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Camping Etiquette – How not to be “that camper”

On our last RV live chat, we discussed with other RVers “what are the unwritten “rules” of camping etiquette?”

Livestream topic: Camping Etiquette

This is intended to be a living document. If you have information about camping etiquette that should be included on this post and you would like to share with the RV community, comment below or contact us!

Camping in your RV is meant to be an enjoyable experience. Unless you are boondocking in the middle of nowhere, there are some behaviors that tend to irritate other RVers. Read on to find out what those are so you aren’t “that camper”!

No Trespassing

It is considered rude to walk through someone’s campsite. Oftentimes, RVers will pay extra to get that coveted spot closer to a beach or the pool only to be frustrated as the parade of campers trudge through their area. Stay to the pathways and only walk through someone’s campsite if you have permission.

Stay in your spot

Just as you shouldn’t wander into someone else’s campsite, keep your campsite from spreading into others. Make sure your mats, chairs, grills, etc are within your area. This also goes for your tow vehicle.

If you have children or pets with you, do your best to keep them out of other campsites as well.

Late arrivals & early departures

We all understand that sometimes there are circumstances where you will arrive somewhere late. However, if you happen to get to a campground late, make the least amount of noise possible and consider delaying hooking up until morning.

Likewise, if you know you will be departing early (before quiet hours are over), consider doing most of your preparation the night before in order to minimize noise.

Exterior lights

Make sure you turn off your exterior lights when you settle down for the evening. Most people are fine with leaving the handle and undercarriage lights on – we are talking about the patio light and other high up lights that shine into your neighbor’s rig.

If going on an evening walk, be aware of the area your flashlight is illuminating.

Keep the noise down

There are two areas that really get other RVers going on this point. The first is generator use. Generators can be noisy. Using it only when needed and only outside of established quiet hours (typically 10pm-7am) is also important. If you need to run it during quiet hours – let’s say to run a CPAP machine – try to camp in a spot further away from others.

The second is the noise at your rig. Playing loud music, or television is typically not appreciated by your camping neighbors. Loud voices around the campfire after quiet hours tend to upset other campers as well. If you are planning a get together, consider inviting your RV neighbors!


The biggest complaint about pet owners tends to be when pet owner’s don’t clean up after their pet.

In addition, with more campers traveling with dogs and campgrounds being more crowded it is more important than ever to keep your dogs on a leash. Even though your dog may be well behaved, other dogs may not be.

Is your dog a prolific barker? Work with your dog to curb their enthusiasm. If they bark mostly when you are gone, consider keeping a television or a radio on to buffer some of the outside noise. Blocking the windows helps a lot as well.

Not sure how your pet acts while you are gone? Look into a monitoring system. There are even units out there where you can talk to them remotely through the unit to help calm them down.

Personal space

This one is more for those who are boondocking. If boondocking out in the middle of nowhere (like BLM or USFS land) leave a lot of space between you and the other camper. Ideally just out of view if possible. Campers to these areas typically go for the peace and quiet – and the views.

If you are boondocking in an urban area such as a parking lot, try not to pull up right next to the other RV unless it is unavoidable.

Firepits are not trashbins

Everyone loves a good campfire. What your camping neighbors will not appreciate is a campfire that is extra smokey or “fragrant” because you are burning your trash in it. Even worse, leaving piles of trash in the firepit for the next camper to deal with.

Do unto others….

Overall, just remember to be considerate. Camping is meant to be fun so don’t stress it and we’ll all have a good time.

Check out these other great articles on this subject:

How to hook up and dump your tanks

HOW TO: Hook up and dump your tanks

Russ takes the stress away from figuring out how to dump your tanks with this no-mess tutorial! See notes below!

For links to any of the items you see in today’s video, go to: https://theroadsweroam.com/home/rv-products-shop/

All RVers have been there and we were no different. We actually went the first several trips using our Little Guy Max without using the tanks because we were too nervous to tackle the dreaded black tank dumping. It can be daunting, because the ramifications of what can happen if you make a mistake are not too pleasing!

So, for those of you who are a bit worried about how to this issue, here are the steps shown in the video above:

  1. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). You should always have on your gloves and if possible glasses or safety glasses.
  2. Take the the elbow and screw it into the receptable on the ground.
  3. Connect your hose to the elbow – make sure it clicks in place
  4. Double check to make sure the black and grey levers are in the closed position
  5. Hold the hose directly under the opening where the sewer cap on your RV is. Once in place, remove the RV Sewer cap and secure hose in place. If you do not feel it click into place, make sure the gasket (a small black ring inside the hose) is in place. NOTE: Some hoses do not use a gasket.
  6. If you are at a campsite and setting up connection, support your hose by using a RV sewer hose support.
  7. To empty the tanks, pull the black tank valve first. When the flow of material has stopped, close the black tank valve and then open the grey tank valve. When the flow has stopped, close the grey tank valve.
  8. Now slowly remove the hose from your RV, tilting it down to catch any potential remaining liquids and close cap to the RV. Lift hose up in the air to drive any remaining liquids down into the receptacle on the ground.
  9. Remove hose from elbow (that is still locked in place at the ground receptacle). Rinse and store.
  10. Remove elbow from sewer receptable, rinse and store.
  11. Close the cover to the ground receptacle.

NOTE: Some campgrounds do not have the screw in type of ground sewer receptacle and may indicate that you should use a sewer donut. Simply place the donut in the receptacle (narrow end down) , then place your elbow on top of the donut.

Hope this was helpful and let us know if you have any questions!

Safe travels,

Russ & Kerry