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These 20 rules you should heed on a campground to remain a popular camper

Are there codes of conduct at a camping site and what do they look like? Have a look at my 20 rules on how to behave at a camping site.

from Martin Gebhardt | Camping | no comment yet | reading time 9 Min
Updated on 01 September 2023 11.958 views 100% found this guide helpful
These 20 rules you should heed on a campground to remain a popular camper

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Keep your area and the entire site clean, dispose of trash and cigarette butts properly.
  • Respect the quiet hours starting at 10 pm and avoid making noise.
  • Do not leave campfires unattended and clean up food leftovers.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and dispose of its waste.
  • Respect the privacy of other campers and stay within the designated boundaries.
  • Inform your children about the rules of conduct and register at the reception.

How we should behave in a hotel is clear to all of us: No parties in the room after around 10 pm, quiet in the hotel lobby, and smoking is not allowed indoors anyway.

But what does that look like on a campsite?

When we are on the campsite, we usually feel at home right away.

Finally, we also bring our items and design our area the way we like it. It's easy to forget the rules of conduct in such situations.

But are there any rules of conduct on a campsite and what do they look like?

So that you don't have to put your foot in it anymore, today I'll give you 20 rules on how to behave on a campsite.

Enjoy reading.

Are there any rules of conduct at a campsite?

To answer it briefly: Yes, they exist!

But where? Actually, it is common sense to behave like a human being on a campsite. Nevertheless, the brain cells of many tent and caravan owners suddenly switch off when entering the site.

If the rules that apply to the court are not distributed with the court overview, they are usually displayed on a large board at the court. Often you can find this board at the reception or at the sanitary facilities. Instead of just passing by, you can take a look at it.

With certainty, we have all made a few mistakes and broken a few rules. However, in order for all of us to become model campers, I will now give you the 20 rules that apply to almost all campsites.

1. Keep your area and the entire space clean

This rule is pretty self-explanatory, but unfortunately, it is typically not followed. The worst example is regularly found in sanitary facilities. Of course, there are mostly cleaning staff who regularly clean the toilets and showers.

But why do most campers leave the sanitary facilities so dirty? Toilet paper that doesn't end up in the toilet or hair that remains in the sink. These are just a few examples that you often find in camping toilets.

Cleanliness and order should prevail on your property
Cleanliness and order should prevail on your property

Here it applies: Everyone cleans up their mess! This also applies to the entire area. Do not leave any trash lying around. This also includes not just leaving your bottles from the previous evening next to the tent, but throwing them in the trash or disposing of them properly in another way.

What you do on your few square meters is up to you. However, in order not to spoil the vacation for other neighbors with Messi chaos, you should also pay attention to order and cleanliness here.

Read also: Keep your campsite clean and organized with these 5 simple methods

2. Do not leave cigarette butts and do not smoke in the presence of other campers

This rule directly obeys the previous rule. Cigarette butts should never be thrown on the ground, but in the trash. By doing so, you not only avoid severe environmental pollution, but also protect children and animals.

Children and dogs spend a lot of time on the ground. They usually pick up everything that gets in their way. Therefore, make sure to always dispose of your cigarette butts properly.

In addition, it is respectful if you do not bother other campers with your smoke. This applies especially to areas such as the reception, the restaurant, or the sanitary facilities. Pay attention to sufficient distance to your fellow human beings.

3. Don't take shortcuts

Where I come from, people who take shortcuts are called "lawn walkers". When you take shortcuts, you create an unpleasant atmosphere in the area. The field becomes unpleasant due to compressed grass or muddy meadows.

In addition, you are causing other campers to imitate this behavior and soon the created paths will remain unused. It is also important to know with this rule that you do not cross the properties of other campers. This is actually considered self-evident.

Often, however, children make this mistake of simply storming across the campsite or quickly darting over to the neighboring property. Therefore, instruct your children about this rule.

Do you want to make packing for your next camping trip easier? Then download the free printable checklist for your camping equipment!

4. Avoid noise after 10 PM

Just like in hotels, there is also a quiet time on campsites. This is even stricter here, as there are no walls, only thin tent walls. Therefore, it is considerate towards the other vacationers if you are not too loud after 10 pm.

So turn down the music a bit and keep conversations quiet. Moreover, you should not wash your dishes after 10 PM as the loud clattering is disruptive.

This rule is often difficult to follow at campsites. You may typically be traveling in a large group and sitting around the campfire for a bit longer in the evenings. Nevertheless, please consider the other campers and adhere to the quiet hours.

Not every evening should look like this: with beer, music, and people shouting
Not every evening should look like this: with beer, music, and people shouting

5. Do not leave the campfire unattended

If we're already talking about "cozy campfire", you should always follow this rule. After all, it's about the safety of all vacationers. Always make sure that at least one person is always at the campfire and holds the fort there.

It can also be useful to have a blanket or a bottle of water with you in case something goes wrong. However, most fire pits are usually large and deep enough, so you don't usually have to worry.

A mistake I have frequently experienced at this point is that the fire is lit, and the campers simply go to bed. This absolutely needs to be avoided!

Read also: 5 tips for campfire safety that all campers should follow

6. Clear away leftovers

Here we are again at the point of cleanliness, but with another rule. Always make sure to put away or dispose of your food and leftovers. If you disregard this rule, you will soon have to expect unwelcome guests.

This rule also serves the well-being of others and applies not only to pests, but also to small animals or birds. I have often witnessed campers feeding birds or cats. It's hard to resist those little cat eyes or cute chirping.

However, over time, this can lead to a true problem situation and property owners may have to eliminate the animals with poisons or other substances. So always clean up your trash, food, and leftovers.

7. Drive over the square at walking speed only

The campsite is a large pedestrian zone. This means that racers are completely improper here. Especially because there are many children to be found on a campsite.

Furthermore, the paths on the squares are mostly made of gravel and rocks. If you drive over them too fast, you will dust off all the vacationers and accommodations. You can expect annoyed looks and gestures in the end.

Moreover, it is important to always keep your eyes open. The first drive through the campsite is mostly just looking around for the perfect spot or searching for the assigned spot. However, it is also essential to look ahead in case a child suddenly runs onto the road.

8. Help other campers

Among campers, it is actually common to help each other. Whether it's the forgotten salt shaker or assistance with setting up the tent - when camping, there is always the opportunity to lend a hand and help others.

Helping each other is not a rule, but necessary for the community on the square. This way you get to know new people and maybe sit together with them in front of the campfire in the evening.

A hand washes the other and who knows when you might need help
A hand washes the other and who knows when you might need help

9. You must leash your dog

To come back to the animal theme: Dogs must be kept on a leash! You usually see this sign already at the entrance to the campsite, and it must not be ignored under any circumstances.

I have often witnessed campers believing their dog to be affectionate and trustworthy. This may be true; however, the neighbors certainly do not appreciate it when the furry friend suddenly appears in front of their tent door. The larger the dog, the more panicked other people react to unleashed fur balls.

It can always happen that the dog sees something interesting or feels provoked. Then your four-legged friend is faster away than you think. For the protection of other people and for your animal, it is therefore important that you always keep the dog on a leash.

Therefore, it is best to take a slightly longer leash with you on vacation so that the dog has more freedom of movement.

Read also: What do you need when camping with your dog? (with checklist for your dog)

10. Speaking of dogs: Dispose of your pet's waste

Also, this rule is actually self-evident, but unfortunately, it is often entirely ignored. To counteract this, many campsite operators have already purchased dog toilets on the premises. Nevertheless, many campers fail to properly dispose of dog waste.

Finally, it is a natural product. Therefore, it will remove itself. Well, not entirely. Before this happens, about five people step into the pile.

Just take a bag with you on every walk with your dog and pick up the droppings.

11. Turn off your outdoor lighting at night

I believe no one likes to have holiday lights right in front of their face. Especially when camping, tent walls and caravan windows are very permeable to light and noise. Therefore, it is advisable to turn off your outdoor lighting at night.

In addition, you don't consume any electricity or batteries. So it's not only good for the nerves of the other campers, but also for the environment.

Do you want to make packing for your next camping trip easier? Then download the free printable checklist for your camping equipment!

12. Respect the privacy of other campers

On the campsite, everyone is usually up for a chat and generally in a chatty mood. However, there are simply people who don't realize when they are not wanted at the moment. After all, during your vacation, you surely want to spend time with your family or as a couple.

That a neighbor constantly yells over the hedge, you probably can't use that. Therefore, it is important that we all respect the privacy of the other vacationers and do not constantly invite ourselves to a conversation.

Moved blinds can be a clear sign that other campers want to be undisturbed.

13. Keep the boundaries

Each plot has its area. This may and should not be exceeded. So make sure to place your table and chairs carefully and don't just leave all your other stuff anywhere.

That borders are crossed is usually the case when you are traveling with multiple people. With all the equipment, space on the lawn can also become quite tight.

If you and your camping neighbor have been on the site for a while and get along well, then the boundaries will soon no longer play a big role anyway. Nevertheless, it is important that this only happens with mutual consent.

14. Set up your grill properly so as not to disturb other vacationers

Grilling is essential when camping! Especially in summer, the campers' grills are constantly smoking. But not every vacationer wants to be smoked out every evening.

Therefore, pay attention to where you place your grill and from which direction the wind is coming. However, if for any reason you cannot do anything about it, simply invite your neighbor for a sausage to smooth things over.

14. Set up your grill properly so as not to disturb other vacationers
14. Set up your grill properly so as not to disturb other vacationers

15. Wear clothes

If you haven't landed on a designated nudist campsite, you must wear clothing. Not everyone is so open-minded that they want to see naked bodies all around them. Many vacationers find it disturbing.

On most occasions, there is no dress code, however, you should not overdo it with the freedom of expression.

16. Don't pee wildly

On a campsite, there are mostly well-maintained and clean sanitary facilities. These should and must be used. Anyone who constantly urinates in the wild here causes unpleasant odors and disgusted vacationers.

I know the problem: It's in the middle of the night, the temperatures have dropped, and suddenly, I have to pee. So what to do? The tent door is quickly opened, and the nearest bush is only a few meters away.

Clearly, this is the way it happens in many places. However, as described at the beginning of the article, there are many children on campsites who like to crawl on the ground. I believe you wouldn't want to have a child sitting in another camper's urine, would you?

So in this sense, ensure cleanliness at the place and use the toilets.

17. Turn off your generator at night

Just like with the lighting and music, the same applies here: turn off the generator during the night. The humming of the device annoys the other guests quite a bit and creates a bad holiday atmosphere.

Alternatively, you can use a solar generator where no one can hear you consuming electricity. And during the day, it's better to opt for solar panels.

18. Dispose of wastewater only at designated locations

If you are traveling in a camper van, you probably also use your toilet and shower. However, at some point, the wastewater tank is full and needs to be emptied. Never dispose of it in the bathrooms or even in nature!

On many campsites, there are usually specially designed wastewater disposal stations for this purpose. Take advantage of this offer to avoid environmental pollution or disgusted vacationers.

Do you want to make packing for your next camping trip easier? Then download the free printable checklist for your camping equipment!

19. Educate your children

As mentioned before, you must educate your children about the rules. Especially loud children can annoy many neighbors eventually. In most cases, no one can do anything about a crying baby. Nevertheless, you should try to calm your child down as quickly as possible.

That also applies to children's noise in the middle of the day. Children love to play loudly and freely. In doing so, they may sometimes forget that there are other people around who may already be slightly annoyed.

Go to the playground with your child, if there is one, to avoid confrontations with the neighbors.

20. Check in at the reception

This point speaks for itself, like many others. Nevertheless, there are always people who are so audacious and simply drive through an open barrier. However, this cheekiness is usually quickly exposed, as the space owners regularly check the parking spaces.

So that you don't immediately make yourself unpopular, be sure to follow this point.

How do you deal with rude campers?

  1. Give the campers a warning: clarify it that the behavior or action was inappropriate and unwanted.
  2. Allow the campers to explain the incident; he or she may have a valid reason for the behavior.
  3. Be consistent with your concern.
  4. Stay cool and calm; keep strong emotions in check.
  5. Avoid lecturing or embarrassing the camper.
  6. Emphasize that the camper's behavior is the problem, not the camper's personality.
  7. Help the camper find acceptable alternatives to the issue behavior.
  8. Accept the camper back into the group after resolving the issue.
  9. If all else fails, seek the campsite manager - they will know more appropriate measures.

What is your stance on rules? Are there any that I have forgotten?

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE