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RVer’s Rules to Live By: Campground Etiquette

You’ve arrived at the campground or RV park and have been handed a copy of their rules with your site assignment. However, where does that sheet of paper with the campground rules end up? I’m willing to bet they ended up being shoved in the dash of the RV or crumpled up as fire starter. I mean, who really reads those things, right? Later, you get wincing looks from your neighbors and you don’t understand why. It’s probably because you’ve broken one of the campground rules. I’m going to help save you from that by providing a source guide, “RVers Rules to Live by: Campground Etiquette”.

So, let’s get started with learning good campground etiquette…

1. Be Quiet as a Church Mouse

As our mothers used to say when we were kids, “keep it down to a low roar”.

Keep voices and music to a low volume. Be in tune with your kids (4 legged and 2 legged). This goes for them inside too; RV and camper walls are thin.

If you leave Fido alone in your RV, make certain he isn’t going to bark his poor little head off because he misses you.  Close the shades, turn on the tv to distract outdoor sounds, provide a full dish of water and vittles and make him comfortable.

Just because they are called “slam latches” doesn’t mean you should slam them.  Close your doors as quietly as possible.

Lastly, please use good etiquette by not using your vehicle key fob button to lock your vehicle. Also, when your key fob is in your pocket, be mindful to not accidentally activating your car alarm button.

2. Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines… but Quietly

If you have motorized toys such as RZR’s, motorcycles, ATV’s, etc., please idle engines only for a minute or two to warm them up. Not only is the sound nauseating, but so are those exhaust fumes. Good etiquette dictates not to idle or rev them during quiet hours.  If your toys need to idle longer, consider it good etiquette by taking them down to the end of the campground entrance.

3. Arrivals and Departures

This coincides with the noise posts above. Our own rule is that we check-out no earlier 9:00 am and check-in no later 4:00 pm.  Not only is this to satisfy our own travel plans, but it’s also just good etiquette and respect.

Allowing your RV or vehicle engines to run more than a few minutes will score no points or beverage offering from your neighbors. If you arrive or depart during quiet hours (typically 10:00 pm-8:00 am), try to do it quickly. You’ll also have happier neighbors, if you wait to set up until the morning after or pack up the day before.

Also, RV parks and campgrounds have arrival and departure times for a reason. Don’t make incoming RVers or campers who have reservations wait for their site (the one you were supposed to be checked out of two hours ago). Rules usually dictate not to arrive before check-in time, unless you’ve made prior arrangements with the campground staff anyway.

4. Scoop the Poop

This is probably “the” most grating complaint, not only from campground owners, but other RVers as well.  When taking Fifi for her dutiful walk, always bring your poop bags with you. It is unsanitary and messy if you just leave it, and just plain bad etiquette.  Don’t walk away from it thinking others won’t notice. Try to use specified pet areas, but if your pet can’t wait, scoop the poop!

(Tip: Buy a poop bag dispenser that attaches to the leash so you’ll always have bags with you.)

5. Leash the Hounds

Speaking of pooping dogs on leashes, did you know that in most states, its unlawful to have your dogs unleashed outside? Campgrounds and RV Parks adhere to that rule not only for you and your own pet’s safety, but also for their own liability. Even if you’ve trained your dog on voice command, you still need to leash your dog.  Cat owners need to follow leash laws and etiquette also.

Never leave pets unattended outside.  It’s unsafe for them.

Be respectful when you use retractable leashes by keeping their reigns short. Appreciate the fact that not everyone will like your dog or cat. Be a responsible pet owner by having good pet etiquette.

6. Strap Your Crap

Stow and secure your outdoor gear; especially if you leave for the day or before turning in for the night. Unexpected storms can pop up turning your campsite into a windstorm’s dream. Camp chairs, canopies, toys and outdoor gear can become projectiles that can damage property or injure people.

On a similar note, no one wants to park next to the site that looks like a bad yard sale.  Keep your site picked up and tidy.

7. No Trespassing

RVers get quite possessive of their campsite space. When campers pay their site fees, it’s “theirs” for the duration. Site cutting is invasive, intrusive and disruptive to nappers, pet owners, meal times, quiet campfires, etc.  A site is from utility box to utility box.  Don’t be that lazy guy.  Use footpaths or roads to traverse around the campground or park.

Avoid parking vehicles that protrude into the roadway, making it difficult for others to navigate or park. Keep in mind that emergency vehicles require necessary passage. Do not park your vehicles in another’s site or box other vehicles in.

8. No Speeding

Speed limit is just that…”limit” meaning don’t go “over” the posted number. Campgrounds are busy with campers walking their dogs, children chasing balls, bike riders, or RV’s pulling in or out of their site. Please…just slow down.

9. Dim All the Lights, Sweet Darlin’

Keep in mind that campers enjoy relaxing at campgrounds because it gets them away from the hustle-bustle and bright city lights.  Some enjoy stargazing while others simply want to enjoy the glow of campfires.  It’s a campground, not a carnival.

Nobody appreciates lights beaming through their shades after hours. It’s okay to leave a small porch light on after hours in case you need to let Fido out or grab a smoke. However, secure your Las Vegas light show and outdoor lights after hours (typically 10:00 pm).

Turn your high beams off on your vehicles when driving through the campgrounds. No one appreciates being blinded while on their evening walks or having lights blasted through RV windows.

(Tip: Use portable solar sidewalk lights for marking perimeters or entrances to your RV)

10) Choke the Smoke

Please don’t allow your campfires to continually smnewer and smoke, releasing toxins that will make your neighbors ill. Campfire pits are not trash receptacles. Coated paper plates and plastics give off toxic fumes when burned.  Do not burn trash, period!

Regarding another type of smoke, if you’re a tobacco user, be mindful of tight campsites.  Tobacco smoke may be entering other RVer’s windows or doors.

Speaking of tobacco smoking, we recommend “field stripping” your finished cigarette butts and putting them in your pocket instead of in the campfire or tossing them on the ground. Not only is it unsightly, but wildlife get ill when they eat them while foraging.

11. Be Neighborly

There may come a time when your neighbor may need help changing a tire or fixing an RV component.  Help them if you’ve got the know how or a strong back.  If you see your elderly neighbor struggling with bags of groceries, offer a hand. If a child falls and is crying, ask which RV they live in and either walk him to his camper or get his parent.

12. Do Not Disturb

There’s nothing worse than having a mishap occur because your attentions has been diverted to a conversation.  Please curtail small talk or distractions while other RVers are setting up or taking down their campsite or hitching or unhitching.

Its best not to disturb RVers who are emptying and flushing their tanks.  Timing is of the essence in this chore. If you distract your neighbor while he’s emptying or flushing his black tank, you both can end up in deep doodoo.

Also, if you’re neighbor’s shades are drawn, please don’t knock on their door or be loud around their RV.  They may be sleeping or working from their RV.  They also could be away with their dogs resting quietly inside.

13. Leave It Better Than You Found It

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a site that’s littered with cigarette butts, candy wrappers, bottle caps, pull tabs or trash in the fire pit. Just because you may have been assigned a dirty site, doesn’t mean you should leave it the same way.

Keep your outdoor trash receptacles secured and closed.  A simple burst of wind will send paper plates, napkins and other trash airborne.  If it does, please retrieve all trash.  Don’t think “it went into the woods, no one will notice”.  Our wildlife need and deserve clean habitats.

Show your children where the trash receptacles are and teach them good trash discipline.

Clean out your firepits prior to leaving.  Please don’t leave “this” for the camp host or campground staff to clean.

Be good stewards.  Clean and patrol your site before leaving. If you brought it, take it with you. Leave only your footprints.

In closing…

The main rule of thumb of RV park or campground etiquette is to treat others as you’d like to be treated.  Sometimes, people don’t know or may not be aware that their behavior or infractions affect others.  Be respectful to the campground or RV park, your neighbors, area wildlife and yourselves.



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