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RV camping etiquette

Emily’s Post: A Brief Guide to RV Camping Etiquette

Emily’s Post: A Brief Guide to RV Camping Etiquette 1

Once upon a time in America, a well-bred socialite named Emily Post served as the nation’s authority on etiquette. 

Well, this here Emily can’t help you with the logistics of proper place settings (The heck is a shrimp fork?) but I can offer you a few tips on being a polite camper. No cloth napkins required! 

Because I am writing this blog during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ll start with the caveat that camping etiquette now includes respecting the health of others by maintaining social distancing and sanitary protocols. 

Much as we crave our former levels of interaction, this is a time when it’s absolutely okay to politely decline an invitation to a potluck or other gathering — unless you know your neighbors well and/or are comfortable with the level of safety precautions that will be taken.

Further, some of these suggestions are more appropriate for campgrounds; others for boondocking. Use the ideas that work best for your situation. 

RV Camping Etiquette: First, Foremost, and Above All

Be smart. Be kind. Be considerate. 

Think about what you are about to do. Would it make your mama yell at you? Using your middle name? Then don’t do it.


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Pick up after your pets and carry more poo bags than you think you’ll need. I’ve been a dog’s human; I’m pretty sure that dogs count how many bags you’ve got, and intentionally hunch one extra time.

Pick up after yourselves too, and if you’re willing, clean up trash left behind by those who were not as considerate. Wear gloves for safety, and just like with your doggie, carry more bags than you think you’ll need.  

Consider making an extra effort toward trash removal when camping for free on public lands. Leaving your site better than you found it is a great way to pay back for the privilege.

Speaking of which, have you read the Escapees RVers Boondocking Policy? If you haven’t familiarized yourself with it, please take a minute. I’ll wait.


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Obey posted quiet hours and remember: Nobody will be mad if you stop playing your music an hour earlier than specified. I promise.

If you’re arriving late or departing early, do be a love, and quietly latch your RV and vehicle doors rather than letting them slam. 

If your windows are open, be especially mindful of your noise level. Maybe try wearing headphones instead of blasting your latest Netflix binge to everyone within a 50-yard radius? And for the love of thin RV walls, keep your arguments to a fierce whisper through clenched teeth. Bonus: it’s scarier than yelling.

As for noisy dogs, we all know how annoying it is to live with or near an incessant yipper. Here’s an expert (and fellow Escapee!) who can help. Read Stop Barking! How to Train Your Dog to be a Good RV Neighbor.


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If you’re camping out in the boonies, ask your neighbors if they need anything when you run into town. And if they’ve asked you the same, don’t hand them your entire list; keep it to the top few necessities.

While folks are hitching or unhitching their RV is not the time to strike up a conversation. Too many things can go sideways if you distract them. 

And please don’t be the guy who asks, “Packing up?” when your neighbor is clearly doing exactly that. You already know the answer, genius.

Help your freshly arrived neighbors park their rig only if they’ve asked you to, and if you’ve just got to watch, do it by peeking out a crack in your blinds like a normal person. It’s a stressful time for the driver and spotter, so refrain from sitting outside in your lawn chair peanut gallery.


Sometimes you’ll be handed a long set of rules when you check in at a campground. Familiarize yourself with them and be a good guest. Yes, we know most of those rules could be summarized by saying “Don’t be a jerk,” but unfortunately, some campers need more specific instructions than that.


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Respect physical boundaries by going around rather than cutting through others’ camp sites to get where you want to go.

And don’t encroach upon your neighbor’s space with your vehicle, awnings, or personal belongings.

For boondocking in the great wide open, don’t pull right up next to someone else’s RV or block their perfect view when there are literally acres and acres of available space. Seriously, nobody likes that.

Stay with your laundry until it’s done or set a timer if you leave it in the campground washer/dryer. Nobody wants to delay washing their stinkies while you take your sweet time ambling back to the laundry room.

And for the social media influencers among us, ask permission before filming or snapping pics of others, especially children, and inform them that you plan to post to a public account. 

Likewise, if you’re narrating video of your group camping event as it’s happening, do so from a respectful distance so that others can enjoy it without feeling like they’re on the set of a wildlife documentary.

In short, use your common sense, and nobody will have to use your middle name! 

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Emily Rohrer

Emily and her husband, Tim, have been living in, traveling in, and intermittently working from a 5th wheel since 2015. They’ve decided that the lifestyle suits them well enough to stop guessing at how long they’ll keep at it. Who needs the pressure of a timeline? Find them online at www.OwnLessDoMore.us.  

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