Refresh your knowledge of camping etiquette before pitching a tent this year.
You might not know your dessert fork from your salad fork, but in the outdoor adventure community, there’s an unspoken understanding of how to behave. We all need to be respectful and informed—especially as more Canadians get outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Follow these six tips for proper etiquette in front-country campgrounds across Canada:
Hygiene and Cleanliness
Hand washing and sanitizing is more important now than ever. Clean your hands often; always wash before and after eating and using the bathroom. Dispose of soap in appropriate sewage pipes, not on the ground near your campsite. Keep your site clean and free of food waste and strongly scented products to avoid attracting wildlife. Lock your cooler in your vehicle at night. Do not burn plastic. Pack out what you pack in and leave the campsite better than you found it.
Physically Distance from your Neighbours
Think of a campsite like a rental property: no one should track through your front yard or venture into your kitchen uninvited. Camping is a great opportunity to run amuk and embrace your wild side, but everyone needs to respect boundaries and physically distance from people outside their bubble. Whenever possible, stay six feet away from others—taking special care in public areas such as visitor centres, playgrounds, washroom facilities, parks and beaches.
From loud generators to late-night guitar sing-alongs, don’t forget: most people come to the outdoors to enjoy some peace and quiet. Take the unique opportunity to listen to the water, birdsong, wind and rain. If you have a generator, respect the campground’s policy (typically allowing use for an hour or two in the morning and/or evening) and keep machinery under 60 decibels. If you’re camping with a loud group, lower your volume after quiet time (typically 10 or 11 p.m.).
Keep Dogs on Leash
Dogs are fantastic adventure buddies, but even the friendliest four-legged friend can be a nuisance to wildlife and fellow campers. Many people are afraid of dogs or have traumatic associations with canines. Follow park regulations and keep your dog on leash—even at your campsite. The same rules apply for other adventurous pets.
Use the Facilities as Intended
Contain your fire in the designated pit and completely extinguish it before going to bed. Let the fire burn down, pour water on it, stir the coals, rinse and repeat until the ash is cold. Keep outhouses clean by putting toilet paper in the hole, not on the floor. Most flush washrooms and shower facilities require physical distancing inside, so wait your turn patiently. Check what facilities are open before leaving home so you arrive prepared.
Respect Closures and Stay Home When Sick
While many parks have partially or fully reopened, others remain closed. Some parks are only open to provincial residents, so stay local whenever possible. Do not venture into closed areas. Get a day pass when it is required. Bring everything you might need from home to avoid interacting with people from other communities. Wear a face mask when asked and stay home if you feel unwell. Let’s err on the side of caution to keep our family, friends and neighbours safe out there.
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