The Golden Rules of Camping Etiquette

More than 40 million Americans go camping each year. If you’re currently planning your next camping getaway (or seven), employ the Golden Rule and take your five-year-old sharing, caring, good-mannered self on your next camping trip.  

Following these camping etiquette guidelines will spare your fellow campers, and the environment you’ve come to enjoy, a whole lot of headaches.

The Golden Rules of Camping Etiquette

Law of the Land

Respect the regulations where you’re camping. Be sure to check posted signage or chat with the ranger or camp host.

DO: Honor the leash law in places where pets are invited and dispose of waste appropriately. DON’T: Burn, baby, burn where a fire ban is in effect. If campfires or stoves are allowed, make sure to equip yourself with any necessary fire permits.


Stake Your Claim

The best campsite is one that is already there. It’s physics, baby. Use what others have done before you and conserve your energy for playing outside. 

DO: Set your tent up in established spaces. It protects the surrounding wild by keeping it…well, wild. DON’T: Set up too close to water. Unless an established campsite places you closer, try to stay 200 feet away from streams, rivers or lakes.

Volume Control

Whether your go-to shower song is “Let It Go” or “Shake It Off,” these catchy tunes are meant for playing on incessant repeat… inside your head.  

DO: Sing in the round ‘round the fire before quiet time. DON’T: Blast your boom box. Sharing campground space is all about keeping the decibels to a minimum and lower volume means better chances for wildlife sightings.

The Golden Rules of Camping Etiquette

Keep it Clean

Camping may involve lots and lots of dirt, but it’s actually all about keeping it clean… at least when it comes to the site. You do what you want with yourself you dirty bird. 

DO: Dispose of trash properly in provided bins. Take it with you where required to pack it out or when there is no more space in the provided bins. DON’T: Wash the dishes from your giant, one-pot-feeds-twenty spaghetti dinner in the bathroom sink. Do your dishes in your camp and dispose of the strained dishwater in provided drains or by scattering it.


Creature Care

Your campsite may be your temporary home, but it is and has been home to many more.

DO: Take lots of pictures of wildlife and quietly observe them from afar. DON’T: Feed the animals; keep your cheese puffs to yourself. Also, leave cultural artifacts intact, leave them where you found them.

When in doubt, use the Leave No Trace guidelines for camping.

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