Camping Courtesy: Nine Behaviors to Avoid in Public Campgrounds
|A beautiful, secluded campsite in the Wharton State Forest.|
For example, don't expect to avoid seeing large groups on hiking trails close to major cities and that are easy to get to. Similarly, don't expect to find complete silence and peace in a public campground, especially during the camping high season.
However, there are a number of behaviors that are sure to incite rage among fellow campers that should be avoided at all costs, unless you want to make enemies of strangers.
Don't do your dishes in the campground bathroom.This is one of friend Kam's biggest pet peeves, and I agree. It's nauseating to see scraps of others' dinners while I'm brushing my teeth to get ready for bed. If you're like me, you accept that dishes are going to be "camping clean" until you get home. Wipe dishes clean with paper towel or bring biodegradable soap and give dishes a quick rinse at your campsite. Scatter water across as wide of an area as you can and as far away from lakes, streams and other bodies of water as possible. If you want to go all out or have a large group, try this setup from ScoutmasterCG.
Don't leave your RV generator and/or RV lights on all night.Many campgrounds have separate RV and tent sites, but at highly desired camping spots like Delaware Seashore State Park, the tent sites are only feet away from RV sites and when the campground is nearly full, you might have to set up in an RV site. Friend Patrick and I camped "across the street" from folks who left all of their RV's exterior lights on all night. If you're camped in another RV and can close curtains, it's not an issue, but it felt like I was sleeping under a spotlight all night. Similarly, most campgrounds have rules about when RV generators can be on. One of the quickest ways to incite rage among fellow campers is to leave your generator on outside of those hours.
Don't have a raucous party or arrive and set up camp loudly outside of posted quiet hours.It should go without saying that all whooping, hollering, and related shenanigans should be relegated to those times of day outside of posted quiet hours. Ashamedly, I've been that camper who sets their car alarm off accidentally, and I felt awful. If you have a car alarm, make sure you know what sets it off and how to disarm it quickly. Lesson learned! And if you arrive outside of posted quiet hours, be considerate of both the noise you make and the light you use when you're setting up your camp. Also, this, which friend Jillian experienced, is not okay. Similarly...
Don't treat your campsite like your home theater or a DJ booth.Friend Kelly mentioned that on a recent camping trip, folks in a site nearby were watching a movie outside their RV with the sound turned all the way up. Though it's understandable to treat a camping trip like a mini-vacation and bring your favorite action flick for viewing, don't assume everyone in the campground wants to be in on the action as well. Keep your movie watching inside your RV or bring headphones if you're planning to watch it outside. Similarly, just because you love listening to loud music when you're camping, that doesn't mean everyone else enjoys your tunes as much as you do.
Don't walk through others' campsites.It might seem completely innocent to cut through another site when you're walking around the campground, but it's the equivalent of walking across someone's front porch at their house. Observe basic rules of personal space and take the long way around.
|At this campground in Zion National Park, fires weren't allowed. Make sure you know whether or not fires are permitted before you go, and play by the rules!|
Don't leave your campfire burning.For friends Kam and Chris, leaving campfires lit is a major pet peeve. Whether you're going to sleep or heading out for the day, make sure your fire is completely out when there's no one to watch it. Leaving a fire burning isn't just dangerous for you and those in your campsite, it can have significant consequences for others as well. In the same vein, keep your fire confined to designated fire pits and observe the rules if fires are not allowed. Try to avoid throwing garbage into your fire as well; the fumes from burning plastic can be toxic, glass can explode, and it's an added challenge to clean up a fire ring full of trash.
Don't wake with the sun and assume everyone else does too.Getting up at the crack of dawn to break camp and move on to the next adventure is an exciting part of camping, but not everyone feels the same way. Some activities just make unavoidable noise, like turning your car on to leave, but shouting plans for the day across the site to your tent mate at 5am is avoidable. If you're planning an early start to your day, remember that tent walls are absolutely useless for blocking sound and be considerate of your fellow campers.
Don't leave a mess behind, especially food.Most large campgrounds have camp hosts that help ensure sites are clean and ready for the next campers, but there's no reason to make their jobs more difficult. "Pack it in, pack it out" can still apply to campgrounds. Know where to dispose of your garbage and be sure to do so, especially if it's food. Animals can learn to rely on humans as a source of food, and thought it might seem harmless to feed a squirrel with the leftover scraps on your picnic table, there are long-term consequences.
Don't let your pets run amok.One of friend Toby's pet peeves is fellow campers who bring ill-behaved or vicious dogs to campgrounds and let them run amok, or don't clean up after them. And some folks have a a fear of even the friendliest, most well-meaning dogs. Keep them leashed, even in the campsite. It should go without saying, but make sure your furry companion is part of your plans and don't leave them tied up in the campground alone all day.
Huge thanks to everyone on twitter who responded to my request for campground pet peeves! The most common response was definitely related to noise at night. It seems like, generally, most of these behaviors boil down to practicing common courtesy and being considerate. What other campground pet peeves do you have? Do you have a story about any of these?