Camping and RV living brings a great sense of freedom and peace of mind. However, for some people, “freedom” seems to mean freedom from personal responsibility.
While you are boondocking in the great outdoors, you need to keep a few things in mind; not only for the benefit of the environment but also out of respect for your fellow campers.
Let’s look at nine common no-nos you should avoid when you’re out camping.
Don’t Build Fire Rings in the Middle of the Campsite
You might camp in a van or tent, but when you build a fire ring in the middle of the campsite, larger RVs can’t pull in later, without tearing it down. The area of a campsite where a car, truck or RV will need to pull in, should always be kept clear of fire rings. Also, the forest service doesn’t want campers to build new fire rings. So instead of building one that will block vehicles from pulling in after you leave, simply rebuild the one that is already there.
It’s Not Safe to Start a Campfire in the Wind
While many campers love to look forward to sitting around a good campfire, don’t start one if its windy. Also, be aware of fire restrictions, especially during the dry, summer months. Finally, be prepared to put your fire out; draining off some gray water will save your freshwater for drinking.
Cans and Bottles Don’t Burn
This should be obvious to anyone, yet, a few out there continually leave scorched cans and bottles in firepits. It’s OK to burn paper garbage in a campfire, but it is not OK to leave cans, bottles, and other trash behind. Pack it in, pack it out.
Don’t Leave Food Scraps or Cigarette Butts
Many campers assume that eggshells, peanut shells, and orange peels will “biodegrade.” They don’t. Not for a long time. And the critters don’t want to eat them either. Also, cigarette butts don’t biodegrade; different sources say that cigarette filters take 18 months to as long as 10 years to degrade. If you throw your cigarette butts into the campfire, make sure they burn. And remember, the coyotes, chipmunks, and crows don’t want to eat your old eggshells or orange peels.
Don’t Let Your Dogs Run Wild
If you have neighbors close by, keep your pets on a leash. While your dog may be friendly, the other dog may not be. You don’t want your dog to be responsible for starting a fight; even if your dog is friendly, if it goes up to a leashed dog that isn’t, your dog is responsible for the ensuing fight.
Everyone loves to see their dog happy and running free, but only let them off-leash if there are no neighbors close by. It’s very awkward if you have to chase your dog around someone else’s campsite.
Don’t Cut Across Another Campsite
It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it may to a neighboring camper. Also, it’s not funny to stand in front of another camper’s motorhome, chuckling at their dog going crazy at the window. It may be “public land,” but respect other campers the same way you would if their campsite was their front yard.
Keep the Music Down
Once again, if you have other campers nearby, be respectful, and keep the music down. While you’re celebrating being free from the office, other campers want to enjoy the peace of nature.
Parking Lots Are Not Campgrounds
While most RVers leave a Walmart parking lot after a day, others don’t. Moreover, casino parking lots are often taken advantage of; while many casinos welcome RVers, they still need to be aware it is not a campground.
It’s not OK to let your dog run off leash in a casino parking lot, even if it is a friendly dog. Also, running a generator in any parking lot is not cool, especially if you are near homes. Never abuse a privilege and don’t overstay your welcome.
Not Everyone Likes Your Noisy Generator
Running a cheap, noisy generator all day and night is a good way to make your camping neighbors hate you. If you can’t live without watching TV or playing video games all night, maybe the RV lifestyle isn’t really for you.
Rethink Your Outdoor Lights
Many campers love seeing the stars at night, but your spotlight can destroy that experience. Is it really necessary to leave a bright, white outside light on all night?
Also, you may think your flashing, multi-colored string lights are the coolest thing ever, but please turn them off when you go to bed. You may not realize it, but your lights could be disturbing a neighbor’s sleep.