We’ve all had to camp next to an obnoxious campsite where the voices and music got louder through the night, the sound of clinking beer bottles, barking dogs, and foul language filled the air, along with the noise of a car, motorcycle, RV engine or generator revving throughout the night. What is a camper to do? Most folks understand basic camping etiquette, but there are some people out there that just don’t get it.
Some steps you can take to avoid, or deal with an unruly campsite neighbor begin with knowing your campground. If you can only camp during high season, you can expect to have someone in your campsite who will be disruptive. If you are able to camp during the off season, your chances are reduced substantially. If you are able to camp in the back country, you will most likely be able to sleep peacefully (unless there is a lot of wildlife such as wolves, coyotes, bugling elk or other critters that are active throughout the night).
If you camping in a National Park, get to know the campground host upon arrival. Find out where their campsite is, what their availability is (usually 24/7), and what to do in the event of a disruptive campsite. That way, you are somewhat prepared ahead of time, and if you do have a camping neighbor start to act up, you can always get up in the darkness of the night, walk to the campground host site, bang on the door, and notify them of the disturbance. From that point, either the camp ground host will contact the noisy campers, or a Park Ranger law enforcement officer will be notified to contact the disruptive campers and even write them a citation or remove them depending on the the seriousness of the offense.
What if you are unable to locate the campground staff. One option is to try to live with the disturbance until morning, and then move on to a new location at a decent hour. Another is to contact the noisy campers, but I would not personally advice this course of action in fear of sparking a confrontation. Third, plan ahead for such a situation, and have phone numbers and a cell phone available so you can call in some reinforcements without giving away your identity.
You may be surprised, but there are some campgrounds that are notorious for attracting ill mannered campers. Usually campgrounds that are located near big cities and are only a short drive to get to are havens for many unruly campers. There are also large National Parks that have campgrounds which are so full in the high season, that it simply isn’t worth the bother to visit unless you go off season. Call the campground ahead of time when you are planning your next camping trip to do a little research first, before you decide to take your family there for the night.
Plan ahead, familiarize yourself with the camp site, introduce yourself to the campsite host, prepare for a wonderful time, and be prepared for what ever problems that may arise during the night, whether man made, or wildlife made. Camping is all about adventure, survival, planning and team work.
By Linda Walsh