Perhaps the worst faux pas you can commit at the campsite is not doing your part. There are some who will find any excuse to skip out on chores like setting up and taking down the tent, hanging food, getting water, gathering firewood, cooking, or cleaning. When you shirk your share of the duties, you heap more on everyone else. Similar to this is the practice of only thinking of yourself when you are doing chores, such as cleaning only one dish, filtering one bottle’s worth of water, or cooking a meal just for yourself.
I once camped overnight with a guy who snored so loudly, I kid you not, that I could not sleep. That’s never happened to me before. Not only that, but his snoring was so out of control that his nasally breathing interrupted itself periodically, only to continue on in a different melody. If you’re a snorer, be considerate and pack plenty of nasal strips. Also, be sure to let your friends know beforehand to bring ear plugs, or even another tent they can set up a little ways away. Snore too loudly without proper warning to your friends and there’s a strong chance you’ll find yourself sleeping under the stars…alone.
While we’re on the subject of overnight tent etiquette, if you’re sharing a smaller tent with people and you’re a thrasher, bring your own tent. It may sound mean, but sleeping bags aren’t the quietest things in the world. Furthermore, constantly rolling around in close quarters with other people is a recipe for an elbow or knee in someone’s face. Also, don’t be the guy who decides it’s time to have a snack once everyone’s in bed for the night. Animals have a great sense of smell and the granola bar you just whipped out is a great way to attract critters from raccoons to bears to your campsite. You can wait until morning.
If you know you’re going camping, plan accordingly and bring food. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been careful to pack a good amount of food, only to see it all disappear courtesy of the person who didn’t bring enough and always wants to “borrow” everyone else’s. It’s food; you can’t borrow it. Before hitting the trail, make it clear to your group that everyone’s responsible for their own food supply.
Oh, man; this one’s one of my pet peeves. Other people’s gear is where it is for a reason. Don’t touch it without asking. Moving stuff that isn’t yours is a surefire way to irritate others in your group. Furthermore, you run the risk of misplacing something you may need in an emergency.
Finally, I know you may think that just because there’s no trash can or maid, you can toss things wherever you want, but you can’t. There are times when camp has literally just been made and I turn around to a pig-sty. And it’s not just trash, but gear that’s just been unpacked and haphazardly left lying around. Sigh. This will cause things to become lost in a hurry.
Whether you’re a trail veteran or a newbie, it can be equally as easy to commit any one of the blunders mentioned above. Enjoying the outdoors is all about working together and enjoying yourselves, so do your part, be considerate, and be prepared to make sacrifices for the greater good. It’ll make things a lot easier on everyone.