Camping Etiquette – the ten basics

Two children doing cheers with their drinks at Glastonbury Festival
  1. Children stay up later when they are camping but you should be calling them back by nine o’clock. We all need at least an hour without them before the next day’s parenting shift begins.
  2. If you feel a blazing row coming on, both parties should retire to the car, which is more sound-proofed.
  3. Before leaving a campsite, feel free to offer any open, perishable comestibles to your fellow campers. Often, I have been grateful for open bottles of milk, loaves, vegetables etc.
  4. Pitch the door of tent facing into the field so that you appear sociable.
  5. Amplified music is no longer acceptable at a campsite. It sounds tinny and warped outdoors and the bass always ruins someone’s evening. Bongos and acoustic guitars are less frowned upon, but don’t bring them within earshot of my tent.
  6. Tents do not afford aural privacy. The Bedouins have a saying: “we pitch our tents far apart so that our hearts may stay closer together.” Sex should be conducted in as near to silence as possible. Camping backstage at a festival, a musician friend of mine disturbed my sleep by conducting an elaborate menage a trois in his little pop tent. I didn’t mind being disturbed by the sex, so much as the interminable negotiation beforehand.
  7. In a group camp, bring one item for the amazement and pleasure of the group. It could be a tripod for cooking over a campfire, a hand axe for trimming logs, or a barrel containing fifty pints of real ale. Camping is inherently socialist. Bring things to share and enjoy being equal.
  8. Once you’ve unloaded, park your car away from your tent in the campsite car park. That one simple act will make it easier for every parent to give their children a little bit more freedom to roam.
  9. Ball games in adjacent empty fields, not among the tents. I am cooking here, and I’ve got small children running around – I don’t want your ball knocking scalding hot water and coals everywhere.
  10. When striking camp, leave no trace behind. Also, minimise the amount of waste you leave in the bins. Before leaving home, decant food into reusable plastic containers and old cake tins. It’s easier to pack and you are not leaving a landfill behind.

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