Campers, by and large, are a considerate lot. They’re planners, organizers, and have a healthy respect for the environment and the wellness of others.
There are countless stories of RVers within the community helping their fellow RVer when needed, or out of simple kindness. However, there are some things that owners who host RVs at their campgrounds, RV parks, or RV resorts feel would help everyone even more.
“Camping is a proximity thing. There’s not a lot of distance, so it deserves a different level of conduct,” explains Gary Becker, owner of Indigo Bluffs, Empire, Michigan. This conduct is directed at both your neighbors at the campground as well as the folks who operate it.
Flushable wipes are not flushable. In recent years, there have been “flushable wipes” marketed to the general public – and campers have been a ready audience. The wipes are, after all, convenient. However, there is a big problem with the so-called flushable wipes currently available. First, they aren’t truly biodegradable. They do not disintegrate upon water contact. This turns into a significant issue for campground septic systems, as the collection of wipes from all the RV septic tanks add up to big wads and tangled messes that clog septic pipes and burn out lift pumps, necessitating costly repairs. This isn’t the fault of RVing consumers, but rather manufacturers “have created a false sense of security that this is okay,” explains Becker, who just completed a repair that cost several thousand dollars. And what did they find? Lots of wipes. But it’s not just wipes. “Something many RVers may not think of as important but really is would be toilet tissue,” explains Mary Pouliot, VP of Sales & Marketing The Americas, Thetford Corporation, Norcold Inc. “Many RVers avoid buying special RV toilet paper and opt for their regular household toilet paper brand. Using these household brands can cause their RV toilet to clog as well as create backups in the sewer. Instead, RVers should opt for special-made RV toilet paper, that are made specifically for RV use and created to be septic and holding tank safe as well as biodegradable, unlike regular household brand toilet papers.”
Check the labels. As with food, it’s important to check the label of any products you plan to use inside or outside your RV. Look for products that are environmentally friendly and don’t contain toxic chemicals. One example are additives RVers can add to their holding tanks. Some of these “pods” contain the toxic chemical formaldehyde. “We don’t want the water dispensed into the drain field to be toxic,” explains Becker. “Campgrounds can’t process wastewater like wastewater treatment plants. It’s important to read the label and being a conscientious consumer. It’s shocking that this stuff is allowed. We need to be mindful to make things better.” Reading the label also applies to other cleaning products. “The most important thing RVers can do to make RVing cleaner and more convenient is to make sure they are using the right cleaners on their RV surfaces. This will not only make their RV cleaner but also keep it in a good condition,” explains Pouliot. Thetford has created cleaning products with your RV in mind. This is important because regular household cleaning products don’t have the same effect on RV surfaces as they do in your home. Thetford’s cleaning products, such as Thetford® Multi-Purpose Stain Remover as well as Thetford® Aqua-Clean Surface Cleaner, are not only convenient but designed specifically for these surfaces in your RV. These, like other cleaning products made by Thetford, won’t cause damages to your RV. Damages RVers often see are breaks in the seal around their toilet, which is often caused by bleach-based household cleaners.”
Keep the noise low. Many campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts have quiet hours in place, where campers are asked to be respectful of the rest and solitude of other campers after a certain time. Again, it’s about proximity. “No matter how loud someone is, even they don’t like somebody else’s noise,” says Becker. So even if there are specific quiet hours, keeping noise to a minimal level is a considerate thing to practice all day long.
Understand terminology. With many campgrounds moving to online booking systems, it’s more important than ever for those campgrounds to communicate clearly with potential guests – and for guests to understand what everything means at the point of making a site request. Knowing some basic terminology can help save campers frustration during booking and avoid having to contact a campground directly for a response – and have to wait for the answer, which may mean losing their desired site. Foundationally, some folks just getting into camping or who see certain marketing pieces from RV campgrounds think they can’t camp there because “they don’t have an RV,” when they own a pop-up. “An RV is anything with wheels and hard sides. It can be towed or motorized, short or long. It doesn’t always mean a motorhome,” says Becker. “High end is a small part of the market. People think RV park and RV resort can’t apply to them when they have a travel trailer or a pop-up camper, but it does. Many places have spots designated for such RV types.” However, it is important to note that some parks and resorts may be specific to certain RV types. Some other pieces of terminology include full hook-up means water, electric, and sewer are included with your site for your use. There’s a difference between pad and patio – a pad is where you park your RV and a patio is a social space adjacent to your site. Mixing these terms happens frequently.
Clean up. Most RVers are good with this, but it’s a good reminder. The average campground sees 1000+ people changing over week to week. That’s a lot of RVs – and campers! You want to keep the site and the campground pristine for everyone after you to enjoy as you did. Make sure you throw away all of your trash in designated disposal areas, including bottle tops and caps from disposable beverages. And taking out the trash doesn’t mean throwing it in the fire. Lots of things don’t belong there, such as diapers and plastic. Throw out those items into waste cans instead. “When it comes to being a good neighbor and a good guest, it is important to make sure you leave the campsite the way you found it,” reminds Pouliot.
Follow these other etiquette tips so that you can make sure you’re being a good neighbor!