A good camping neighbor follows campground rules, but that’s not all! Don’t be THAT camper that breaks these unwritten rules…
When it comes to camping, there are a set of rules that are posted and enforced by the park or campground. However, there are also a set of unwritten rules that good camping neighbors follow to ensure everyone has a positive experience.
Breaking these rules can make you “THAT” camper no one wants to camp next to. Here are 15 unwritten rules of a good camping neighbor to follow on your next camping trip.
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Rule #1: Don’t Setup Camp Too Late
Arriving late to the campground can make setting up camp difficult, but it’s important to do so quietly and quickly without disturbing your neighbors. If it’s too dark or too late, it’s better to wait until the next day to set up camp.
(BTW, here’s an RV Setup Checklist: 15 Tips on How to Setup Your RV)
Rule #2: Don’t Teardown Camp Noisily If Leaving Early
If you’re leaving the campground early, make sure to teardown camp as quietly as possible. No one wants to be woken up by the sound of camping chairs slamming shut or couples arguing over duties.
(We have an RV Breakdown Checklist, too.)
Rule #3: Don’t Encroach on Your Neighbor’s Campsite
Respect your neighbor’s personal space by keeping your belongings and camping activities within the boundaries of your own campsite.
During setup, make sure you do not park on their campsite or leave your hoses or cords strewn on their side. Also, make sure your awning does not extend over their space.
Rule #4: Keep Initial Greetings Short
It's common to exchange greetings with your camping neighbors, but make sure to keep it short and sweet. Let them set up camp before engaging in conversation, as they may be tired or have important tasks to complete.
It’s nice to offer help during setup, but don’t be pushy. Some campers appreciate the help, while others like to do it their own way. A quick, “Hi neighbor, I’m ____. Let me know if you need my help with anything, ad I’d be glad to.”
Rule #5: Respect Your Neighbor’s Privacy (Not Everyone is Social)
Not everyone wants to make new friends on their camping trip. Respect your neighbor’s privacy by avoiding unsolicited conversations or visits unless they’re open to it.
That’s another reason you should keep initial greetings short. Use it as a gauge to determine how social they are, and don’t mistake their politeness for a desire to make friends. Let them initiate the next conversation if they so desire.
If you want to make new friends, we recommend reading How to Make Friends While Camping (14 Icebreakers). If you like your privacy, then you may want to check out 5 RV Privacy Products to Make Your Campsite More Private.
Rule #6: Respect Quiet Hours (Even If You’re Having a Great Time)
Quiet hours are there for a reason – to allow everyone to get some rest and relaxation. Keep your noise level to a minimum during these hours, even if you’re having a great time.
If you disrespect quiet hours, you’ll usually encounter two problems. The first is a too-polite or too-shy neighbor that suffers in silence in their RV. The second is a disrguntled RVer that’ll give you a rue reminder.
Of course, there are always those who politely remind you of quiet hours, but they really shouldn’t have to ask at all.
Mike and Jennifer's Summer T-Shirts for your next adventure
Rule #7: Don’t Play Music or Watch TV for All to Hear
While music and tv are enjoyable, it’s important to keep it at a reasonable volume and limit it to your own campsite, even outside of quiet hours. Not everyone shares your taste in music and tv shows, and they may not want to listen to it.
The most polite thing to do is listen with headphones or earbuds. After all, many people are trying to get away from the noise and enjoy the quiet of nature.
If you do play music or watch TV outside, the courteous thing to do is to tell your neighbor to let you know if the music disturbs them at any point. That opens the door for friendly requests to lower the volume without tension building to the point they ‘can’t take it anymore.’
Rule #8: Don't Forget that RV Walls are Thin!
If you're camping in an RV, remember that the walls are thin and sound travels easily through them. Keep your voices down, and avoid loud music or television after quiet hours.
This is especially true if your neighbors are tent-camping. That means you only have one thin RV wall and tent fabric between you.
The same goes for amorous activities. Assume your neighbors don’t want to know about your success in the bedroom, even if you proudly display an upside-down pineapple.
Rule #9: Don’t Let Your Dog Bark Incessantly
Dogs can be great companions on a camping trip, but they can also be a nuisance if they’re barking incessantly. Keep your dog under control and try to limit barking.
That’s really only one unwritten rule of being a good camping neighbor with a dog. We recommend you also read 7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog.
Rule #10: Don't Place Dog Poop Bags on the Picnic Table
A WRITTEN rule is to always clean up after your dog. But don’t place dog poop bags on the picnic table! Even if you clean it after, we’re sure the campers after you would much prefer you didn’t in the first place.
The same goes for dirty shoes. Try to avoid placing these items on any shared surfaces, including picnic tables.
Rule #11: Lock Up Your Food Correctly (Especially in Bear Country)
It’s important to lock up your food correctly and clean any food debris every day, especially before you go to bed. You don’t want to attract unwanted critters or, worse, a bear.
It’s not fair to your neighbors for them to clean and food-proof their campsite properly, only for you not to. Raccoons and other vermin won’t keep their mess contained to your campsite. And bears, of course, could endanger all your camping neighbors.
Rule #12: Don’t Let Your Kids Run Through Others’ Campsites
This is one of RVers' biggest pet peeves! Don’t let your kids (or pets) run through others’ campsites. That is the personal space they paid for, and it’s considered rude to enter it uninvited.
Rule #13: Turn Off Outdoor Lights at Bedtime
Don’t forget to turn out your outdoor lights at bedtime! This is especially important if your neighbors are tent-camping. Even a relatively dim porchlight can keep them awake.
Not to mention that outdoor lights obscure the night sky. Stargazing is one of the highlights of camping, and you don’t want to take that enjoyment from others.
Speaking of which, check out this Stargazing for Campers Kit (10 Must-Have Items).
Rule #14: Be Forgiving
Camping can be stressful, and sometimes people make mistakes. Try to be forgiving and understanding of your neighbor’s mistakes or misunderstandings.
Give them the benefit of the doubt, especially since there are a lot more newbie campers than ever before. They really might not realize they’re doing something wrong. Be patient and offer friendly advice if needed.
If that doesn’t work…
Rule #15: Know How to Deal with a Bad Camping Neighbor
It’s happened to all of us. You get all settled into a campsite only to realize your camping neighbor is less than ideal. Or just downright terrible. (Which is why we’ve written another complete article on it.)
Your first thought is they’re going to ruin your enjoyment and spoil your fun. Their music is too loud. Their campsite is too messy. Their dog is chained when not pooping on your campsite.
Do you just have to suck it up and take it? Well, there is a chance that yes, you might have to put up with some of it. However! There are some things you can do to improve the situation…
10 Unwritten Rules of Camping (In General)
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We made this video a few years back, and it's been a helpful resource for RVers. There is some overlap with the unwritten rules we listed above for being a good camping neighbor, but we cover other important rules, too. It's worth the watch if you haven't seen it already!
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