How to Avoid Being "That Guy"
With the escalation in people seeking to get outdoors, campgrounds are filling up more than ever before. With this increase, it’s important that we, as campers, understand some basic rules of courtesy to make camping an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Don’t Leave Your Sewer Lines Open
Staying in your RV means, inevitably, having to empty your tanks at some point. It’s not one of those chores that anyone enjoys doing. Some campers might feel tempted to leave lines to their sewer open, so they don’t have to go outside to empty them.
The problem with doing this is that sewers have gasses. And if a camper keeps these lines open, everyone around them has to breathe that in, instead of enjoying the ambience of the campground.
Having a campground neighbor who leaves their tanks open can ruin the experience for everyone else (trust me, I've been there). It's hard to enjoy the beautiful weather and outdoor fire because of the constant smell of someone’s excrement wafting past.
Observe Quiet Hours
Most campgrounds I’ve visited establish their “quiet hours” between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. As the name suggests, park staff and guests expect the campground to remain quiet during this time. There’s more to this rule than just turning off your outdoor music by ten o’clock.
If you’ve ever spent a night in an RV, then you’re aware of the thin walls that separate you from the outside. It can feel like every sound creeps in to your rig as though there’s nothing blocking it at all.
Every loud sound a guest makes will travel to other people at the campground. This includes revving engines, slamming doors, and boisterous conversations. Because different people are on different sleep and travel schedules, it’s important to observe the designated quiet hours.
This also means campers should try their best to arrive at a campground before dark. For your convenience, and to be courteous toward other guests, it’s better to arrive during daylight hours to avoid making a lot of noise at night.
I’m always amazed by the number of signs posted at a campground asking people to do things that, to most of us, are common courtesy. Based on the number of signs, I’m guessing that some things are not as common as I thought.
These signs ask people to: clean up after themselves in the laundry room, to remove their laundry from the machines as soon as they’re done so others can use them, clean up garbage from their campsite, clean off gym equipment after use, and put away items borrowed from the clubhouse.
One disgusting issue I’ve seen at campsites is people leaving their cigarette butts all over the ground. If we treat the campgrounds, and each other, with respect, then we create a better experience for everyone.
Clean up After Pets
This goes along the same lines as being respectful. Leaving your dog’s waste laying about at the campground is trashy. No one is going to come up behind you and pick up after your dog. Other dog owners (and regular walkers) don’t want to step in your dog’s excrement while trying to enjoy a stroll at the campground.
Pet owners need to dispose of their pet waste in designated bins. If you are at a remote, backcountry campsite, pack the waste out with you (or bury it if that’s in line with local regulations).
Don’t Walk Through Other People’s Sites
This rule might not feel as obvious as the other ones, but it’s important to know. While we’re at a campground, whether it’s in a tent or an RV, we’ve booked a small patch of land for our stay.
As campers, none of us want strangers cutting through our site or loitering around our stuff. When we first started camping, I had to remind my kids not to step into other people’s sites. It’s also important not to use occupied sites as a cut-through in order to get back to your own site more quickly. Respect other people’s sites and set an example for them to respect yours.
Though this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to remember at the campground, a general rule is to treat the area, and others, the way you’d like to be treated. If you don’t want to hear other people’s music, they probably don’t want to hear you blaring yours either. If you don’t want to wait for someone to pick up their laundry long after it’s done, they probably don’t want to wait for you to do the same.
When we remember to be courteous to one another, it allows all of us to have a better camping experience. And who wouldn’t want that?
Have you had a negative experience with disrespectful neighbors at a campground? Do you have tips for fellow campers that I didn’t mention here? Please, leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!