I’ve been thinking for a while now that I should mix things up a bit on here. While I never tire of talking about my adventures, I’m sure you all tire of reading about them at times. And over the years, I’ve gained more than just photos from my outdoor experiences. I’ve gained knowledge.
So I’ve decided to start a “How To” series of posts and intersperse them amongst my regular writings. Each will focus on a specific outdoors-related topic.
I started to write up a whole thing about avoiding bear encounters, but in light of my recent weekend camping experience I’ve decided to save that one for a later date.
Pat and I just got back from enjoying our 3-day weekend, and though by no means a horrible camping experience, the people camped next to us were idiots and it got me thinking about some of the other annoying idiots I’ve encountered at campgrounds in recent years. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing or just the sign of changing times, but I went camping all throughout my childhood and I really don’t remember people being so inconsiderate.
So for my first “How To” post, I’ve put together a list of things that should be common sense – but apparently aren’t – and that will make everyone’s camping experiences more enjoyable.
This one should go without saying, but quiet hours exist for a reason and the polite thing to do is follow them. Not everyone wants to stay awake until midnight.
Mostly, we encounter people playing music or talking loudly, but one time we were camped near a guy with a megaphone. Yes. A megaphone. We also once had neighbors who were idling their diesel truck so they could play loud music, and running their generator until 1 in the morning. Worst camping neighbors I’ve ever had.
You’d think this one would go without saying as well, but the disgusting messes I see in campground bathrooms suggest otherwise. Wads of hair in the sink, paper towels on the floor, water all over everything. It’s really not that difficult to take the extra few seconds to wipe up before you leave.
Same thing with garbage and recycling. It’s not that hard to properly dispose of things.
I think the worst problem I’ve ever had with this was a couple years back when I was camped in Canada with my mom and people kept walking right through the middle of our campsite. As in, between our picnic table, car, and tent. A couple people even tripped over our guy lines. I understand that sometimes it can be difficult to get to the bathroom or water spigots, but when someone pays for a site, that’s technically their space for the day. It only takes a few extra steps to walk around.
Along these lines, keeping your dog, frisbee, football, and any other moving object in your own site is also most appreciated. I’ve definitely had frisbees come flying at my head. And one time when I was a kid, someone’s dog peed on our tent.
This one makes the list thanks to this last weekend, in which our neighbors were being completely irresponsible. I actually ended up calling to report them for fear they’d light something on fire. They were periodically leaving their fire unattended, which truthfully was the least of their problems. At one point, they lit a giant stick on fire and proceeded to walk around holding it like a torch.
In a forest full of flammable things.
But what really pushed me over the edge was them pouring shots of alcohol onto the fire, creating extremely large flames. Again, in a forest full of flammable things. This is how forest fires start.
Please, keep your fire under control, don’t leave it unattended, and make sure it’s all the way out before you leave. I’ve seen far too much of Montana burn thanks to one person being careless with fire.
Respect for Nature
We all camp for various reasons, but I imagine that for most people at least one of those reasons is to be out in nature. For me it certainly is. Which is why I’m always disappointed to see people damaging things in a campground. Whether it’s scratching initials into trees, throwing machetes at trees (also courtesy of our neighbors this last weekend), stomping all over plants, or collecting things (which is illegal in state and national parks), these types of behaviors diminish the camping experience for others.
I don’t think most people go out into nature to see smashed plants or people’s names carved into trees and rocks.
This list is by no means all-inclusive, and I’m sure I could think of more things to add to it. But really, the important point here is that a little bit of consideration and respect for nature and for others can really enhance the camping experience for us all.
So please…don’t be that one person in the campground who everyone else hates.
Have some horrible camping neighbor stories? I’d love to hear them!