We’ve all been there: having to deal with the dreaded bad camper.
The sun sets over the campground, and you and your family settle in for a relaxing evening. The kids are asleep in the camper, and you and your spouse are sitting around a crackling fire under the moon.
Suddenly, the blare of rock music cracks out at a campsite just down the road, and the shouts and screams of partiers echoes through the trees. It looks like it will be a long night – there’s no sign of the party letting up anytime soon.
There’s things every RVer can do to avoid being “that” camper, and most are as easy as following the golden rule. Here are six rules that all good campsite neighbors follow – and you can too.
This one’s easy: clean up after yourself. If you have a buffet with hot dogs, hamburgers and all the fixins, make sure all your food waste ends up in the proper receptacle before the night’s over. Same goes with cans, bottles, pop containers, candy wrappers or anything else you wouldn’t like on the floor of your house.
Cleanliness is an obvious reason for this, as is being kind to the campground owners, since they would have to clean up for you. But a less-obvious reason is animals: by leaving food in easy reach of bears, raccoons and squirrels, you’re opening a door for critters to bother you and your campsite neighbors in the middle of the night and come back for more in the following days.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR PETS
RVing isn’t just a treat for humans. Man’s best friend loves to tag along too!
While it’s fine to go on a hike or to play fetch with Fido at the campground, giving him free reign of the area isn’t a good idea. Imagine being around a dimly-lit campground late at night, only to see a dog arise from the shadows – and it’s walking toward you. Even if your pup wouldn’t hurt a flea, your neighbors don’t know that, and it’s not polite to give them a fright.
And, when nature calls, remember to clean up after your dog. Many campsites come equipped with litter bags, but always have a few along for emergencies.
STAY ON YOUR SITE
RVers can be a social bunch, but it’s not the reason that everyone goes camping. Some people go to campgrounds to relax, not to party.
When night falls, it’s polite to stay on your campsite. Even if you’re just walking from your campsite to an office building or bathroom, don’t cut across other campers’ lots.
PRACTICE SAFE CAMPFIRE TECHNIQUES
If you’re calling it a night, don’t forget to put out the fire. It might just fizzle out, but safe campers won’t take that risk, and neither should you. You’re putting your RV, your neighbors’ property and the surrounding environment at risk if you don’t.
To safely put out a campfire, drown the fire in water, then, with a stick, mix the ashes and embers with the dirt underneath. Make sure to feel that everything is cool to the touch.
FOLLOW CAMPGROUND RULES
Some campgrounds have quiet hours, but some don’t. Some have a limit on the number of people you can have in your campsite, but some don’t. Some don’t take kindly to RVers, but some do. There’s an impossible amount of variables.
If you’re camping at a new RV park or campground, know the rules of the campground before you go. Not only does this keep you within the rules, it keeps the park’s owners from having to have an awkward conversation with you late at night.
BLEND IN WITH YOUR ENVIRONMENT
The number one rule to being a polite campground neighbor: blend in with what others are doing.
If the neighbors around you have little kids who go to bed early, be quiet after they turn in for the night. And, if that’s a problem for you, move away from their campsite.
If everyone around you is partying until well after the sun goes down, set out some lawn chairs and join in the fun. Or if that’s problematic, it might be a good idea to move. If all else fails, ask them politely to keep the noise down.
RVing at busy campgrounds can be equal parts fun and diplomacy. But seasoned RVers know that the golden rule applies first: just be nice.
Photo courtesy grand_canyon_nps