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  • Writer's pictureKern River's Edge Team

3 camping etiquette tips every camper should know

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

Camping etiquette is a must. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a camping trip that you spent weeks (if not months) planning, only to encounter camp neighbors from hell.

They’re blasting loud music from a portable speaker, while you left all the radios and TVs behind. They’ve rigged their extension cord to their cigarette lighter to noisily air up their king size air mattress, while you’re prepping your self-inflating sleeping pads. They’re leaving their trash out for all the critters, while you’ve conscientiously walked your day’s trash to the secure dumpster in camp.

At Kern River’s Edge, our job is to help camping guests find common ground while camping at our site. Our ideas of the perfect campout can differ greatly from one another — however, we still have to coexist. And at the end of the day, all we’re really looking for is a wonderful, memory-filled outdoor experience.

So how do we make the most of every camping trip — while also not ruining the trip for those around us? We understand and practice camping etiquette tips.

Camping Etiquette #1: Be mindful of the noise

  • Generators are run only when necessary; they are noise pollution. If you overheat easily, we recommend the following activities: reserve a whitewater rafting tour, go for a paddle on Lake Isabella, explore the Alder Creek natural rock water slides, or hike in the Forest.

  • Speakers are audible only within your site. Everyone shouldn’t have to listen to your music, and everyone should be able to hear the calming sounds of the river around them. Many of our guests come here to escape all the noise and sounds of the city – please don’t be that person who brings these with you!

  • Keep your voice down, especially if you are a ‘night owl’ or an ‘early riser.’ Sound travels. Your family loves you and puts up with you, but your camp neighbors shouldn’t have to.

  • Keep it G rated. There are lots of families and young children at campgrounds. Don’t force them to listen to curse words or inappropriate language.

Camping Etiquette #2: Only bring socialized pets with you.

  • You should only bring socialized animals to a campground with you. This means you shouldn’t bring an animal who constantly barks at strangers or is uncomfortable and volatile around others.

  • Pet waste bags should be walked to a central trash bin immediately. We know you have the best intentions, but you are on vacation and likely sipping on an adult beverage. If you forget to walk that bag of poop to the bin, we’ll all be smelling it. And that’s not okay.

  • Keep pets on main trails or at your site. It’s impolite to walk through someone else’s campsite or allow your pet to do so.

  • Practice California leash law — which also applies when you’re visiting Kern River’s Edge private campground.

Camping Etiquette #3: Keep all trash contained.

  • Trash should always be contained or placed in a bag. You should tie a bag to the back of your truck or RV — that way, it’s off the ground and away from interested critters.

  • Always make sure to bring enough trash bags for your whole stay. While many campgrounds sell trash bags in their Souvenir Shop, that’s not always an option. Plan ahead and plan appropriately.

  • Remember that micro-trash is TRASH. What is micro-trash? Examples of micro-trash include: cigarette butts, juice box straw wrappers, bottle tops, tie-downs or string, gum wrappers, etc. Pick it up, keep it contained, and throw it away.

  • Minimize the amount of trash you create. Unpack new purchases ahead of time and recycle cardboard at home. Invest in a 3- or 5-gallon refillable water jug and bring each person their own reusable water bottle (instead of using 30 disposable water bottles). Pack a mess kit for each family member that includes a reusable plate (or bowl), utensils, and mug. Use a 24-qt storage tub to pack the mess kits in and then reuse it as your wash basin while camping.

  • Leave No Trace and leave it better than you found it. This is our personal motto at Kern River’s Edge! And keep in mind, attempting to burn plastic, beer cans, or glass bottles create toxic fumes. Why poison yourself or your family when the recycle bin is so close by?

  • Avoid glass! A large percentage of injuries occur as a result of glass. Instead, use cans, bottles, Tupperware, or reusable Ziploc containers.

Camping Etiquette — Know Before You Go

All campgrounds have a Camping Etiquette page and Kern River’s Edge Campground prints ours in both Spanish and English. This will help you properly prepare for your next visit. It’s also important to research your chosen campground ahead of time and to reuse and recycle whenever possible.

More camping tips and resources:


Recreating responsibly includes packing trash bags to leave our wild spaces cleaner than you found them. There is a glass ban in the Sequoia National Forest, so remember to use plastic storage containers, ziploc bags, or bota bags for camping gear and kitchen supplies instead of glass. Practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you pack in. See more Kern River camping tips.

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