Camping is the best. The food is good, the sleeping bags are cozy, the fires are warm, the conversations are memorable. Buuuuuuuuut sometimes a fun outdoor weekend can get ruined by someone else's actions. You can usually salvage the experience and use them for story time at the next camp out, but maybe following these five tips can help you be the best camper you can be, even if the other campers aren't doing their part.
1. Don’t leave your trash. Period.
Leave no trace shouldn’t have to be a thing. But people lack common sense and common decency. If you brought it in, throw it away or take it out. Hey, even if you didn’t bring it in, leave a place better than you found it.
Also make sure you pack up your consumables/trash at night before you turn in. Animals don’t need an extra temptation. Keeping things packed up while not in use keeps wild animals from being drawn to your camp. From bears to raccoons it’s best if everyone stays separated.
2. Don’t be loud past quiet hours. Everyone hates you.
The majority of us came out to sleep outside and enjoy nature. Even if it's one night in a populated campground, that microadventure may be the most convenient way to re-fill our “nature tank”. Don’t ruin the rest of the camp’s enjoyable evening just so you can get rowdy until 3am. And if you still decide to be an idiot, we’ll definitely all be pointing and laughing as you puke your brains out the next morning. Karma.
3. Share the sinks.
If you’re staying in a campground with showers and indoor plumbing, try and be courteous while you do your bedtime routine. We all want to brush our teeth, wash our face, or wash our hands. If you’re using an entire sink to do a face mask, try and share the space.
4. Glamping is fine, don’t be pretentious about being a purist.
People ask me all the time if I’m against “glamping”. Urban Dictionary defines glamping as: “Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words. It's like regular camping , but with nicer things than usual, being warmer, and more comfortable. Glamping isn't done by usual outdoor types who climb mountains.” That’s ridiculous. If you’re car camping, glamp it out. Add the twinkle lights, bring a massive stove to cook on, bring the eggs, bacon, pancakes, muffins, french press, and pots of chili. Minimalist camping vs. car camping shouldn’t be a thing. Each are great in their own way. Do what’s most comfortable and fun for you and don’t be a jerk about it.
5. Follow the rules and be respectful to authority.
Sometimes a park rangers or park attendant are going to enforce rules you disagree with. Big deal. When you reserved the campsite you most likely accepting some terms and conditions when you hit the “confirm” button. So don’t get defensive when you do something small that may violate the rules. Plus, in most situations, a chipper, respectful attitude will get you farther with an authority figure than coming at them in a confrontational manner.
I'll probably think of more of these as the season continues, but these are the ones that popped into my brain after a couple autumn trips this year. Now, get out there and get camping!