Camping Etiquette: 10 Rules On How To Be A Better Camper

Rilor Staff
Update: January 27, 2023
Table of Contents

There's a good chance that you enjoy camping. But are you a camper that other campers would love to have around? If you are still unsure about that, then maybe it's time to learn the essential camping etiquette. 

A Quick Overview

Camping is a desirable leisure for anyone. In fact, it is a preferred activity by families or wandering spirits. In the United States, roughly 100 million households are already in this activity. And if you are not a part of this number, then we suggest that you should give camping or backpacking a try. 

However, we are quite aware that not all of these people know the fundamental etiquette of camping. If you are a beginner, not knowing these things are forgivable. But if you have been camping for quite some time, and you are still a rowdy being, then you should reform your ways already. 

Well, we even encourage camping newbies to learn camping etiquette. These rules do not only benefit yourself but other campers, as well. At the same time, prudent and conscious campers help protect the environment. So before you head out to your next (or first) backcountry adventure, sit and try to comprehend and practice the following tips. 

Camping Etiquettes: Do's And Don'ts

These ten rules will certainly give you a better insight on what to do while on the campsite!

Rule No. 1
Respect The Camping Grounds And Amenities

There are a lot of reasons why you need to respect the camping grounds. The most important among these reasons is actually for your own good. If you are a rule-breaker, then the camp manager or ranger has all the right to kick you out. 

That's the end of the story. If you try to disturb or violate the amenities within the campsite, there's a 100 percent chance that you will be driven out. And as a camper, you don't want to happen. 

Let's assume responsibility for the things we do. Don't do stuff unwittingly and make excuses like, "oh, I don't know about that." Before visiting the campsite, there are already rules in place. So take your time to read those and practice them accordingly. 

These rules vary from one campsite to another. Some campsites allow pets, while others will tell you that there you are only allowed to pitch tents in designated spots. Follow these things religiously to ensure that you won't get any complaints. 

If you follow these rules, you will be able to enjoy the full amenities of the campsite. Of course, other campers would like you, as well, for being a courteous fellow. 

Always remember that you are not the only person who is using the area. So do your best to be organized and cautious in your actions. In this way, you can have a memorable time outdoors. 

Rule No. 2
Be Cautious Of Personal Spaces

Do you like other people going inside your home without permission? That's an intrusion, right? And in many cases, such an act is dealt with force and threat. 

Now, we are not promoting violence here. Instead, we are just trying to emphasize that bothering others' personal spaces is not a good thing to do. Though humans love social connection, we don't want our privacy to get ruined, as well. 

And believe it or not, respecting personal spaces is an important camping etiquette. Always remember that most of the time, you will be with strangers when camping. And that's alright. It is an opportunity to meet new people. But this is not an excuse to be overzealous, especially if you are not invited. 

If nobody is inviting you, then just stay within your perimeter. Just mind your own business, and just enjoy whatever nature has to offer. 

Also, don't be a creep. Don't stalk other people or approach them in a manner that could trigger them to stay away from you. Just be well-natured, and greet others politely. 

This rule also applies to your pets. If you are bringing your dogs or cats with you, make sure that they are on a leash. Guard them at all times so that they won't disturb other tents and RVs. 

Rule No. 3
Be Mindful of Noise Levels and Your Impact on Other Campers

Many people go camping to escape the noise and erratic lifestyle of the urban jungle. For a lot of us, the outdoors provides solitude and much-needed relief from stress and pressure. 

Noise isn't really welcomed at any campsite. In fact, there are strict rules imposed on this particular matter, especially if it gets dark already. The thing is, the outdoors is more enjoyable if it is quieter. You will be able to hear the breeze of the wind and the chants of the critters. 

Of course, the silence would also help you be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes, the noise you hear is a warning sign of unwanted occurrences. For example, if you hear the sound of gushing water even if there's no river around, then there's a possibility that you are about to be hit by a flash flood. 

Well, that seems far-fetched, right? But it could really happen. SHTF is just a term until it really happens. 

But let's tone down things. Noise is moderated in campsites because it disturbs other campers and wildlife. Noise can cause agitation and irritation. So if you don't want other campers shouting (or throwing things) at you, then it is better to minimize your voice, shut your radio, and just settle in silence. 

Rule No. 4
Minimize Your Lighting

Noise is a disturbance. So are lights. 

Well, there aren't that many regulations when it comes to the use of lamps and campfires in a campsite. But at the very least, don't overdo it. Excessive lighting could cause unwanted glaring. 

People are about to sleep, and you suddenly turn on your lights brightly. That's a perfect recipe for being kicked from the campsite. Try to minimize the lights so as to not bother others. 

You can also limit the hours you use your light sources. This doesn't only keep others calm, but it also helps save batteries on your electric lamps and bulbs. Keep in mind that these lights can attract critters and insects, as well. So if you don't want to stay awake due to bug bites, you better switch off the illumination. You might want to use a headlamp for more controlled lighting. 

Also, just have insect repellents prepared. 

Rule No. 5
Time To Control Your Kids

We know that you like to give your kids a taste of the outdoors. For us, that's a wonderful gift you can give to them. It doesn't only benefit their physical well-being, but it is also good for their mind and soul. It is a much-needed break from their gadgets, too!

However, having your kids on a campsite means that you have some added responsibilities, as well. 

It's important that you can talk to your kids about the rules of backpacking and camping. Rehearse them about it. In this way, they will not cause any trouble for you or other campers. 

Also, make sure that you teach your kids how to dispose of their own waste and trash. Let them explore, but always remind them to stay on the designated trails. Of course, it would be best if you could join them in their discoveries. 

During the morning, you can do a lot of campsite games and activities. You can play sports or board games. You can even have a sumptuous campsite picnic! But during the night, the noise and fun should tone down. Don't let them disturb your neighbors. Refer to the third rule, just in case you want additional explanations. 

Rule No. 6
Know Where To Pitch 

At the campsite, there are designated areas where you pitch your tent. These are already pre-arranged sites so that you don't have to wander around and search for a place to set your tent. 

Well, some campsites don't have designated areas for tents. But if the campground does have them, then use them. It is inappropriate that you pitch your shelter wherever you want it. It is uncourteous, and it can potentially damage the environment. 

Besides, it is advantageous on your part if you pitch your tent in those assigned spots. They conserve your energy from the aimless pursuit of finding the perfect place to pitch your tent.

If there's no designated area for your tents, it is free for all. But in doing so, make sure that you are prudent in your choices. For example, we recommend that you don't place your tent near bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, and lakes. Try to veer off from them--at least 200 feet apart. 

Also, don't place your tent in areas at risk of landslides, flash floods, and avalanches. Stay away from those areas. 

Rule No. 7
Being Tidy Gives You An Extra Mile

For some people, camping is an opportunity to get rowdy. Well, that's acceptable if you know what you are doing. 

What's unacceptable is the act of not cleaning up your mess. Just because you are in the outdoors doesn't mean that you are free of basic decency. We know that the campsite can get dusty and dirty. But it is just natural. What's not natural is when you throw rubbish and garbage anywhere. 

Don't be that guy who just leaves his mess after he packs his tents and gear. As outdoor enthusiasts, we believe that what we do in the wild reflects our personality. 

Oh. That's not gaslighting. We are just saying that if you don't pick up your garbage and dispose of it, there's a good chance that you are a messy person yourself.

Respect the nature around you. Abide with the campsite rules when it comes to where you should dispose of your leftovers and used items. If there are no trash bins in the campsite, make sure that you have disposal bags for your dirt. At the same time, be kind to other campers, as well. By leaving your area spot-free, others would enjoy the scenery better. 

Of course, no one is paid to look after your trash. So do this by yourself! And if you need more guidance, just check this post about Leave no Trace.

Rule No. 8
Be Mindful Of The Wildlife

The campsite is actually your temporary shelter while you are in the wild. It is here where you can experience a lot of good things that you can't stumble upon while you are in cities. From the towering trees to the lush forests, down to the pristine rivers, these majestic encounters could leave you stunned. 

However, always remember that the outdoors are just your temporary abode. On the other hand, other creatures see these places as their permanent homes. We should never be obtrusive intruders. We should respect the wildlife around us and keep it the way we found it. 

As humans, we have a history of being pervasive invaders. We tend to destroy what we find. We hope that we stop such habits and, instead, find a balance with the world that we dwell in. 

Always remember that we are not the only inhabitants of this world. One way or another, we share the environment with other beings. Sure. We are at the top of the food chain. But that doesn't mean that we should trample the homes of animals and wildlife

While at the campsite, just observe these beings from afar. A pair of binoculars would be a nice thing to have. While some of these creatures seem tame, let's stop ourselves from feeding them. Otherwise, they would grow dependent on human help, which, in turn, disrupts their survival instincts and ability to hunt food for themselves. 

Rule No. 9
Can You Use Generators?

Well, the answer to this question depends on where you are going to camp. Many national parks don't allow the use of portable generators. Aside from the noise they create, they tend to release emissions--especially if you are using gas-powered units. 

The best thing that you can do here is to ensure that you have checked all the rules at the campsite. If they prohibit the use of these power stations, then just don't bring them. 

Instead, try bringing extra batteries for your essential amenities. Pack some batteries for your flashlights, radios, and other emergency equipment. If you have your phone with you, don't forget to get a power bank. 

The longer the trip will be, the more you need to plan on how to power your equipment. 

In some campsites, portable generators are allowed as long as you use them for specific periods. Most of the time, you will never be allowed to use these generators during the night! 

Rule No. 10
Lend A Hand

Now, you may think that being respectful to other campers means that you should not lend them a hand. Sure, we have told you that you should mind your own business. But what if they ask for you? Will you turn them down? Is that the appropriate response? 

One of the things that we learned throughout the years of experience in the outdoors is that being helpful to other campers has huge returns. It may not be in the form of favors, but their simple thanks and smiles can add to the overall beauty of the adventure. 

If someone doesn't know how to pitch their tents, lend them a hand. If someone left their stove fuel, lend them yours--if you have an extra. 

But of course, there's a limit as to what you should offer. Always establish your private space. If the request is too much, respectfully turn them down. 

This one is an unpopular opinion, but try to analyze the people you interact with. You will never know if someone is a threat or not until they become one. If the person is a little bit sketchy, try to be defensive and report that person to the local authorities. 

Final Thoughts 

As we go out to explore the wild, make sure that we prepare ourselves, as well. If you are a first-time camper, ensure that your things are prepared and ready to go. The essentials should function properly. 

At the same time, don't forget to follow the camping etiquettes we listed above. They are the guidelines that will elevate your overall camping experience. Be mindful of your surroundings and the people around you. Doing these things will make you a better camper than you used to be! By the way, if you are into hiking, there are also sets of hiking etiquette that you need to abide!

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