If you’re new to luxury RVing, there are ten simple things you should know to keep you in the good graces of your fellow RVers and campground hosts. Whether you’re in a luxury RV resort, a national park campground, or boondocking in a national forest, following these long established, and sometimes unwritten, camping etiquette rules will ensure that your time in your luxury RV is enjoyable for you, your family, and your neighbors.
The bottom line is this: respect other RVers and the land on which you’re camping. Without further ado, here are ten simple ways you can be a good neighbor to your fellow campers.
Keep It Down
Camping etiquette tip number one is to keep the volume down. Many luxury RV resorts have quiet hours (usually 10pm-8am) where it’s expected that the volume of music, laughter, and talking will be brought way down. But even during the day it’s important to be respectful of your neighbors – not everyone has the same taste in music, so blasting your tunes at top volume will be frowned upon.
You won’t find posted quiet times at boondocking sites, but if you have neighbors, RVers tend to follow similar guidelines. This includes minimizing generator noise, both day and night. Your fellow dispersed campers are likely off grid for the peace and quiet – not to listen to someone’s generator run. If you need reliable backup power, consider solar panels, like those offered by Bowlus.
Keeping it down also applies to your lights. If you’re walking around your campsite or through the RV park at night, keep your flashlight pointed to the ground, not into your neighbor’s travel trailer. You’ll also want to turn your RV’s outside lights off at night so you’re not illuminating your neighbor’s bedroom while they try to sleep. If you’re boondocking, click those bright lights off so you and any nearby campers can do a little stargazing.
RVers tend to be a friendly group and most are willing to offer a hand or a helpful word of advice. Greet your fellow campers as you walk by and see if they want to strike up a conversation. You can ask them about their latest travels, if they’re working remotely, what their favorite camping trips were, or what camping gear they love. If you’re in a Bowlus luxury travel trailer, odds are they’re going to want to hear about your unique RV! If the conversation goes well, invite them over for happy hour. You may just make some life-long friends by breaking bread with a fellow luxury RVer.
Keep in mind that it’s best to wait until new neighbors get their site set up – running right over while someone’s setting up camp won’t be endearing!
Maintain Personal Space
There are limits to friendliness, and it’s important to know how to read the room, so to speak. This is especially true if you’re boondocking. Some people are out in nature for solitude, so don’t force it.
Maintaining personal space also means you don’t walk through someone else’s campsite, just like you wouldn’t walk through someone’s backyard. RVers in the know don’t take shortcuts to the swimming pool – they walk on the road or designated paths.
Another critical component to maintaining personal space is to keep all your gear on your campsite – don’t let bikes, kayaks, screened in rooms, your tow vehicle, or whatever else you’ve brought along to enhance your trip creep into your neighbor’s space. That means keeping your picnic table on your campsite as well. If you’re boondocking, you should also keep your stuff contained in a reasonable amount of space!
Boondocking pros will also tell you that it’s a major faux pas to park your RV too close to your neighbor. You also want to make sure you don’t block their view with your RV. The whole point of boondocking is to escape crowded campgrounds and experience the peace and quiet of nature. Maintaining some distance will also ensure that the noise you make doesn’t interfere with your neighbors (and vice versa).
Leave No Trace
Whether you’re in an established campground or boondocking, you don’t want to be a litterbug. Nobody wants to pull into a campsite littered with other people’s garbage. If you bring it in, you should take it back out! Not only is trash annoying to the next person who camps at the site, it can be very dangerous for wildlife and harmful to the ecosystem. Burn what you can in your fire pit, use the dumpsters at the campground, and if you’re boondocking, take your garbage home or to the nearest dumpster.
More than just cigarette butts, plastic snack wrappers, and wine bottles, you need to take all your waste with you. It’s illegal to dump your black tank and gray tank at your boondocking campsite so you’ll need to know your RV wastewater tank limits before you go. If you’re in an established campground, either use your site’s sewer connection or the dump station. If you’re in a Bowlus, it’s easy to transport the cassette from your toilet to the nearest public bathroom.
Take It Slow
Speeding in a campground or dispersed camping area is frowned upon and dangerous. Make sure you obey posted speed limits in campgrounds and keep it under 10 miles per hour in boondocking camping areas. Camping is a popular family activity, which means campgrounds will have kids and pets running around. Caught up in the fun of camping, either could step into the road without looking. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for ever-present bikes rolling through the camping area.
Many campground roads aren’t paved, especially if you’re boondocking, and that’s another reason to keep your speed down. The dust you’re kicking up by flying down the road is going into someone’s RV if they have the windows open.
Be a Good Parent
Speaking of kids, if you’re traveling with young folks, camping etiquette requires you to keep track of them. That means supervising the little ones just like you would at home and making sure the older ones are well versed in camping etiquette.
Be a Good Pet Parent
There are a lot of great camping dogs in the world, and most campgrounds welcome them. You’ll find established campgrounds have written rules for pet parents, but these guidelines are good practices for boondockers to employ as well.
Cardinal rule number one for RVers with dogs is to clean up after them. Need we say more?
Campground rules typically require that you keep your dog on a leash and not leave Fido unattended outside your RV (some say you can’t leave them unattended inside your RV either). While it may be tempting to let your dog roam free, you don’t know how your pup will react in a new situation with new people, other dogs, and potentially the resident wildlife. For their safety and others, keep them under control.
You also need to take steps to avoid excessive barking, especially if you’ve left your pooch unattended in your RV. If your dog struggles with separation anxiety or just loves the sound of her own voice, don’t leave her alone for long periods of time. Either bring her with you on your hike or leave her at home with a trusted pet sitter.
Be Weather Aware
RV etiquette says you’re always weather aware. If winds are expected to kick up, secure your belongings so they aren’t blown into your neighbor’s campsite. It’s also common practice to put your awning down when you leave on windy days.
Camp in Designated Areas Only
If you’re heading off grid, you’ll want to make sure you’re setting up in designated dispersed camping areas. Creating your own site damages the natural beauty you and your fellow RVers are there to enjoy. Ask a ranger if you have questions about where you can park your luxury RV.
Boondocking pros also obey the stay limits on the site. Most off grid sites are limited to 14 days to ensure that more people can enjoy the area.
Follow Campground Rules
Last but not least, and this should go without saying, follow the campground rules and the guidelines established for your boondocking area. They’re in place to ensure that everyone’s stay is enjoyable, and that the area’s natural beauty is around for the next generation to experience.