One of the main reasons for being in nature is the quiet solitude. Most people go camping to get away from noise pollution in the city. Nature is relaxing and enjoyable but sometimes you get the urge to listen to your favorite music. With this in mind, try to be courteous to others. You might not be aware of quiet campers nearby. I know I’ve gone exploring after setting up camp only to find Someone’s nearby within throwing distance.
With everyone having a smartphone our source of music is only a few inches away from us at all times. Portable speakers are quite good while managing to be lightweight and compact. If you love music the temptation to use them outdoors can be strong. If this is you, remember that in the wilderness sound can carry for miles in an otherwise quiet landscape. Beware that loud music can be distracting from your surroundings, opening yourself up to dangerous situations, be it from animals, weather or other people.
Zoning Out on The Trail
I rarely use headphones and I never use them while hiking up the mountain but I do like to have the option to use them. They have come in handy as I’m getting close to my car after a long trip. I’ve noticed hiking with my brother that he likes to use headphones when the trail becomes long and he needs to zone out to finish a hard hike.
Many people nowadays rely heavily on personal electronics, I’m one of those people. I’ve even thought about bringing my laptop on multi-day backpacking trips but I never have. On these longer outdoor trips I’m always with someone, typically my brother or another family member. Also, the thought of the extra weight in my pack has always made me quickly dismissed the idea.
A few years ago I was on a multi-day fishing trip with a friend and his nephew. His nephew must have been on his laptop a good six hours a day. He wasn’t browsing for fun or playing, he was completing a work project. I remember him trying to participate in conversations but it was too hard to concentrate on work and Friends. I’m glad he was out there and he told me he had a fun time but he was never really “ with us”.
General Campsite Etiquette
- Respect the quiet hours. Playing your music a little louder during the daytime is fine but at night time turn the volume it way down or just off. It’s also good for campgrounds of when you’re coming or leaving, just be aware of the blaring lights and making noise if you’re coming into camp late.
On the other side, if you’re already in camp be aware that people coming in late might have just left from a long shift at work. Given the choice, they would probably want to come earlier but just weren’t able to leave work when they wanted to.
- Keep your dog leashed. I’m pretty relaxed about this because I think people with dogs should know how they are going to react around other people. I never brought a dog to a campsite but I’m comfortable if a dog’s demeanor is safe. I have friends that keep their dogs unleashed while camping. The dogs are under close supervision and incredibly well behaved. know your pets! It also should go without saying always pick up your dog’s mess.
- Avoid walking through someone’s campsite if you can. People can be weird about space and everyone’s comfort level is different.
- Don’t burn your trash. The obnoxious smell of plastics fuming off from a campfire can be smelled by everyone. It’s best to just collect your trash, compact it as much as you can and dispose of it the proper bins or later as you leave.
- If someone declines your help, respect their wishes. If someone is setting up their tent or moving their trailer and they look like they’re struggling it’s always nice to ask if they can use a hand. When someone declines they might just have their own way of doing things even if it’s unorthodox.
- Turn your lights off when you’re done with them. This goes for string lights, cab lights, and porch lights. People often go camping to get away from noise and light pollution. If you’re from a city you might not be aware of it. I guess this is because you’re used to bright lights being everywhere. Generally, people want darker campsite.
- Just be polite if someone or something’s bothering you. If you confront someone about a problem be aware it might be their first time or maybe they’re just different kinds of campers. They might not even aware of the issue. People are more generally likely to change their behavior from a pleasant conversation instead of a confrontational one.
- Beware of your children. I’ve seen on Facebook groups people complaining about children being too loud in the important thing to remember is that you want all kids to have great experience camping. We also need to be aware that your noise tolerance to your kids, will be different from others. This one hits a little close to home for me because I have 3 wild little children. I know before I had children my tolerance for noise wasn’t nearly as high as it is now. Maybe I’m guilty of this from time to time.
I’d hate to ruin someone’s experience but the reality is electronics are just part of our daily lives now. Sometimes electronics are a joy and necessary. Taking pictures on your hike, making an emergency call or timing how fast do you get up the trail. When used right they add our experience, when used wrong we can become a distraction to us and others. Have your enjoyment but don’t impose it on others.