Campground Etiquette

graphic of a camp site

Since most of us usually spend the majority of our camping time in close proximity to other campers, you need to be familiar with some basic campground courtesies.

No Loud Radios, TVs, or Boom Boxes. First, be courteous to your neighbors by not having your radio, TV or boombox blasting so loudly that it can be heard at the next camp site. With so many camp sites crammed close together, sometimes it is not possible to listen to your radio or TV outside your coach without disturbing the neighbors. And the same goes for listening inside your coach—you may have to turn down the volume and close your RV windows to keep from disturbing the neighbors.

Each of us has likes and dislikes when it comes to the type of music that we prefer, and nothing is more annoying than having to listen to someone else’s music that we don’t enjoy. Be courteous and keep the noise down.

The same advice goes for loud partying—either include your close neighbors or keep the noise down.

Respect and Observe Quiet Hours. Most campgrounds have “quiet hours” from 10 PM to usually 8AM. Please respect the quiet hours for those who wish some peace and quiet—and some undisturbed sleep. This time period is also the defacto standard for RVers camped in close proximity wherever they may be camped (like at Quartzsite).

Quiet hours are especially important in those campgrounds where you must use your generator to have electric power. If you insist on watching the 11 o’clock news, use your inverter, but not your generator! The same advice applies in the morning. If you must have your 6 AM cup of coffee, heat some water on the stove, but don’t fire up your generator so that you can use your microwave. Because generators are so noisy and spew exhaust fumes, think ahead during meal planning, and always try to minimize generator use when you are near other campers.

Pick Up After Your Pets. RVers practicing good campground etiquette always pick up after their dogs—always. Yes, I know that many people don’t like the thought of picking up after their pets (and, sadly, far too many RVers leave their dog’s contribution behind for others to see, smell, or sometimes step in).

TIP: graphic of a light bulb One way to make this little chore less messy is to use a plastic bag. First, put the bag over your hand just like a glove. Then reach down and pick up the doggy poop with the bag acting like a glove. (For small dogs, a sandwich bag works perfectly.) Take your other hand and turn the bag inside-out and tie a knot at the top. Presto, your hands are still clean, the doggy poop is safely ensconced in the bag, and the knot keeps the potent smell from irritating your nose. Simply drop the baggie in a dumpster and you are free of the mess.

While your pets are outside the motorhome soaking up the sun, be sure that they are always on a leash or a chain. Never leave them outside unattended, and never let them run loose. If you must leave your motorhome, put the dogs back inside until you return.

Never Dump Gray Tank Contents on the Ground. Unfortunately, one of the biggest deficiencies in motorhomes, 5ers, and especially travel trailers, is that the Gray and Black tanks are far too small for extended camping excursions. Some campers might be tempted to extend their tank capacity by dumping their Gray water tank contents on the ground. If you are in a designated campground of any sort, such a practice is usually not allowed. Even though the contents are usually just dish water and bath water, Gray water tanks can be smelly and be growing all sorts of microorganisms. And, never, never even think of dumping your Black tank contents into anything but an approved sewer or septic system!

Early Departures. If you are one of those early risers and early-to-depart travelers, please pay attention. Most RV folks are retired, and having to get up, or even awakened, before the crack of 0900 seems like the middle of the night. But, of course, not all RV travelers have the same internal time clock. Many folks like to get up with the sun, or shortly thereafter, and hit the road while the traffic is still fairly light.

For those of you who are early risers, be cognizant and considerate of your neighbors. Pack your stuff away in your compartments the night before, so you only have to put your utilities away—and you don't need a bunch of loud talking, shouting, or slamming of compartment doors.

For the increasing number of folks who have diesel pushers, here is another bit of campground etiquette. Yes, diesels need to be warmed up a bit before they have much torque, but just let your engine idle (it is certainly loud enough already). Don't be the inconsiderate RVer who insists on constantly gunning and reving the engine (in the hopes that the air bags might inflate a wee bit faster, or that the engine temperature might come up faster. Reving your diesel in the early hours is a quick way to infuriate your neighbors and label you as an inconsiderate RVer.

Recently, we were parked next to a lovely diesel pusher in southern Caloifornia. Around 0715, we heard his engine start, but it only idled for a short time (maybe only three minutes or so)before the rig seemingly idled out of its parking spot. The engine continued to idle, fairly quietly, while the RVer hooked up his toad out on the park road (away from the campsites). When the toad was secure, the RV slowly and quietly left the park. That wise RVer made an excellent lesson on how to be a considerate early traveler.

Don't Block Exit Road! Please, don't be that inconsiderate RVer who insists on hooking up his toad, checking the lights, and doing other last minute checks, while blocking the exit road from the RV park. Early in the morning, sometimes you can get away with this tactic, but, please, don't try it after about 0900 in the morning when most of the campers are getting ready to leave!

Yes, there are many RV parks where there is no space to get off the road to hook up your toad. Many times the best solution is to drive out of the park, separately, and drive down the road until you find an acceptable place to pull over and hook up.

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