Camping is great fun, we know it is and you know it is, and in 2020 we’ve seen a HUGE increase in the number of families, single people, couples, and friendship groups who have taken up the hobby, but we’ve also seen the complaints about a lack of camping etiquette from new campers (and some seasoned campers too).
What is camping etiquette exactly? In general good camping etiquette is behaving properly, in a polite, friendly, and considerate manner, on a campsite so that you and everyone around you enjoy their trip.
Whether you’re there for a night in your one-man lightweight hiking tent, or if you’ve pitched up for the week in your 6 bedroom enormous air tent with the inflatable sofa and SkyTV, camping is an inclusive activity and everyone deserves to have a good time.
Not Just for Newbies
It’s true, camping etiquette isn’t just for new campers, and it’s something that every camper has to wrestle with. Camping is, by definition, a loosely monitored activity. There aren’t generally many ‘rules’ and regulations, and, although most sites have a set of expectations, actual enforcement of rules is generally left up to campers themselves -as we believe it should be.
Every campsite will approach their rules and guidelines differently, but most will generally ask you to be quiet during certain hours and to keep disturbances to a minimum. There may be a few rules around tent pitching and campfires, but most campsites try to keep your experience as rule-free as possible.
Just because there aren’t many official rules, it doesn’t mean you can and should run completely wild; and that’s where having good camping etiquette comes into play. In the uncertain times of the ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in, this adherence to a common set of campsite etiquette guidelines will ensure that everyone has a good time, and a safe time too.
Camping Etiquette For Everyone
So here is our list of camping etiquette, if you’ve got any extras you’d like to add we’d love to hear about them. Why not drop us a message on our Facebook page?
You Camp Your Way, I Camp My Way
This etiquette rule is quite broad, but in general it means that what you like might not be what someone else likes, and just because someone else likes it it doesn’t mean you have to.
You may think that camping should be as luxurious as a hotel stay. A huge10 bedroom tent, heater, inflatable furniture, lights all over the place, full wifi, an oven and even TV or the games console, and that’s fine.
Someone else may see their idea of camping as back to basics tarp over grass, foraging for dinner and making fire with a bow drill, and that’s fine too.
The main thing is, no-one’s idea of camping is any better than anyone else’s and your idea of ‘right’ is no better than someone else’s idea of ‘right’. Respect everyone’s individual choice and you may even get a few tips on how to improve your camp set up!
Please Respect Quiet Times
This one is really important. Most campsites will have their own set quiet times when noise must be kept to a minimum, but some don’t explicitly say.
Always follow the site’s own rules, but if they don’t say specifically then it’s usually safe to assume that quiet time is between 10pm and 10am inclusive.
What is quiet time? Quiet time is the time of the day when noise should be kept to a minimum. This means no loud music (we’ll cover that later anyway), no shouting, screaming, singing, and trying to keep car movement to a minimum.
Quiet time also means trying to keep the kids quiet too. If they usually get up at 6am, then fine, but if possible, try to keep them quiet until a reasonable hour (usually around 9/10am) as other people will be on their holiday and may not appreciate being woken up by your kids’ making a noise (even if their laughing and singing is adorable) at some ungodly hour!
Quiet time is a difficult thing to discuss when it comes to snoring. Many camping holidays have been ruined by someone else’s very loud snoring, and there really isn’t a lot you can do or say about it.
If you know you are a loud snorer, it might be worth finding out if there’s anything that helps your snoring subside (nose clips, nasal sprays, etc), if there’s nothing you can do about it, try to camp further away from other people if at all possible, your neighbours will thank you for it!
No (or minimal) Amplified Music
In general, camping is an activity that promotes quietness and relaxation. Now relaxation for some may include playing Slipknot or Barry White at full volume and singing along at the top of your lungs, but for most quiet time means no amplified music.
How loud is too loud? That’s really up to your discretion, but if you can hear it more than about 4m away from your tent, or on the other side of the site, then it’s safe to assume it’s probably too loud.
This also goes for watching movies in your camp at night. It might be a lovely plan for you to get the projector out and share your film with the world, but many people camp for the peace and quiet. Either keep the movie watching to the very early hours of the evening, before everyone has decided to settle down, or use headphones.
The same goes for music overnight, amplified or not. A quiet singalong might be appreciated by you and your friends, but it might be worth just giving your neighbours a heads up that you plan on doing a campfire rendition of Wonderwall on your guitar tonight!
Remember That Everyone Can Hear You (yes, even when you’re doing that!)
Do you know why you need to wrap up warm when you’re camping? It’s because the walls of your tent are very thin, that also means that people can hear you in your tent too.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Noise travels on a campsite, everything from loud flatulence to burping and snoring, chatter, and of course couples getting a little bit frisky.
Now, I have nothing against a little alfresco loving, but now might be a time to practice your quiet love making, or risk a round of applause after you’ve finished.
Oh, and if you leave the light on in your tent, you will cast a shadow. Just saying…
Respect Other People’s Property
Respecting other people’s property is a bit of a broad piece, but it’s something that everyone can agree on. When we’re camping, it’s a very open activity and there are always people and kids around, it’s really important to keep tabs on our own property and respect others at the same time.
- Don’t cross other people’s pitches, respect their personal space
- Play ball games away from others’ tents and caravans
- Keep pets (and kids) away from other people’s pitches
- Don’t let dogs mess or pee (and don’t let humans pee) on other people’s guy ropes or tents
- Keep bubbles away from tents, they can damage the waterproofing
- Respect the freezer, only take your ice blocks or communal ones, not someone else’s
- Don’t shine torches or car headlights into someone’s pitch or tent
- If someone else has left things in the kitchen area, leave them there
- Help out if you can, offer a mallet, spare pegs, etc
- If there’s a tent in trouble due to the wind and you have spare pegs, peg it down, then leave a note for the owners to let them know.
Leave The Toilets And Showers How You’d Like To Find Them
For anyone whose ever been to university and had shared living spaces, you’ll understand that there’s nothing worse than having a communal toilet where someone has assumed it’s fine to host a party… you’ll know what we mean.
This one comes down to common courtesy, you’re using a shared space so it’s important to keep them clean. That doesn’t necessarily mean leave them in the same way you found them, if you can have a quick tidy up then it’s polite to do so.
This goes also for communal kitchen areas, do your washing up and take it back toyour tent to dry, don’t leave it hanging around the kitchen area so no one else can use the sink.
Gossip Has No Place On The Campsite
It can be argued that gossip has no place anywhere, but campsites are a funny place because everyone wants their own personal private space (just like a house) yet, by it’s very nature, it’s a very public activity!
If the people on pitch number 17 wore socks with sandals or that lady on pitch 3 has had two different ‘friends’ come to visit over the last 3 days, no one really needs to know. If you spot something, keep it to yourself and don’t gossip.
This of couse does NOT mean if you spot something that is dangerous or could be dangerous you shouldn’t raise the alarm. It’s everyone’s responsiblity to look after each other. If someone is digging a fire pit, let the owner know, or someone is acting susciously around other people, or children, it’s worth having a quiet word with the owner.
Please Look After Your Kids (and watch out for others’ kids)
Following on from keeping an eye out but not gossiping, kids get a lot more freedom than they normally would in most cases when they’re camping, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them.
Not your kids? Not your responsibility? No, they’re not, but if the kids are in danger or being a nuscience it might be worth a small word with their parents. Equally, if there are kids around it might be polite to mind your language, voices travel far on a camp site and many parents won’t appreciate their kids being subjected to lots of foul language.
If they are your kids, it’s worth giving them some boundaries: no leaving the campsite, a curfew, don’t pester strangers, etc. Whatever you think is appropriate for your kids, enough boundaries so they are safe, not in danger, and with enough freedom so they enjoy their holiday and being in nature.
Be Friendly With Your Temporary Tent or Caravan Neighbours
Camping is, by it’s nature, a social activity. You’re on an open field with a lot of different families and friend groups you’ve never met before and amy never meet again, and as we’ve discussed above, everything is very open, so why not embrace it and be a bit more sociable?
Now, I don’t mean try to make friends with everyone, but if you see your neighbour struggling to get their tent pegs in and you have a mallet, offer it up. If their hat flies off down the campsite and you can catch it, why not?
It’s good to try enjoy your holiday and enjoy the peace and quiet, if that means feeling good about helping out where you can, then go for it!
Always Assume You’re Going To Have Fun
This last tip is less of a tip about etiquette as it is just a tip for camping in general: Always assume that you’re going ot have fun!
Camping should be a fun activity for friends and families alike, and going with a positive outlook will make things a lot better. Even if you’re camping in the cold or if it’s decided to rain for 9 out of your 10 day trip, stay positive and try to enjoy yourself. The most important thing is that you’re making memories, and memories are something you can’t buy.