Part of the fun of camping is the freedom that camping gives you. However, you do need to exercise some consideration for other campers and for the campsite itself.
Here is a campground etiquette list that features 13 simple camping etiquette tips that will help you and others enjoy your time at camp.
#1. Get to Your Campsite In Time To Set Up Before Quiet Time
It is not uncommon to arrive at the campground near dark or even after dark. But, if at all possible try to get to your campsite in time to be completely set up before quiet time, so that you don’t disturb any of the other people camping near you.
#2. Avoid Intruding on Other Campers Space
If camping in a campground with designated campsites, make sure not to go over the boundaries of other people’s campsite.
You wouldn’t put up shelters or other buildings on your neighbors property at home, so refrain from doing it when camping.
If camping in a wilderness area, make sure that you don’t establish your camp too close to camps already established by others.
Part of the enjoyment of wilderness camping is that campers have more privacy and space to spread out.
In addition, when traveling to and from restrooms, showers and other places in the campground avoid cutting through other people’s campsites.
#3. Get Your Firewood on Location
Trees from a location can spread disease to trees from another location, so please don’t transport firewood from one location to another.
Many camping areas (especially primitive campgrounds) allow you to collect dead fall to use for your campfires free of charge.
But, even if you need to purchase wood, do so in the area which you are camping. There are usually several places that sell campfire wood to local campers near every campground.
#4. Never Leave Your Campfire Unattended
Never leave your campfire unattended. If you are going fishing, swimming, hiking or sightseeing in town, then make sure that your fire is put completely out.
Leaving a campfire unattended puts both other campers and the entire campground or forest in danger. Even if you are only intending to be gone a few minutes, don’t leave your campfire burning.
#5. Don’t Feed the Wildlife
While observing the wildlife while camping is fun you should never feed them.
While it may delight you to feed the birds, squirrels and other small animals at your campsite, you will make beggars of these animals and then once you leave the next campers to the site may not appreciate the forward and aggressive actions of these animals to get food.
In addition, some wild animals carry diseases including rabies and you don’t want to risk getting bitten by one of these animals. So think of your family and other campers and observe the wild life from a reasonable distance.
#6. Control Your Pets and Your Children
People of all ages and dispositions may be camping in one campground. There may be people who don’t like children or don’t like animals or are even afraid of dogs camping.
While you may love camping with your children and pets you don’t want them to spoil others enjoyment of the campground.
So, make sure that children understand and obey all camp rules both those of the campgrounds and the ones established by you.
You should also control your pets at all times including walking them in the designated dog run if there is one.
#7. Properly Dispose of Waste
Most established campgrounds have a designated place for you to dispose of waste, so make sure that you do.
If camping in a primitive campground make sure to burn all paper waste and bury your bodily waste at least 6 inches deep.
Use biodegradable toilet paper. Any non burnable waste you should place in sturdy garbage bags and take it with you when you leave.
#8. Adhere to a Quiet Time
Many campgrounds post quiet times usually from 10 pm to 6 am. If your campground has a posted quiet time make sure that you adhere to it.
If no quiet time is posted, then try and be considerate of neighboring campers and keep those chats around the campfire down, and try not to disturb those who are trying to go sleep early.
#9. Be Friendly and Courteous to Other Campers
Remember that camping is not just about you and your family enjoying the outdoors, it’s about having new experiences and even meeting new people.
So, when meeting other campers in camp on the trails be friendly and courteous and even offer a helping hand.
It can create a real bond between you and a neighboring camper if you offer to help them set up their tent or start a fire for them if they arrive near dark.
It makes them feel less stressed while trying to set up and camp and makes for a friendlier camping experience for you and neighbors.
#10. If Hiking Stay on Designated Trails
Not only will staying on the designated trails when hiking help prevent you from picking up ticks that live in the taller grass, it will also protect the wild flowers and plants from being trampled leaving them to be enjoyed by the next group who uses the campground.
#11. Always Try and Leave Your Campsite Cleaner Than You Found It
I don’t know how many times we have arrived at a campsite near dusk and had to spend an hour or more cleaning up a campsite before we can pitch a tent.
It always amazes me that people feel it is okay to leave broken camp chairs, used bait containers and even dirty diapers in the fire pit or scattered around the campsite when they leave.
As a matter of pride we always try to leave our campsite cleaner than we found it and clean out the pit, often setting up a new fire ready to be lit when we leave.
Since we appreciate finding a campsite clean and ready to be set up we feel that other campers will appreciate it too and so does the environment as a whole.
#12. Leave Some Wood and Kindling for the Next Campers
When we leave our campsite at the end of our camping time, we always try and leave some wood and kindling for the next campers.
Normally we try and leave everything set up in the firepit or stacked neatly beside it.
There is nothing more welcoming to new arrivals than to find enough wood for their first fire all ready awaiting them.
#13. Why Not Leave a Note?
While we don’t do it every time there have been many times we have left a not for the next campers welcoming them to the campsite.
We would tell them what part of the lake we caught the most fish at what time of day, where they can find a good supply of deadfall, and even where the best place to eat is for when they want to dine out.
We have gotten a couple of such notes ourselves and always find them helpful and accurate making our stay feel even more fun and welcoming.
Hopefully these tips on camping etiquette will help to make your camping adventures more friendly and fun for both you and your campground neighbors.