5 Ways to Ruin a Camping Trip…for Someone Else

Your actions at the campsite affects everyone in the campground (photo courtesy of pdphoto.org)

Your actions at the campsite affects everyone in the campground (photo courtesy of pdphoto.org)

With the global economies heading into the toilet (how’s that for drama?) a lot of new people will be camping next summer, instead of jetting off to Andalucia or Boca Chica. Unfortunately, this new generation of economically displaced jet setters is not quite up-to-speed on camping etiquette; those largely unwritten rules that seasoned campers have come to expect from their fellow excursionists.

Don’t feed the wildlife

Yes, they’re cute and sometimes cuddly, but feeding even the most innocent of wild animals can have some pretty interesting consequences, not the least of which are visits from not-so-cute animals that are now looking for the cute and cuddly ones in your campsite. Unfortunately, you have no control over whether the previous campers in your site fed the animals, but you can check with the campground officials to see if there have been any recent animal encounters.

Don’t burn the local wood

I think we can all agree that cutting down live trees in order to roast some marshmallows probably isn’t very copasetic, but either is burning downed timber from the local area. There is a whole microcosm living in, under and on fallen logs and downed timber, so don’t toss them on the fire!

Don’t put garbage in the campfire

You probably wouldn’t leave a bag of trash for the next campers to throw away, so don’t leave bottle caps, bottles and cans in the fire pit. Even if it does burn, your neighbors probably don’t want to smell it, not to mention that paper and cardboard send a lot of ashes wafting through the air, only to rain down on other campers like some kind of mini Mount St. Helens.

Don’t cut through other’s campsites

This is just common courtesy but, then again, all of these are and we still see them occur. A lot. An even better practice is to not cut through anywhere at all and stay on the trails and paths, greatly reducing your impact on the surrounding area.

What are some of your pet-peeves about camping etiquette?

See also…

8 thoughts on “5 Ways to Ruin a Camping Trip…for Someone Else

  1. I have a minor issue on burning paper/cardboard product. I often use such for fire starter, I do agree with no plastics or other put in fire. I often bring my own firewood in, how-ever I do know where it came from. and YES here in Oregon, there are laws in many areas of the state that restrict importation of wood because of reason already stated. When staying at local campgrounds and reserving sites. ASK. always worked for me. And it’s alot cheaper then 8-20 bucks for a small bundle of sticks the parks often charge onsite. I use a 4×8 utility trailer for carrying my gear behind my Blazer and I just stack two rows of wood for a 7 day stay and I’m good to go. I also have access to 2 lumber mills also, so accessing local wood isnt often a problem. OH did I mention the trailer. That’s the smartest thing I ever started using. instead of trying to cram things in. vehicle. Just make sure if you build that the rail system on it is well built and trailer matches hitch requirements. At 4×8, most states wont even make you license it even. but I do warn make sure of its construction. pulling ot over gravel roads, especially rough graded ones. will DEF. test every bolt and nut connection (smiles) especially the tail gate area as load shifts WILL OCCUR. But over all it’s great for tent camping and still keeping vehicle interior for people/pets.

  2. I agree that people cutting through is very annoying. We had people cut through our site and the next one over even after we asked them not to. It was inches from our tent and they even had their kids ride through the dirt with their scooters next to the tent. The bathrooms were less than 15 ft farther if they just went around.

  3. Very true, Tim – thanks for pointing that out. I know Dutch Elm disease and the Emerald Ash Borer are big problems in some states, and many have instituted restrictions on bringing firewood into state forests from outside areas.

  4. In response to number 2: Bringing your own firewood in isn’t necessarily copasetic, either. It can contribute to the spread of tree diseases and invasive pests. I would imagine many people aren’t familiar with the source of the firewood they buy, or if they’re coming from an quarantined area, which would make the transportation of firewood illegal in many cases. The best bet is to contact the park or campsite your going to in order to find a local source of wood.


  5. One of my pet peeves is when other campers treat a camping trip like a vacation from caring for their children.

    1. It should not be acceptable behavior to stay asleep in your tent/camper and let your 5 year-old play unattended at the playground, at 5:30 in the morning! (That 5 year-old’s yelling and squeeling inevitably wakes my children at 5:35 AM and requires me to go to the playground and supervise all of them.)

    2. Yes, I did bring enough food for a small army… but that doesn’t mean I should have to feed several other kids at my site for three meals a day. 🙂

    3. I have taught my children to be respectful with all the camping gear that we have. I don’t appreciate it when other kids come to my site and snag my Mayan hammock by climbing in it feet first, turn the dials on my metal detector like they are trying to tune in a radio station, and root through all the drawers and cubbies of my carefully organized chuck box to see what is in them.

    I love kids and my own kids are much more fun when they have other kids to play with… I just wish that the parents of these other kids would supervise their children a little bit more.

  6. Loud music – grrrrr! It’s never anything good, either – lol

    I’m with you John, but all the state beaches here in CA can get pretty crowded. We’re going to hit the beach here in a few weeks, but the kids are out of school for something, so we’re going to try a Monday-Wednesday trip. That should be pretty quiet.

  7. For me it’s loud music and noise in general.

    I tend to stay out of campgrounds and camp in open areas down little dirt roads on national forest or BLM land.

    Great blog!