In the wilderness there are no rules. Except there are, if you don’t want to be the most unpopular guy (or girl) in the forest. Whether you’re camping with friends or strangers, avoid the most serious campsite faux pas – unless you want to find your fly net ‘accidentally’ left open. Here we’ve packaged you up a little campsite etiquette guide, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
#1 Dig Deep
We are, of course, referring to your personal ‘excrement pit’. No matter how desperate you are, there is no excuse for digging too shallow a grave. We’re all adults and know how much ‘material’ we produce in one sitting. The Centre for Outdoor Ethics (yep, it’s a thing) recommends digging ‘catholes’ at least six inches deep, a minimum of 70 adult steps from water, trails and campsites. Side note: don’t be the guy who suggests playing ‘who can lay the longest cable’ and takes photographic evidence.
What you need: Sea to Summit pocket trowel. The only digging utensil you’ll ever need. It even has a compartment in the handle to keep toilet roll.
#2 Know Your Biodegradables
Toilet paper isn’t forest-friendly if it’s infused with perfume, ink or dye. Baby wipes are not biodegradable unless you buy the biodegradable kind. Oh, and that plastic bottle you just threw on the fire is carcinogenic. Even the most eco-conscious camper can make mistakes so think twice before you incinerate anything or ‘return’ it to Mother Nature. If in doubt, take it home with you.
What you need: Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, which is not only forest friendly but also comes in portable – and colourful – single packets.
#3 Don’t Shade Someone’s Solar
When erecting your tent or awning, don’t do it over someone else’s solar panel. They’re probably using it to charge something highly important like their mobile. Now, how are they going to update their Facebook status? If a campsite is cozy and you can’t help but block their sunshine, at least move their solar panel to a better position – but tell them you’ve done it.
What You Need: A Goal Zero solar charger of your own. Then you’ll understand why users are so protective of their life force.
#4 Never Cramp A Camp
There are certain ‘secret’ camping spots, especially on the coast, where you can really only fit two or three tents into the destination. If you arrive at one of your ‘special places’ and a group of campers have beaten you to it (how dare they!) then don’t stubbornly pitch right on top of them. Obey the First-Come code of ethics, move on and consider yourself beaten.
What You Need: The book, Cool Camping Australia by Kerryn Burgess – a bible of popular and lesser known campsites to help you find a Plan B.
#5 Don’t Log Load and Leave
If you get flame frenzy at 1 am and decide to throw half a tree on your group’s campfire, then it is your responsibility to babysit the blaze until it safely turns to embers. Do not fire it up and then go to bed (or pass out), leaving it to other people to monitor. Above all, never urinate on a campfire – that steam is acrid!
What You Need: A cold beer and a good playlist. Because, let’s face it, fire gazing is far better with both.
Have campsite etiquette to add? Tell us your golden rules in the comments section below.