Whether you are an experienced camper or planning your first camping trip, be sure to mind your manners at the campground. The following are a few suggestions from fellow outdoor enthusiasts on important camping etiquette.
1. Leave No Trace
With so many folks enjoying the outdoors, it's very important that each of us do our part to ensure we leave nothing behind that detracts from the experience of those who follow. To that end, I practice the "Leave No Trace" credo. After I have packed my camp and before I leave the site, I take a few minutes to reflect on my experience. I think about what I might have done differently, what I may have forgotten or what I brought that I didn't need. During my reflections, I also take a last look around to make sure the site is better than I found it.
Submitted by Bruce Van Deuson
2. Leave Wood for the Next Campers
My family and I often arrive at our campsite near or after dark. One thing I always look forward to is making a campfire, but it's hard to find wood in the dark. I like to leave a few logs and some kindling for the next campers, so that they can have a fire the night they arrive. It's a nice gesture.
Submitted by Rosemary Maziarz
3. Make Longtime Friends
We look forward to fishing on every camping trip. A great way to meet the new campsite neighbors is to offer them some fish. Sometimes we end up making longtime friends.
Submitted by Al Figone
4. Keep the Campsite Clean
Our motto is, "Always leave the site cleaner than when you arrived." The last thing we do when packing up on the final day of our trip is clean the site. I pay my children one penny for each piece of trash they pick up, including bottle caps, broken straws, etc. You would be amazed at how clean your campsite can be in a matter of minutes. For two or three dollars, the campground is usually spotless when we leave.
Submitted by Kimberly Clemens
5. Use a Timer for Your Lights
We have heard complaints about people who leave their awning lights on all night. This often bothers people who are sleeping nearby. So, we decided to use an outdoor timer (just as we would for Christmas lights), so that we can "set it and forget it." No one is disturbed by our lights. It's important to be courteous of other campers sleeping, which includes noise as well, so turn off your outdoor speaker at night, too.
Submitted by Brenda and Roger Hagan
6. Write a Note
This tip is easy. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper, and when your trip is over and you are packed and ready to go, take a moment and write a short note to the next camper. I have received a few of these, and have left a few myself. You can tell the new campers about things of interest you discovered during your stay and you can wish them a great time, all in just a few short lines.
Submitted by Rena Walls
7. Pick Up More Than You Bring
We camped a lot when we were kids. As part of our tradition, my family and I would clean up at the end of our stay. We not only cleaned up after ourselves, but each of us had to pick up at least 10 pieces of litter. This was a way of giving thanks for the chance to camp, and to help make the site better for someone else too.
Submitted by Steve Merring
8. Meet Your Neighbors
One way to break the ice with neighbors just arriving to the campsite is to offer assistance when they are backing into their sites. Some rigs are incredibly difficult to back up, and some sites are more difficult to back into than others. While you're helping, strike up conversations about kids, baseball, boating, camping, etc. It's the best way to meet your new neighbors!
Submitted by Brian Hammon
9. Camping Etiquette for Future Campers
We always rake a circle around the campfire area as the very last thing we do before departure. It leaves a nice manicured look, and we have had several camp hosts compliment us on how good the site looks.
Submitted by Bill Carl
10. Share Fire Starters
Great campfires start with wax and dryer lint and small bathroom paper cups. I melt wax, fill the cups with dryer lint and add the wax over top. Let each set until firm (sometimes I put them in the freezer to speed up the process). These fire starters work every time, and we always have spares for our camping neighbors who have a hard time lighting their campfires.
Submitted by Daphne Michel