Camping Etiquette

How To Camp Without Angering Your Fellow Campers

Don’t Play Music or Watch Movies

You just came back from a grueling adventure, you’re exhausted. You check in to your campground, can’t wait to eat dinner and go to bed. Nope, sleep isn’t allowed because you have noisy neighbors. Even though it is only 7pm you can tell that the party isn’t going to stop for a while. And what’s worse? You absolutely cannot stand the music that the group is playing.

I had this exact experience after coming back from a recent backpacking trip in Yosemite with pretty bad altitude sickness. Playing loud music is just not cool. Keep in mind that everyone around you has to listen to the exact same music. As a general rule of thumb, technology shouldn’t be allowed on a camping trip. You’re there to reconnect with nature. If you’re there to party and dance to music go back to the city, nature doesn’t want your party.

Do Keep It Quiet After Dark

You wandered into the backpacking camp from a side hike, and you could hear a pin drop. Backpackers are still awake, but they’re respectful.

When I was backpacking through the Wild River Wilderness I went into the Imp Tentsite at 8pm to crickets, the sound of water boiling on stoves, and the wind in the background. The sun just set and the entire camp was quiet out of respect for all backpackers. You don’t know the adventures others were on throughout the day. Exhaustion is a thing in the outdoors and some people were dead asleep. Of course, in the fall dark can mean 6pm. Whispers hours as I like to call them should be 8pm-7am.

Don’t Assume That No One Hears You Inside Your Tent

12:30am, you wake abruptly to what sounds like a fun time at your neighbors site…

Loud and clear, I cannot un-hear this. Sadly, this happened at one of my favorite campgrounds in mid-coast Maine forever ruining my experience there. I was sleeping soundly after a wonderful day of exploring when suddenly I heard some um…panting. I won’t go into anymore detail on this, I think you understand exactly what I mean. If you don’t then message me and I will elaborate. As I was silently fuming Anton called the police, when the police showed up they were very quiet, but the second the police left it was louder than ever before. What’s worse? There were children at surrounding campsites trying to sleep. What does a parent say when their five year old innocently asks about the people panting in the middle of the night? I mean essentially this is public indecency, keep it G for the sake of the kids at the very least. You should express (lack of a better appropriate term) yourself if you wish, but try to be quiet.

Do Be Friendly and Welcoming to Your Fellow Campers

It’s cold and dark, you have no firewood but a couple invites you to warm yourself by their campfire.

In Yosemite High Sierra camps there are communal fire pits. And yes, that means that I could have gone there and sat down without anyone really protesting it, but instead I was welcomed to the campfire. This couple spent hours collecting firewood and they didn’t have to be so kind, but they were. We shared stories and experiences and talked into the night while staying warm. In the morning I returned the favor by collecting more firewood in the dark and starting a breakfast fire for everyone at the camp. This is how friendships are established. Campgrounds should be respectful and communal.

Don’t Cross Through Another Person’s Campsite

It’s dark, you’re cuddled up by the fire with a glass of wine and your love. All the sudden some kid runs through your site as a shortcut back to his own site, it totally ruins the relaxing vibes.

This is more of a pet peeve. There is no written rule that you cannot pass through someone else’s site, depending on your site you might actually have a walking path going through so be aware when booking. Personally I just don’t feel that it’s right. Would you walk through a stranger’s house or backyard? Of course not, it’s private property and that’s called trespassing. While this isn’t trespassing it is infringing on someone’s privacy to a certain degree. Don’t ruin romantic, peaceful, or relaxing vibes please.

 Do Keep An Eye On Younger Children

You crawl into your tent to grab a sweater only to find a toddler rummaging around who was completely unsupervised.

Kids are wonderful and I encourage you to take them out into nature for a few days if they are old enough and ready for it! As a parent you need to be the judge of when that is. Kids also need heavy supervision in this kind of place. When kids get bored they find ways to entertain themselves, and finding an unsupervised toddler in your tent playing with a flashlight is a prime example. It’s not that the parents were totally irresponsible in this case, they had all the camp staff searching. It is a classic case of mom using the bathroom and dad turning his back for 30 seconds to take a phone call. Meanwhile little Anna ran off to find mom, but got lost on her way. Apparently my tent was her favorite color.