If you are new to the camping scene there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to be a good neighbor and have an enjoyable time. Camping etiquette isn’t complicated. In fact, many of the things to keep in mind while camping are the same simple things you learned as a kid. Except for the advice on driving, everything you need to know about camping etiquette you learned in Kindergarten. Well, almost everything!
Always Follow Park Rules
One of the fundamentals in RV camping etiquette is to be sure to read, understand, and follow the rules for each park you visit. They will differ from park to park, but they exist for a reason. They help keep the park – and its visitors – safe. They also help prevent damage to amenities allowing everyone to enjoy their stay. This includes pet etiquette.
No matter how trivial you think a rule is, following it shows that you care about the park and the other campers around you. If you have questions, ask a park ranger or other staff member. They are typically easy to reach. And, if there are exceptions to a rule, they will know or have the authority to grant you permission.
Avoid Disrupting Other’s Experiences
A core tenant of RV camping etiquette is not to ruin anyone else’s trip. This doesn’t mean that you can’t interact with other campers; some wonderful friendships have resulted from meeting other campers. However, it’s important to respect privacy when it’s requested or indicated. Everyone operates on different schedules, so don’t go knocking on an RV’s door without a really good reason.
If you’re parked at a RV campground, you likely have access to hookups. Keep this in mind: the noise from generators is likely to irritate everyone around you, so use electrical hookups, not generators. Remember that your RV lights are bright and may even seem brighter the more remote the campground is. Don’t leave outside lights on any longer than you need to. You may be disturbing others around you with them even if you’re still up and about late into the night.
Knowing the terms, the tanks, and the way to the dump station will help keep you in good with your camping neighbors as well. When it comes to dumping grey/black water, always use well-maintained dumping connectors to avoid a mess. No one goes camping to smell their neighbor’s black water spill!
Never Leave Behind Trash or Equipment
It may be a cliché, but it’s a good one: “Take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.”
This goes hand-in-hand with following park rules because respecting the parks is the only way to keep them thriving. If you treat them poorly you will ruin the experience for countless others. Not only is trash unsightly, it can also be dangerous for the park ecosystem – especially the wildlife!
It is your responsibility to clean up and pack up. Anything you brought into the park should leave with you. This includes equipment or byproducts such as fuels, fire accelerants or other chemicals.
It also includes wastewater. Always dump your water in designated areas.
It is an extremely important part of RV camping etiquette to drive carefully in and around parks and campgrounds. You never know what’s around the corner at a campground. Wild animals, children or other vehicles can quickly appear out of nowhere. Take it slow! There’s no reason to speed through the trails, especially if you’re operating your RV.
Choose areas with good lines of sight that minimize your risk of accident or incident when you’re bringing off-road vehicles in your toy hauler. You’ll want to remember that the farther you stray from established campsites and into the wilderness, the more likely you are to encounter difficult terrain. Know your limits and the limits of your vehicle. No one wants to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere!
Fire Is Dangerous – Treat It Appropriately
One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of camping is a campfire. What camping trip would be complete without a campfire? Campfires are the heart of your campsite, a place to cook meals, gather to relax and share stories, even roast marshmallows and make s’mores! All that fun can make it easy to forget that no matter where you camp in a campground, fire can be a hazard. Part of RV camping etiquette is to be sure that you always use existing fire pits and never use accelerants or gasoline in open fires. They can cause campfires to quickly burn out of control. A fire extinguisher should always be part of your gear.
When you light a fire, keep it manageable and safe. Not only is a roaring fire unsafe for you and your campsite, but it can cause uneasiness for neighboring campers who may fear that their campsite is in danger. Remember that a fire isn’t out until it’s completely out and the wood is burned through. Embers can easily reignite, especially if the wind picks up. Never leave a fire unattended, even if that means staying up later. You can ensure that your fire is out by pouring water on it and stirring the embers until they are cool and no threat of fire remains.
So now that you know the basics of RV camping etiquette, you can find a campground, get out there, relax, and have fun!
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