
  • Try to use showers during times where it is not so busy. If others are waiting, take showers for as short of time as you need to get clean.

Overall, do your part by camping properly so that others can have a positive camping experience.  Remember the outdoors is a public place that is shared by others.

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.