One of the most liberating things we can do with our weekends or holidays this summer is rounding up our friends or family and heading out on a camping vacay. The only problem is that there’s often a few hasty campers that can make it tough for the rest of the crew. The campsite is a delicate ecosystem, one where usually the ‘noob’ sticks out like a sore thumb. There are a handful of unwritten rules when it comes to camping, most of which only require a little common sense. Try not to be ‘that guy’ (or girl).
“Leave no trace”
You carry it in, you carry it out. If you want to treat your campsite like a frat house then so be it, just don’t force your bad leftover food and drink choices onto the wildlife. When was the last time a chipmunk came into your house and left a tube of pringles and a couple of empty cans of Coors Light on your living room floor? This isn’t so much an unwritten rule as it is a very well written rule. It’s plastered all over campsites and usually on the park map, don’t ignore it.
“Of all the camp sites, in all the wilderness, in all the world and you walk into mine”. When you’re out in the wild and looking for a pitch don’t just park up right next to the first random stranger you came across. Yes, if you get there slightly later you’re probably not going to get the best spot, but the second best spot isn’t the one thats only two feet away. Find your own space. Be polite and introduce yourself but wait for an invitation before whacking out your wieners and roasting them on their fire. People go camping to get away from everything and that could include people like you. If you’re short of the odd camping utensil then by all means ask, but don’t make a habit of relying on other campers to bring the essentials. Anyone got a corkscrew…?
“Keep it down out there”
Loud and rambunctious is fine. Just make sure that your partying isn’t at the expense of some 6 year olds sleep. Grab a group of friends, a couple of tents and a crate of beer or two and you’ll have a fantastic weekend, but make sure you don’t pitch next to the suburban family with 2.5 kids. When the sun goes down and people start heading to their sleeping bags don’t presume their tent will act as any sort of sound proofing to the major rager you’re throwing 10 feet away. A little piece and quiet is usually why we go camping.
It is all rather simple really – a little consideration for others goes a long way. Meeting people at a camp site is all part of the enjoyment. It’s always worth packing a bit extra as you never know what you might need to use for a little bargaining. Lastly if there’s one definitive piece of advice for camp site etiquette it’s this. Never use the rest of your beer to put out your camp fire, that’s what your last toilet break of the night is for. You’re welcome.
By Max Willcocks