Camping Etiquette

As a relatively new camper, I want to be a good neighbor to my fellow campers. I posted a request for dos and don’ts on a couple of large camping groups on Facebook and received many comments. Most are on existing lists, but there are a few that I have not seen published.

My background is in accounting and auditing and I am very much a rule-follower, but my husband is just the opposite. He, on the other hand, is very charming and gets away with a lot. ūüėŹ ¬†Camping etiquette, however, ¬†is about being a good neighbor, which we both want to be.

The list below is not in the order of importance.  I think if you had ten people rank the list, you would get many variations.  I have tried to organize the information into just a few categories.  Also, remember to observe and obey the rules at your particular campground.

  • Respect Your Neighbor’s Space¬†

This was the area where I received the most feedback.  Do not run, walk, or bike across an occupied site.  Do not allow pets or children to invade the area.  Do not block access to the site.  These were all mentioned multiple times in the feedback I received.  Park in the middle of your campsite or in such a way that you allow neighbors on both sides adequate space.

  • Control Noise

Respect quiet hours, generally from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. ¬†Run generators only in the daytime. ¬†Keep music at low levels that extend only to your campsite. ¬†Use quiet voices, especially when arriving late. ¬†Don’t leave outdoor TV on when not there and don’t leave outdoor speakers on when inside. ¬†At night, don’t slam doors and double click remote door locks if horn beeps. Don’t let diesel engines idle unnecessary.

  • Fires

Always thoroughly put out fires before going to bed or leaving.  Be sure to have enough water to ensure fire is out.  Do not leave fires unattended.  Do not burn trash, plastic, or styrofoam as this creates very unpleasant odors.  Build fires only in designated areas and not where it will allow smoke to drift to open windows.   Do not allow cigarette to smoke go into campsites of others.  (In the responses I received, it was acknowledged that controlling where the smoke goes can be difficult.)

Don’t bring firewood from other areas as this may bring non-native insects that can devastate an area. ¬†I did not previously know the reasons for this; it is always good to know the why.

  • Clean and Tidy¬†

Keep hoses, power lines, and sewer lines as close to your rig as possible for groundskeeping. ¬†Keep your campsite neat and tidy and don’t let trash accumulate around your site. ¬†Don’t use the fire ring as a garbage can. ¬†Clean up after yourself in bathrooms.

Leave your campsite clean for the next camper.  Do not leave garbage or cigarette butts behind.  Put everything back to original spots if moved.

  • Water Issues

Don’t wash dishes in the bathhouse. ¬†Don’t take longer than necessary showers if others as waiting. ¬†Appropriately dispose of grey water.

These next items are a bit unfamiliar to me as we have a teardrop, but I am including for those who have a black water tank. ¬†Don’t dump at campsite that does not have full hook-ups; use dump station. ¬†Don’t dump while neighbors are eating. ¬†Don’t leave black water tank valve open at full hook-up site as it can result in a “pyramid of poo”. ¬†I don’t know exactly how that works, but it sounds really bad.

  • Lights

Turn off lights when going to bed, generally during quiet hours. Do not leave outside lights on overnight.  Many people mentioned lights left on at night as an issue, though often they specified bright or LED lights.

When arriving late or departing early, use lowlights.  If setting up or tearing down in the dark, use flashlights.

  • Children

Teach children to be respectful of others and their camping space. ¬†Teach them to not leave bikes, toys, etc. in the road. ¬†Don’t let them over utilize the bandwidth by excessive use of the Internet.

Don’t use bad language that children can hear. ¬†Also, keep in mind that children are there to have fun.

  • Pets

Keep pets on a leash and limit barking. ¬†Clean up after your pets and do not allow them into the campsites of others. Don’t leave a barking dog at a ¬†campsite. Do not walk your dog during quiet hours, which causes all other dogs in the area to bark. ¬†Don’t wash pet bedding in public washers unless you intend to clean them after you have used them.

  • Interactions with Neighbors¬†

Greet neighbors and be friendly and polite.  With new arrivals, give them time to set up before going to talk to them.   However, do offer help if it appears it is needed.  Be friendly, but do not overstay when talking as walking by.  Leave any leftover firewood you may have for the next camper or give it to a neighbor.  Share excess goodies if you have them.

  • Wildlife

Don’t feed the wildlife. They remember where they have been fed and will come back for more. ¬†The results can be a nuisance to others and may also be dangerous.

Summary

Many people mentioned the Golden Rule and just being considerate and respectful of others, which is at the heart of the desired behavior.  We are all in very close proximity in a campground and our behavior can significantly impact others and their ability to enjoy their vacations. I prefer to know the things that can irritate others so I can be as considerate as possible.

The items in this post originated from comments from camping groups and multiple camping etiquette documents.  I hope you will find it useful!

Enjoy Camping and Your Neighbors!

 

 

 

Camping and a Total Eclipse of the Sun

This trip included a solar eclipse, two waterfalls, two campgrounds, more cooking than I have ever done while camping, a fabulous play, and lots of games with some wonderful friends.

A good friend proactively booked us a campsite in the path of totality for the solar eclipse that occurred on August 21st.  We viewed the eclipse from Deer Run RV Resort in Crossville, Tennessee.  The campground was packed with moon gazers, but very nice.

We scored a couple of the last available sites and they were great, except for being in full sun. ¬†Temperatures were in the upper 80s and we really felt the impact. ¬†Our 10×10 screen room and a new awning were utilized this trip, more equipment than is typically used. ¬†It was great having the shade, but putting the screen room up and down in full sun was miserable. ¬†We have decided that summertime camping in the South is not for us. ¬†(Looking for recommendations for summer camping locations that are not hot.)

Campsite 18 at Deer Run RV Resort

Deer Run has full hookups, a beautiful lake, swimming pool, and very nice bathhouse.  It was more expensive than the state parks we usually visit, but we received a 10% Good Sam discount.  It also has a restaurant and grocery store with limited options.

Deer Run Resort Lake

The eclipse was the big event for this trip and it was amazing.  The full process of the eclipse lasted about three hours and I expected it to be gradually getting darker until fully dark and then gradually lighter.  Wrong!  We were viewing the sun through the special glasses and could clearly see the moon as it blocked the sun, but it remained very bright outside until the sun was completely blocked.  I did get an interesting photo (below) of gravel with sunlight coming through the trees that showed the crescent shape of the sun.  The coolest part, of course, was the two minutes of total eclipse.  It was like nighttime and the temperature dropped significantly.  The two minutes went by very quickly and then it looked like normal daytime again.

Sunlight Through Trees During Eclipse

Crossville is near Fall Creek Falls State Park and we went to see the waterfall and walk across the hanging suspension bridge. ¬†The area was beautiful, but the waterfall did not pack very much power and bridge was very shaky. ¬†We sat around for awhile and watched people trying to coaxe their dogs to walk across. ¬†The dogs were not interested! ¬†Lunch at Gaul’s Gallery Restaurant in the park was excellent. It had the best banana pudding I have ever had at a restaurant.

Fall Creek Falls

While in Crossville, we saw the play, “Lying in State”, at the Cumberland County Playhouse. It was a hilarious political satire with flawless performances by the cast. ¬†It is my understanding that people come from all over to the Playhouse. ¬†It is a “must see” for visitors to Crosssville.

Most of our Crossville time was at the campground.  We spent an afternoon in the pool and played games with our friends most evenings in the 10x 10. It was very nice to be outside with lights on and not be overrun by bugs.  I cooked a couple of dinners while there and omelettes one morning.  The teardrop galley did well overall, but it was very hot cooking in the evenings.  Crossville camping was four nights.

The second leg of our trip was in Gadsden, Alabama, at the River Country Campground.  This time we were right on the river with a gorgeous view and afternoon shade.  There was a downside though; no tents were allowed, not even my small privacy tent.  It would not have mattered if the bathhouse had not been about three blocks away.  Therefore, our campsite was very simple, but it was pretty.  How could it not be with that view?

Site P12 at River Country

While in Gadsden, we visited nearby Noccalula Falls, which bears the legend of an Indian princess who jumped to her death over a tall ledge because she could not marry her true love.  Her father had promised her in marriage to one from another tribe.

Noccolula Falls

The park was lovely with beautiful landscaping, a quaint little train, a Pioneer Village and a petting zoo with a lioness.  It was a relaxing and inexpensive way to spend a few hours.

Train Ride

River Country Campground has the nicest pool area of any campground we have ever visited.  There are actually three pools:  an infinity pool, regular pool, and kiddie pool.  The infinity pool is right next to the river, which creates a striking effect.  We spent a very peaceful afternoon at the pools and then had a delicious dinner at Top O the River.

River Country Infinity Pool
River Country Pool

We loved the time with our friends at both campgrounds.  The distant bathhouse at River Country was not fun when I had to get up in the middle of the night, but the amazing view was worth it.

Lessons Learned:

  • Our cooking equipment needed to be updated. ¬†We inherited our son’s camping utinsels, which are geared to cooking over a campfire. ¬†We have now purchased some items more suited to our cooking methods.
  • We love, love, love our KingKamp awning. ¬†It was easy to set-up and provided much needed shade.
  • It is just too hot to camp in the South during the summer months. ¬†We will have to find cooler areas to visit.
  • We should confirm the tent policy for future camping at commercial campgrounds. ¬†Better to know before you go.

Happy Camping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packing for Teardrop Camping-Our Process

The smaller the camper, the more important it is to be organized and have needed items in a place that is predictable and easily accessible. We have now been on several camping trips and have a process that works for us.

Approximately once a month, we take a camping trip.  To simplify the process, we try to keep as much camping-related equipment as we can packed in some manner so it is always ready to go.  For example:

  • Under the Bed-Extension cords, co-axiel cable, television antenna, awning, a few long tools that will not fit in our toolbox, charcoal, umbrella, 30/50 amp converter, nylon cord, and extra flashlight are kept under the bed in the camper and are always ready to go.
  • Inside the Cabin-Hanging shoe bags are attached to the wall on each side of the bed. ¬†A laundry bag and manuals are in a cabinet. ¬†A flashlight for getting up in the middle of the night is in the space between the bed and wall. ¬†These items are always there and ready to go.
  • In the Galley-The galley always has some basic items: ¬†dish cloths and towels, salt and pepper, basic spices, olive oil, a small coffee pot, toaster, small garbage can and trash liners, small flashlight, lighter, wet wipes, Saran Wrap, aluminum foil, bug spray, dish drainer mat, scrubber, ¬†tire gauge, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. ¬†We also keep our 30/15 converter on a shelf in the galley because we always hook our camper up to our home power before trips.
  • In a Footlocker- All the dishes that we might use for cooking are stored in a large plastic footlocker. This includes plates, utensils, glasses, bowls, skillet, pan, etc. ¬†The only extra we sometimes bring is a crockpot or small grill, but that is only if there is a specific plan to use it.

Galley Photos

Overall View of Galley
Galley Shelf
Under the Sink

When leaving for a trip, we use the galley area to store items needed to hook up.  We put the electrical cord and water hoses there, plus the hand tool for the camper stabilizers.   We also strap gallon containers of water to the cabinet and store a foam rubber that rug we always use behind the galley.  Those items are readily available when we arrive at our campsite.

Cords and hoses transported in galley

The footlocker, rectangular table, small blower bucket,  and small folding table are always transported in the cabin of the camper.

 

Items Transported in Cabin

We use the back of our SUV to store food, chairs, a rug and whatever optional equipment we are taking. ¬†We have a 10×10 screen room, EZ tent, porta potty, and privacy tent. ¬†If the trip is more geared to sightseeing or we are at a site for less than 2-3 days, we do not set up a tent or screen room. ¬†If we are very near a restroom, we leave the porta potty at home.

With most camping items pre-packed, most of my trip preparation is spent on what food to bring and what clothes to pack. ¬†Food that does not require refrigeration is stored in three covered bins. One bin is always prepacked with dishwashing liquid, a small bottle of laundry detergent, tablecloths/clips, and coffee filters and the other two have specific food for the trip. ¬†There is also a bin for tools–my husband likes to be prepared.

We each pack a small suitcase and take a pre-packed bath bag with toiletries. ¬†We have found that it works better to use the backseat of our SUV for personal items. ¬†They are always in the same spot, therefore, it is easier to locate needed items. ¬† My husband’s items are on one side of the backseat and mine the other. ¬†We each use the floorboard for extra shoes, hats, etc. ¬†Also, we generally transport a small ice chest in the middle and a couple of lanterns in the floorboard.

Back Seat of SUV

Length of Trip: ¬†¬†Our longest trip so far has been a week. ¬†We have discussed much longer trips and the plan for those is not very different for what we pack today. ¬†For those longer trips, we would just do laundry and buy groceries while traveling. ¬† I can’t wait to try out this theory!

Camping takes effort, but for me,  prepacking and organization makes it easier.  I am sure that most seasoned campers have methods that work for them and may be quite different from what I have described, but this is what works for us.

HAPPY PACKING!

 

 

Camping at Lake Catherine in Arkansas

This was my first trip to Arkansas and it was as much about seeing the sights as camping. We were lucky enough to score a site on the lake very near the bathhouse at Lake Catherine. It was very hot during our stay with highs in the mid-nineties. Because of the heat, we stayed away from camp most of the time during the day.

We loved our site at Lake Catherine.  It was #29 on loop B,  right on the lake with lots of shade and only about 50 feet from the bathhouse.  Loop B is for smaller rigs and our teardrop fit nicely in the spot.  There are two other loops to accommodate larger rigs.  Being able to fit in a smaller spot enabled us to get a nice place to stay without a lot of lead time. Check in was pleasant and we were given a 25% senior discount (only available for weekdays). There is horseback riding nearby and canoes, kayaks, water bikes, and pedal boats are available for rent.

As we have experienced with many campsites, there was not room for our 10 x 10 screen room to attach.   We could have set it up away from the trailer, but chose not to because we would be away for much of the daytime.  Our only issue was that the water connection was too far for us to attach our hose.

Site 29 at Lake Catherine

The wildlife were very friendly; we had mallards, squirrels, and birds visiting us.  They were accustomed to being fed and my husband really enjoyed seeing them.

Feeding the Mallards

Two days were allocated to see the sights in Hot Springs.  We visited Garvan Woodland Gardens the morning of our first day.  It is a 210 acre botanical garden that was donated to the University of Arkansas School. The gardens were utterly beautiful, but it was very hot.  Much of the area is shaded, but walking in heat that rose to a high of 95 was quite challenging.

Garvan Woodland Gardens
Garvan Woodland Gardens
One of Several Peacocks at the Gardens

The Chipmunk Cafe is on site at the gardens and we had an excellent lunch there.  It offers fresh lemonade and a variety of sandwiches.  My husband raved about his hamburger!  We highly recommend the Gardens and the Chipmunk.

Within the gardens is the Anthony Chapel, Arkansas’ premier wedding venue. It features 55-foot tall glass and has a complex truss system designed to mimic trees. ¬†It is a stunning structure.

Anthony Chapel
Anthony Chapel Interior
Pavilion

After lunch, we checked out Bathhouse Row and the historic district.  It was interesting to learn that one side of the street that held shops, tourist attractions, and restaurants is in the city, but across the street is within Hot Springs National Park.   The buildings along Bathhouse Row are owned by the park service and many are leased to private businesses.  The Visitor Center in the Park is a beautiful old building that was once a bathhouse.

Our evening was spent being entertained by The Magic & Comedy of Maxwell Blade. He is a Hot Springs staple and put on a very entertaining show.  We arrived back at our campsite at around 10 pm, cranked up the A/C, and slept like babies!

Day 2 started early at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. The bathhouse is right above the natural hot springs and has been in operation since 1912.  We each had the traditional bathing package, which included individual whirlpool mineral bath, hot packs, sitz bath, vapor cabinet, needle shower, and 20 minute Swedish massage.  The building and the services are much the same as they were over 100 years old.  It was quite an experience and very relaxing.

Buckstaff Bathhouse

We had breakfast for lunch at The Pancake Shoppe, fresh-squeezed orange juice, pancakes loaded with fresh blueberries, and an amazing omelette.

Our afternoon included a Duck Tour of the city and Lake Hamilton and then a movie to get out of the heat. ¬†We saw “Dunkirk” in our first experience with recliner seating. ¬†The movie was good and the seats were very ¬†comfortable!

Dinner was at the historic Ohio Club, established in 1905. It was once one of many illegal casinos in the city.  During prohibition, it was a popular place of movie stars, celebrities, and gangsters.  Mae West, Al Jolson, Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Al Capone, and Bugsy Segal are all listed as former customers.  We loved the great service, the Ruben sandwiches, and the fabulous live music.  An excellent blues band was playing the night we were there.

Ohio Club

We drove to Little Rock the next day and visited the Clinton Presidential Center and Park. ¬†It is one of thirteen presidential libraries and we plan to visit all of them. ¬†We had a guided tour, which made the visit more interesting. ¬†Of particular interest were reproductions of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room. ¬†A temporary Bug Exhibit showing how the insect world works together was on site. ¬†You can take photos inside the building, ¬†but can’t publish them, so my shots are all outside. ¬† The building is designed to look like a bridge. ¬†The grounds were very nice with an very interesting-looking bridge that crosses the Arkansas River.

Clinton Presidential Center
Portion of the Bug Exhibit
View from the Bridge

In the afternoon, we rode the River Rail Electric Streetcar for a tour of the city. Our driver was very knowledgeable and gave us a running commentary of the city, past and present. It is free for the summer and very enjoyable.

Old State House, Circa 1842

We drove back to Hot Springs late in the afternoon and had dinner at Deluca’s, a pizza restaurant. ¬†We were back at camp at around 6 pm, our earliest time back by far. ¬†We had observed several people swimming in the lake, so we went in for about 30 minutes. ¬†It was very relaxing and the water was a perfect temperature.

While we were gone during the daytime on this trip, we did enjoy the peacefulness of nature in the mornings over breakfast.  The wildlife were the most abundant and willing to come close that we have seen thus far on a camping trip.  We also enjoyed the great rates ($16.50 per night with senior discount).  Lake Catherine is a great campground!

Lessons Learned:

  • Research the weather before booking trips! ¬†We were in Branson a few summers ago and it was cool and comfortable. I foolishly thought that Hot Springs would not be too hot because it is relatively close to Branson and in the mountains. ¬†This was flawed thinking!
  • If it is very hot, it is nice to have an outside fan. ¬†We purchased an inexpensive box fan our first night and it helped a little with the heat and the bugs.
  • Our mini blower purchased at Marvin’s was nice to tidy up the campsite. ¬†Though very small and inexpensive, but does a decent job.
  • If you are not spending a lot of time at a site, you don’t need a lot of stuff. Our set-up and takedown for this trip was very quick and easy because of this.
July 2017

Enjoy your summer!!