There is some basic etiquette when camping that everyone should try to adhere to. These guidelines will make camping enjoyable for everyone and will reduce the chances of authorities being able to claim that campers need more regulation to keep things orderly. Although rules are sometimes seen as restrictions on “FUN”, they do usually exist to ensure that a fair, safe and enjoyable environment is available for everyone. However, EVERYONE is entitled to still enjoy their time camping whether that’s some music and a campfire with mates or some time enjoying the serenity of nature.
It will always be hard to get a perfect mix of campers in one area at any one time. There will always be the “loud” campers, the “grumpy” campers, the “keep to themselves” campers and the “social” campers. Respect is paramount and tolerance is a necessity!
1) Whatever you take in to a campsite, take it with you when you leave or put it in a bin if one is available. DO NOT dump your rubbish around BBQ pits. Don’t bury rubbish either as it is likely to be dug up or scattered by animals.
2) Everyone enjoys a drink or two around the campfire, but avoid getting drunk and noisy. Others go into the bush to enjoy the peace and quiet, don’t make too much noise. Be nice, if you have a party, invite your neighbours and everyone can have a good time.
3) Don’t set up your campsite too close to others without asking permission first. That’s just being polite.
4) Keep your dogs and/or children under control. Don’t allow them to disturb other campers. Keep your dogs on a lead at all times in campsites, don’t tie them up and leave them to bark all day when you go out. Take notice of “No Dogs” signs, especially in national Parks. Take note of when your children are disturbing others or playing in areas not designated as play areas and take action to avoid the disturbance. Do not allow them to play ball games around other people’s campsites or vehicles. Make sure your children are aware of “stranger danger”.
5) If travelling through farming land leave all gates as you found them. If it is open when you get there leave it that way. If it is closed then close it after you pass.
6) Take care with campfires and build a proper fire pit. Make sure the fire is out before you go to sleep or leave the camp site. There is no excuse for leaving a fire lit when you leave a campsite and people could end up losing property or their lives. OBEY ALL FIRE BANS. It is VERY IMPORTANT to put your fire out with water and not by covering it with sand. Children can walk over the sand and be badly burned by the hot coals still glowing underneath. There is no need for huge bonfires. A fire big enough to cook with or keep warm by is all that is needed.
7) Don’t use soap or other washing liquids within 50 metres of a stream, dam or river. Try and use environmentally friendly chemicals where possible. Contamination of waterways can be a big problem.
8) Where possible use existing campsites and avoid clearing vegetation to make new ones. Use any existing fireplaces and don’t make new ones if there are suitable fire pits in the area.
9) If you don’t have a Porta-Potti and have to relieve yourself in the bush, dig a pit at least 30cm deep and 100 metres from the campsite or water source. DO NOT leave toilet paper and faeces on the ground. A Porta-Potti is a cheap investment and will make your camping experience a little more comfy. Make sure you empty your porta-loos in designated dump points. When using public toilets, don’t trash them or make them unpleasant for the next user.
10) People with generators should try to keep use to a minimum around other campers. Turn them off by 10pm at the very latest. (9pm is better) and don’t start them before 8am especially if your generator is a noisy one.
11) Stay on existing tracks, don’t drive over vegetation. Take notice of road closures, private property signs and road conditions.
12) Keep off unsealed roads after rains. You and your four-wheel drive might be able to get through but you will probably chew up the track to such an extent that the track will be impassable to 2 wheel drives for many days after the rain stops.
13) Don’t take firearms on to private property or go shooting on private property without the owner’s permission.
14) Respect honesty-pay systems in campgrounds. If you are required to pay a fee, pay it! Don’t take advantage of budget campsites provided for your convenience all because there is no one directly monitoring your payment. Honesty is always a good policy. The fees collected usually go into maintaining the facilities or back into the local community that is inviting you to stay. It also encourages the councils etc. to keep open the camping areas for our future use. If you feel that a fee is too expensive- seek another campsite!
15) If you are travelling in remote areas take plenty of fuel, water and food. Have good communications equipment at LET SOMEONE KNOW where you are going and when you expect to get back. If your vehicle breaks down, STAY WITH IT. So many people have died because they left their main source of shelter. Satellite phones are a great investment. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound.
16) If you camp near a waterhole leave plenty of room for stock in the area to get to the water. Your campsite can deter animals who need the water to survive.
17) Use gas stoves and avoid burning things like hollow logs as they are homes for many species of native animals. Many areas now prohibit the collection of bush timber for fires.
18) Take notice of time-restricted camping areas. Don’t overstay the time limits or at least seek permission to request a longer stay if needed.
19) Noise- Please be considerate of fellow campers who are also there to have a good time. Your music might not be their “cup of tea” but it’s all about sharing and being considerate. You are entitled to have your fun too. Use common sense and don’t intentionally annoy others. Things can get heated and arguments can happen easily (and go too far). Avoid confrontations.
20) Feeding native animals. Although it’s tempting to feed the visiting animals to you campsite, most of the time you can do more harm than good. Their diet is what they find and gather for themselves and not the rich and heavily processed foods we eat. The last thing we want is for the animals to become dependent on being fed.
A lot of the above is just common sense. Not everyone will agree with the suggested etiquette but most will agree that it is about sharing, respect and good manners.
This list is not designed to create debate but feel free to comment below.
This list has been created using general resources, feedback, personal experiences and other website references.
For more info checkout this PDF file for a great guide to camping and tenting. www.wanowandthen.com/EBooks/motorhoming.pdf and spend some time browsing this great resource all on Western Australia www.wanowandthen.com/