Etiquette is about being courteous and having good manners, so how does this translate to camping?
Being outside allows people to slow down and rediscover the lost art of being neighborly, which is often lost in the frenzy of urban life. When you are at the campground, and you pass another person, acknowledge his or her presence with a head nod, saying Hello or even Good Morning. At a minimum, be civil to folks you don’t know. Most of all respect the space of other campers. If you blunder through someone’s campsite excuse yourself for the intrusion.
Get to Know Your Neighbor
Introduce yourself to your neighbors as soon as you move into your campsite. This can be as simple as waving, by saying Hello, or even formally introducing yourself with a handshake. An introduction and handshake are best. There are several reasons for this: introducing yourself gives you credibility as a reliable neighbor, establishes your space, and communicates (important concept here) that you are an outgoing individual.
Be Aware of Pollution
Pollution comes in many forms: light, noise, and trash.
Lanterns are a great way to illuminate a campsite, but lantern light can become pollution for neighbors when it is very late at night. A lantern can produce enough glare to illuminate the inside of your neighbor’s tent at a considerable distance away, which can keep them awake. When using a lantern, shield it so the light stays more within your location and does not illuminate other campsites. The same goes for flashlights; they should be used respectfully and not aimed at tents when people are sleeping.
Noise happens, but when noise becomes a continual annoyance for neighbors, it becomes pollution. Noise pollution can include: loud kids, generators, radios, electronics, and even a family preparing, eating, and cleaning up after dinner. Observe campground quiet hours; in most campgrounds, this is between 10 pm – 8 am the following morning. Radios can be a big irritation for neighbors. Most people are nice and never say anything, but the reality is people do not want to “enjoy” another person’s music.
Since the beginning of time, humans have generated trash. We still do, but this does not mean campers have to be trashy. Always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. When you’re on a day hike take a small trash bag with you to pick up any trash you find along the trail.
Most people consider camping as a time to cut loose, kick back and just hang out. Camping can be these things, but it should be approached more as an opportunity to be personally responsible, diligent, and being aware of your surroundings. You are your fellow camper’s keeper, and observing campground etiquette can help everyone have a better time at the campground. And it will you make your Mother (Nature) proud!
Next, is a tip about child safety in the campground.