Camping is one of the most freeing things you can do, and you can really write your own rules on how to do it your way. People enjoy all different types of camping in many different settings, but there are some things that every outdoor enthusiast knows about camping etiquette that must be followed no matter the style of camping you like.
There’s no official handbook when it comes to campground rules, but there are some unwritten rules that ensure you’re respecting your neighbors, future campers, and the environment around you. Before you head out on your next camping trip, considering these your official but unwritten camping rules that everyone needs to follow.
We’re not just talking about when you decide to pack up and leave, but your campsite should be kept clean at all times. If there are any shared facilities or areas and you’ve used them, you’ll also need to keep these clean as well. Leaving food around can attract animals and bugs, but it is also unhygienic. If you’re traveling with pets, you’ll need to clean up after them and yourselves, so keep all of these things in mind.
When you arrive at a campground, you should try to find out what their quiet hours are. These are hours when the noise needs to be kept at a minimum so people can sleep or relax peacefully. If you have children or adults who are rowdy, they need to be quiet during this time. Even if your campground has no listed quiet hours, the unspoken campsite rule is that between 10 pm to 6 am, everyone should be quiet. This includes noise like cooking, electronics, setting up sites, and other loud sounds.
Every single campground is unique and they will have their own rules and regulations. When you’re planning to take a trip to the outdoors, do some research on where you’re going. Campground rules and regulations could include things like noise, rubbish, and permitted activities, and it’s an unspoken rule that you should do every bit of research possible before you arrive.
You might think that your dog is cute and playful, but that doesn’t mean anyone else does. Dogs are commonly taken on camping trips but they need to remain on leashes at all time if they do. As well as possibly irritating other campers, a dog can pose a threat to native wildlife, eat other people’s food, and even bark at all hours which will disrupt people’s sleep. Be mindful of everything that your pet is doing if you insist on taking them camping.
Washing dishes is something that can’t be avoided, even when you’re camping. However, some people make the huge mistake of trying to clean them in the bathroom. If you’re at a campsite with a shared bathroom, it’s a major faux pas to do the dishes there, so avoid it at all costs. Rather bring a washing tub that you’ll use to do the camp dishes so that you’re not imposing on anyone else.
While it might not be an official campsite rule, everyone should know that if you’re driving, you have to put your low lights on. This applies mainly to people who arrive during dark hours and are trying to find their campsite. You may need to see what you’re doing but with high beams on, you’ll be potentially waking people up or glaring a very bright light into their campsite. Be respectful of others when it comes to your car lights or flashlights.
Fires pose a huge potential risk when camping, and it’s an unwritten rule that you need to put them out at all times. When you go to bed, leave your campsite, pack up to go home, or are simply done using it, you have to put your fire out completely. You may think it’s a hassle getting it started again, but the risk of leaving it to burn is far too dangerous and not something that you want to be responsible for.
Although technically one of the most well-known rules of camping, Leave No Trace is a mantra that all campers should be following. This means that whatever you’ve done to your campsite or the wilderness, you need to make sure you haven’t left a trace. If you’ve dug a hole, fill it up. If you’ve moved a camp bench, put it back. If you’ve left rubbish, pick it up. Leave the area exactly as you found it so that the next camper can enjoy it and so too can the local wildlife.
Unless you have a fireplace at home that you plan on using, you should leave your wood behind for the next campers. Not only will this be helpful for the next people who use that campsite, but it means fewer things for you to take back home. If you’re in a particularly secluded area, you may consider taking it with you if there’s no chance that anyone else will get use out of it though.
When camping, there is a very serious unspoken rule about your own campsite’s perimeters. Although there’s no legally designed space that is yours to use, people are usually aware of the borders of their own area. It’s extremely rude to cut through another campsite to get somewhere, even if it means you’re saving a lot of time and energy in the process. Consider it like your home, and you wouldn’t just walk through someone’s house to get to the park behind it, so don’t do it when you’re camping either.