camping etiquette

Submitted: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 09:42
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Just wondering what the general consensus is on sharing bush camping sites. Specifically the situation where you travel 2 hours + to get to a bush camp-site, for which there are no camp bays marked, and there is limited shade. You arrive to find someone already camped in the only shade available. There is in reality plenty of room for you to camp adjacent to them (adjacent not on top of) and share the shade. Would it be considered rude to approach them and ask to share the shade or does everyone think "first in best dressed" - we should camp out in the full sun somewhere else?
Another scenario which actually happened to us last week - drove 130km on terrible road to get to a national park camp site - arrived later than we had intended - very dark- and were told by the existing campers - " this site if full- you will have go back"! In the light of the next day we could see that there was room for us to make a single night camp. Opinions?
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:07

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:07
First of all , Plan your trip so that you arrive in daylight with plenty of time to set up. There can be plenty of mistakes when setting up in the dark, Ie setting up on an ants nest or in close proximity, under old trees with limbs that can easily fall, and last of all disturbing campers that are already set up with kids already settled down.
Secondly ask those other campers if any if you could set up nearby and share shade. You may get a heavy snorer or someone with a baby etc.
Often people go bush camping for the solitude and do not want company.
I for one do not like people camping less than 10mtrs away.
If you have a Genny be very carefull where you use it and at what time as the consensus is the genny should be out by 10 pm at the latest.
In the case of your last scenario I would have helped to set you up for one night and next day seen what could be done to accommodate you. With the right approach this is usually done.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:15

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:15
Yes we learnt our lesson regarding arriving late. A series of mishaps on the journey - we probably should have turned back and cancelled the trip. It was a disaster from start to the very finish (double puncture 2 kms from home)
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Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:54

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:54
Hey, Dodger, what an excellent reply, covered the lot. Hope to share a campsite somewhwere one day. cheers...oldbaz.
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:14

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:14
Always an interesting question.

Same as the noise issue. Different people go camping for different reasons, some for the peace and quiet, others as a group to have a bit of a shindig in the bush.

A while back we lobbed beside a group of youngsters who sat up till about 4am playing guitars and singing folk songs. Didn't bother us, and even if it did it would have been our own stupid fault for camping next to a big group.

So I suppose to some extent I do believe in the first in best dressed principle.


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Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:30

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:30
Well doc we have never experienced immediate rejection, even when space was a bit light on. Generally someone will yell out to come over for a beer or a cuppa as soon as we had the camper up. Those who know the area will often suggest the pick of whats left and help guide you in, looking out for each other is a two way street and it seems like you may have missed out.
On the other hand we like plenty of space but if shade was important I am sure 95% of the campers we have encountered would be happy to share, after all what you miss out on in the morning you will pick up in the afternoon more than likely, as long as our solar panel can pick up three or four hours sunlight we are OK.
We have learned to arrive in plenty of time before dark (sometimes late happens).
Paul H
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:36

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:36
We certainly did feel rejected. Drove around in the dark and found a secondary camping area with some marked out sites. This too was pretty full. We found an empty site, backed in and did a "quick camp" set-up(3-4 minutes). The people camped next to us took one look at us - didn't say hi, grabbed their tiny 2 man dome tent - ripped it out of the ground and moved it to the other side of their car. Made us feel like lepers! The only one who didn't mind sharing was the jolly great spider in the long drop toilet!!!
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Reply By: Wizard1 - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:47

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:47
We appreciate our space and privacy when camping and try to keep a respectable distance from other campers. We expect others to do the same. UNfortunatley not all apply etiquette or a reasonable amount of respect for others.

We've had the other extreme where !@#$holes setup mere metres from us with loud music and drinking with the sole purpose of forcing us to move so the could get our spot.

Yes, its first in best dressed. If you lucked out on the good spot well lesson learned for next time I suppose.

Some times you need to have the confidence to just setup where you want despite what others might think or say.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:03

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:03

We only use a tree line as a possible wind break and not to create shade. We don't like the chances of falling tree bows. (It creates damage to the tent, or camper and anyone who might be in it)

Our camping setup enables us to sit under our own self created shade with the awning on the Oztent, or the annex of the camper trailer.

Now, if you are specifically talking about the National gathering at Innamincka, ALL BETS ARE OFF and you can ignore the comments above:-))


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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:42

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:42
Sand Man, this reminds me! It has never failed to surprise me that people would arrive into the desert country at about 4:30 pm and demand shade tree, now I'm talking winter time here, I am also talking one night stands, you know, leaving at 8:30 am next morning, don't worry about seeing anything in town or area. It further amazes me that people don't 'make their own shade' - it's not that difficult. And, Sand Man, I intend to camp under a tree at Innamincka - it's the fifteenth tree from the middle of the area but to the right of that one on the left. Don't camp there and don't even come near there - and don't let Gone Bush either.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:30

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:30
If my memory serves me correctly, last time I was at Innamincka I took a leak under that tree.

More importantly:

Help, everybody!!

I'm being stalked !!

I'm going to hire a security firm to come with me for protection.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 11:40

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 11:40
Hi there Ruth,

My memory of the Town Common at Innamincka is somewhat vague.
We had a look during one of our excursions into "town" but wouldn't normally camp there. I seem to recall high trees scattered along the bank of the Cooper at the Common.

We actually preferred Cullyamurra Waterhole for more secluded camping.

The National Gathering is a different thing however and we will join the mob at the Common, for a few days camping.

Actually, we may have to visit Cullyamurra. One of the competitions being mooted about, was a prize for the largest yabbie and I know just where they live and breed:-))


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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:08

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:08
If people set up too close with the obvious intention of driving you out with their noise and boozing just sit out the front of your tent and clean your shotgun.

Look down the barrells a couple of times to see if they are clean while casually pointing it across their place.

It will make their beer taste awful.
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:28

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:28
Or play your Banjo LOL


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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:43

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:43
That's not going to work for me, Gone Bush, be warned! Be careful where you camp at Innamincka - be very careful.
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Reply By: Member No 1- Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:40

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:40
nothing rude about it if you ask politely...
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 14:37

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 14:37
Most of my camping for pleasure (as opposed to prospecting) is done in the Vic High Country. It may take me some hours over rough and demanding tracks to get into camp sites I know. At these places I can camp for weeks and neither see nor hear another soul... bliss.... :)

On the one occasion I arrived at one of "my" sites and found another person there I said "Hi" to them, had a chat for five minutes then turned around to find somewhere else to camp. As it's usually late in the day when I arrive at my camps I always note "emergency" spots by the track in the last few km before the site and, on this occasion, I spent the night in one of those spots before moving on the next day.

I put considerable effort into finding and reaching these remote camps, I do so in order that I may have solitude whilst I am there - I do not expect others to camp within hearing distance.

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Lyds - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 17:27

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 17:27
I had some boof heads starting to set up tent right in front the tow bar on my CT. It wasn't as if the place was full, they moved after I pointed out the tread patterns off my Patrol - Coopers are good like that :-)
AnswerID: 304896

Reply By: Member - AVA 191 (QLD) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:37

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:37
Regarding the National park camp being "full" - the rangers usually mean that the number of bodies camping, has matched the limit that the facilities can handle. Thus it's full. There will usually be enough room to fit more tents etc in - just the dunnies and showers will be overloaded.

You would think one night wouldn't hurt anyone, in the situation you mentioned.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 21:18

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 21:18
It wasn't the ranger who gave us short shrift - it was another camper. No showers or facilities at this national park- just the long drop toilet(unisex).No showers, no bins, no power. No way of checking out how many camped there until we arrived.
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Follow Up By: Member - AVA 191 (QLD) - Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 19:37

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 19:37
Yes Doc - I was aware the other campers told you that - I thought it interesting when we have gone to campsites (with amenities) and see the "FULL" signs displayed, when there was ample spare real estate for more tents. So last time this happened, we queried the Ranger and received the above explanation. I thought others might like to know, even though it doesn't really relate to your experience.
All the best.
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Reply By: equinox - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:57

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 19:57
In my opinion, if somebody rocked up at my already established camp under a shady tree, then I would be most annoyed at their presence. I probably wouldn't say anything though as I am a polite chap most of the time.

On the other hand if I wanted to set up near my favorite shady tree and found someone already there I would either camp well away from them or find somewhere else to camp down the road.

There will always be people who don't give a dam about anyone else bar themselves though so there's not a lot we can do.


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Reply By: Crackles - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:52

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:52
1st scenario set up in the sun or move on down the road. Most who bush camp appreciate their privacy & if they are in first then they are best dressed. In most cases when there is free camping there are other options available.
On the 2nd most National Parks have dedicated areas set aside so really one has to camp where they can. Particularly at busy times if anyone uses this type of camp you simply must expect to have your guy ropes overlapping. I would have set up in any space available & offered them a drink.
What I don't understand is when camping in remote areas other groups pull up right on your doorstep despite there being any number of options then don't even bother talking to you. Are these city people wanting the security of neighbours like at home?
Cheers Craig............
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 03:25

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 03:25
Had exactly that happen to me some years ago in the Wonnangatta Valley, back before it became the most populated spot in the VHC. Found a nice spot, set up our camp, then went down to the river for some water and a dip. Came back to find another 4WD, trailer with two small motor bikes and at least 4 kids, wife etc... I couln't actually squeeze in between the front of where my car was parked and his tent!

In this situation I just packed up and found somewhere else. As we were driving out, this guy came up and asked"..I hope we wer not the reason you are moving...?" My reply, "...if I wanted to camp like this, I would have gone to the Angelsea Caravan Park..." I'm a very affable chap and will have a chat to anyone, but this just got right up my nose. There was at least 25km of beautiful valley to camp in.

Is this sort of behavious arrogant? ....Rude? or do these people just lack any sort of understanding of others?


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Follow Up By: Bware (Tweed Valley) - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 09:00

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 09:00
Yeah, I don't understand this behaviour either. My wife and I while camping once had a group of people start setting up large communal tarps etc. This was ok as it was a large area and we didn't expect to get it to ourselves. But after going for a walk we returned to find more people had arrived and tents set up everywhere around us. We were on the edge of the track and the only space was our tent and car. There was nowhere beside our tent to 'live' and they had claimed all the fireplaces. We packed up and left and they thought it was funny.

It doesn't only happen when camping. Often when at the beach I get out of the water to find someone else laying their towels out right beside mine on an empty beach. Or come back from the supermarket to a virtually empty carpark to find another car parked close enough to mine to make it hard to open the doors. I just wonder 'WTF?'

I've often wondered whether it is a a security thing (or insecurity).


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Reply By: OzTroopy - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:34

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:34
I prefer my solitude and normally go to locations that ensure that.
Now that all wheel drive station wagons have become the family car, these locations are getting harder to find.

Expect to be crowded out and disturbed in large common area campsites close to suburbia.

Company is fine depending on their behaviour. Young'uns and folk music till 4am would be acceptable in my books. Someone my age playing early Cold Chisel at full volume with a belly full of grog, would not.

Ditto for bloody generators. You want electricity - stay at home in my books or use facilities that have it provided. To those of you who can't live without it in the bush, yet have had the decency to buy a noiseless inverter - I thank you.

I always appraise someone coming into my camps. If they are friendly ( say g'day ) and considerate ( camp a reasonable distance away ) then I will offer the use of my existing fire place and put up a shower screen. For the others - get your own wood and prepare to be horrified - I was here first.
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Paula - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 19:03

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 19:03
We need to be tolerant when camping (or just living for that matter). Generators when used responsibly are fine. You don't like them - fine. Talk (civilly) to the people and most times you will sort it out. I always feel frustrated at posts where people are criticised for their choices. Live and let live - please!(PS I use solar and have a generator for back up!)
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 02:55

Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 02:55
Steve & Paula

TOLERANCE ?????????

Oh of course.............heaven forbid that I should drive for hours, set up camp in a quiet location
( not a rowdy communal camping area ) so as enjoy the surroundings, to be amused by the antics of the wildlife and be impressed by the clear skies, without being tolerant of someone, who comes in after me, dragging half an ARB or TJM store with them because they can't survive for two days without power points, fridges, T.V.s and enough lighting to make their campsite look like downtown Sydney.

Ooops.......but there I go again, I've forgotten the state of todays world - it's changed now, every body else has rights but not me.

My apologies if you thought my generator comment was a reflection on your choice of owning one. My attitude is based on the, too many I have encountered, exercising their " presumed " right to use one, regardless of those in their proximity or the suitability of the location.

Also, I thought the thread was about etiquette not hospitality. That being the case - If I'm second into a smaller, remote campsite, it's up to ME to be CONSIDERATE of those all ready there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Paula - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 18:30

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 18:30
Perhaps this post makes the point better than I did originally!!! "It's all about me!" Like the hippies said - "Peace man!"
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Reply By: Ozboc - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 18:03

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 18:03
I for one believe in the " first in best dressed" - some places we go to - it takes up 5 hours driving to get to our spot - so if we wanted to be with other people in close proximity , we would go to a caravan park. ANd another reason why we leave on Friday night not Saturday morning if going away for a weekend

BUT if people insist on camping close to us , then they have to deal with 4 kids - 2 at the age of 4 years ( boy girl ) 7 9 yr boys

Normally one look at 4 kids is enough for people to choose a more secluded spot ;)

AnswerID: 305111

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Friday, May 23, 2008 at 07:43

Friday, May 23, 2008 at 07:43
I recall in Chichester/Millstream NP, WA a camper had taken it on himself to oversee the camping area near the river and even though there was room asked us to move on. We had the last laugh when a flock of cockatoos landed in the trees above and proceeded to do their business.

Now retired I can afford the luxury of camping mid week out of school holidays and find there aren't many people around.
On club trips I arrive on the Friday and leave on the Monday. :)

I don't camp under large trees due to the obvious risks but believe shade on a hot day should be shared. I run a tarp off the side of the car in any case so it's not an issue.

OK with courteous neighbors as long as they are not right on top of you.
AnswerID: 305402

Follow Up By: oz doc - Friday, May 23, 2008 at 08:52

Friday, May 23, 2008 at 08:52
Sounds like the same person is still camping there- it was Millstream that we went to last week and got turfed out of.
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