Mind Your Camping Manners: Camping Etiquette

It’s bound to happen.

You’ve found the perfect campsite. Eaten the ideal campfire meal. Laid your head down and started to drift off for a peaceful night under the stars.

Then it starts: The late, loud singing of a rowdy group camped next door. The screaming kids who seem to be up well past their bedtime. Or the irritating rumble of a generator fueling the television in the RV just across the way.

Let’s face it: Camping and getting outside is all about being free from the day-to-day routine, relaxing and having a little easy fun. But camping is not a free-for-all without any rules. There is some etiquette involved in proper camping, which will make the experience better for you, your fellow campers – and even the rowdy singers next door.

Quiet down

Most campgrounds have posted quiet hours. Be respectful of those so everyone can get the peace and quiet they’ve come for.

Clean up

This should go without saying, but always put your camping trash and recycling its proper place. Keep a tidy campsite and leave it cleaner than you found it.

Pitch properly

In campgrounds, only camp in designated sites. The same goes in some heavily used wilderness areas.

Don’t crowd

People go camping to get away a bit. Whenever possible, give folks their personal space and camp in sites that aren’t right next to them.

Leash up

Not everyone loves a free-romping dog as much as you do. Keep Fido leashed up for his own safety and enjoyment and that of other campers and dogs.

Tame flames

Nothing says camping like a classic campfire. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it. Never leave it unattended and always make sure it’s all the way out before you call it quits for the night.

Hike right

In case your camping trip involves some hiking, mind your manners on the trail, too. Yield to uphill foot traffic, stay on the trail and pull aside so other parties can safely pass. Mountain bikers yield to hikers and horses, hikers yield to horses.

Be nice

It’s easy to make friends or at least establish a good-hearted neighborliness with other campers. Don’t be suspicious of groups that don’t look like you. Everyone deserves to feel safe and welcomed in the great outdoors. Be nice, be respectful and have fun. That’s what we’re all out there for.

Image by Marina_Poushkina

Jon Bell

Jon Bell writes about the outdoors, fitness, health, and a range of other topics from his home in Lake Oswego, OR. He is also the author of "On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."

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