Ah, the great outdoors. Fresh air, pine needles, toasting marshmallows on an open fire and regaling spooky stories once the sun sets. Camping is the ultimate getaway. Around 22 million Americans enjoy camping every year. That’s testament to how good an option for a break it is. We’re so cooped up indoors nowadays that heading out for an extended period of time may comes a bit of a shock to some of our systems. When you’re staying outdoors, you’re going to have to make a few fundamental changes to your routine, your behaviour and your general lifestyle.
Life can get tense when you are staying in such close proximity to others under circumstances different to those at home. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here’s my basic guide to camping etiquette.
Tents are cramped. No matter how big your tent, it’s almost certainly smaller than the space you have at home. Unless you’re staying in your own tent, or are a complete paragon of virtue, you’re going to be in a pretty close proximity to your tent mate. You’re going to have to be a lot more considerate than usual, or you could end up having quarrels and a horrible tension in the space that you’re staying. Nobody needs that kind of negativity. Nevermind on (what’s supposed to be) a relaxing break from the stresses at home.
So, our my rule is: be mindful of others’ personal space. This goes for those inside your tent and outside. Inside your tent, don’t hog the sleeping space. Create an area for your personal belongings and keep them within that area. Don’t mover others’ belongings without asking. Don’t leave your dirty boots on others’ sleeping bags. It’s all common sense. Be considerate. When it comes to people outside, don’t encroach on their space. Don’t pitch your tent too close to one that’s already in place. Don’t.
Travelling in an RV is more homely, so you’re likely to slip into habits you may have back at home. But try not to. It’s still a small space that you’re sharing with others, so, again, be respectful of personal space.
There are times where you can easily round up a bunch of friends, go to a camping spot and organize what food to bring. And then there are times where you can’t pack that much stuff with you as you’ll be hiking and camping out where-ever you end up at. So be selective in the choices of food you choose to carry with you but always bring a re-useable water bottle! You’d ideally want something that wont rot after a few hours if you don’t have a cooler with loads of ice. I personally like bringing rice crackers and granola bars because they’re a quick snack and wont make me feel super bloated or fat. You can precook some meals and carry them with you in reusable ziplock bags or tupperware such as pasta, chilli and baked potatoes. Here is a great site for a list of items that you can take with you (including tools that are a must) while camping.
Tent walls are thin. Thinner than any other kind of wall, in fact. Remember that whatever you’re doing, people nearby are going to be able to hear. So, keep your volume under control. Once the sun sets, people are probably going to be trying to sleep. Monitor your voice and keep it down to whispers. If someone confronts you about the amount of noise you’re making, don’t get defensive. Be polite and respectful. Listen to their concerns and bear them in mind. There are certain issues that you might not be able to help. For example, you or those you are staying with might snore. This isn’t immediately preventable. It’s also not an act of disrespect or trouble causing. If the sound keeps your neighbours awake, simply apologise. It will be appreciated and might help to dissipate tense or awkward atmospheres in the morning.
One of the best things about camping is being in one with nature. The reason why you’re doing this is simply because you want to get away from the city life, the responsibilities at home, and technology. (Cameras are an exception). There’s so much beauty around the world we tend to forget to stop and literally smell the roses. We can be so caught up with our own day to day life sometimes we need a break to just recollect ourselves and enjoy the simple things in life. If you suffer from anxiety and depression this is the greatest thing you can do to your mental health. I personally love sleeping outdoors by a lake or a large body of water as I tend to fall asleep in comfort with the sounds of the waves and wake up to the crisp smell in the morning. If you need more proof on how amazing nature can be, one of my blogger friends Aggie takes amazing photos and write about her travel experience with a backpack and a tent – this post especially is about her trip to Zion!