Camping is a Canadian pastime that’s almost as popular as playing hockey, and to make this sojourn with nature as pleasant an experience as possible for all involved—be it fellow campers, future ones or even the environment itself—there are certain courteous behaviours you can adopt. Here’s how to be a considerate camper with a “leave no trace” mentality. (And hey, being considerate is the Canadian way.)
Keep the noise down
Parks Canada considers 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. quiet hours on their campgrounds, so be mindful of others who may be sleeping during these times and save the clinking, clanking and loud chatter for later. Nobody likes having his or her sleep interrupted—and neither would you!
Keep technology use to a minimum
Despite the fact that Parks Canada has introduced Wifi hot spots in some of their parks to attract more young people, no one wants to hear smartphone notifications or a cell phone ringing in the middle of the forest. That kind of defeats the point of camping. You should be connecting with nature instead of to the internet, so try to use technology only when necessary.
Ensure any waste is cleaned up
Keep your campsite clean—don’t let it turn into an eyesore or worse yet, have your trash spill over to another camper’s space. Put all your litter in the park’s bear-proof garbage containers or keep it all in one place to take with you if there’s nowhere to dispose of it. A tidy area free of food odours will decrease the chances of attracting hungry animals.
Minimize your environmental impact
Be kind to the land you’re camping on: recycle whatever you can, and dispose of waste water in designated places on the site instead of into the lake, stream or on the ground. Remember: “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
Dispose of human waste properly
If there aren’t washroom facilities where you’re camping, put some effort into moving away from the site a little—as well as any natural water sources—to dig a cathole. Use plain, non-perfumed toilet paper and dispose of it by burying it in the cathole or pack it out with you (don’t burn it!).
Follow on- and off-leash rules
If you’ve brought your pet, respect the campground’s rules about on- and off-leash areas. For the most part, you should keep it on a leash (well away from any campfire) so that it doesn’t get into or attract trouble. Never leave pets unattended and be sure to pick up after them.
Be considerate of others
Always walk around other people’s campsites—don’t walk through them—and watch where you shine your flashlight—it could be an unexpected shock to fellow campers. If you have leftover firewood, leave it for the next people.
Greet other campers you encounter. You’re all part of a camping community, and camaraderie makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Help each other out if you can.