Camping Etiquette 101

By Rick McCharles

photo by Rick McCharles

There is more to camping than simply packing up some gear and building a fire in the country. Most campgrounds have both written and non-written rules and regulations that make camping more fun for everyone. Make sure you follow these basic camping rules next time you head into the wilderness!

Obey ground rules

This is the first rule of camping etiquette. If your established campground has official rules, make sure you follow them. Many sites have rules about quiet hours, trash and waste disposal, permitted activities, pet control, and more. Always follow these rules above all.

Think like a Boy Scout

One of the goals of the Boy Scouts is to leave an area cleaner than how they found it. This should be your camping policy as well. Try to improve every campsite you visit by cleaning up trash and leaving wood for the next visitors.

 Protect the water

A campground water source is important. Never dump any chemicals or waste products into the water, and if you use the water for bathing or cleaning, only use bio-degradable cleaners to keep water and wildlife healthy.

 Dispose of trash properly

Nothing is uglier than bits of trash strewn all over a campsite. Secure all trash carefully away from pets, wild animals, and wind. Take all non bio-degradable trash with you, or dispose of it into designated receptacles. Bury all other trash several inches below the ground, unless otherwise specified by campground rules.

 Keep fires safe

Fire can spread faster than many people realize, especially during dry weather. It is extremely important to follow fire safety rules to avoid creating wildfires. Always fence in your fire with rocks. Remove all grass and other flammable materials within a 12 to 24-inch diameter around the perimeter of the fire. Never leave a fire unattended, even at night. Ensure the fire is extinguished when you leave by dousing it with water and spreading the coals.

 Respect the environment

Leave as little impact on the campsite as possible when you camp. Try not to disturb nature or the surrounding wildlife. Leave plants and animals alone, and if you bring your own pet, keep it on a leash to protect the surrounding wildlife.

If you follow these basic camping rules, you will show respect for the campsite, environment, and yourself. Camping is an enjoyable activity for many, and following the rules makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved.

What are your favorite camping etiquette tips?

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Brenda Priddy

Brenda loves everything to do with camping- except the pesky bug part. One day, she hopes to build a cabin in the middle of nowhere with her own two hands. Brenda blogs at Daily Mayo and Schooling a Monkey.
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