Amor Exploring

There are many unwritten rules in the camping world and many that surround the Free Camp space. Also known as Freedom camping or Boon Docking in some countries, let me know if you have any other names for cheap or free campsite you stay at.

The top 5 Do’s and Don’ts I have experienced first hand, as a respectful camper. I try to follow the Do’s and avoid the Don’ts. Some have flexibility but others are rules that people seem to and should follow.

Often the infringer is oblivious to the fact they have broken a “RULE” or just seem to have no respect or
courtesy for the fellow traveller. It sometimes feels like they believe it is their given right to do whatever they choose.
Most of the time the best option to deal with this is to ignore them or pack up and move along. Remember we are mobile right!

1. The parking too close to another camper factor….
This is a massive discussion point on many facebook pages and seems to be the most frustrating of the broken rules…

So let me explain in case you have never experienced this…
There is a free camp site the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) (171 x 146 meters) OR the parking equvilent of 10,000 London buses. Said traveller or worse still, their convoy of two or three, decide it is a great opportunity to park right up beside one of the only other campers there. Not cool people!

I recently came accross a term for this known as SpoonDocking — a very funny image to imagine. So allow a minimum of 15 meters if possible and if it is very busy, like one of the sites I recently stayed at, consider which way you door opens and consider your noise levels. (Which takes me to point 2)

Empty Freecamp site


The wide open spaces of a Freecamp or Boom Docking site

2. Loud music or gatherings after dark.
The essence of camping includes a great campfire. To gather around the campfire solo or with friends for a few brews or a glass of Chandon under the stars is what life is all about. In order to keep the smoke contained to the fire pit and not coming out of your neighbours ears. It’s worth considering turning down the chatter and laughter volume after dark, usually around 9pm in most campsites. Really once you begin to see the campers and caravans become quite and lights going out, this is your cue to tone down the party.

As for music, this is certainly a tricky area as peoples tastes vary so much. The variety is endless, classic rock to current pop and some country in between. Now days you are likely not to have your neighbours favourites. A complete solution to this is headphones. They can be cheap handy little ones from the $2 store or a fancy pair of wireless with full bass adjustment and block out surround sound fan dangle things. The choice is yours but eitherway you are going to keep your camping friends happy and maybe even a fellow traveller who is on the road with you.

If you do want to share the same tunes or movie, consider investing in an adaptor splitter which again can be a few dollars or even a fancy bluetooth arrangement that can accept multiply headphones. Lots and lots of options out there so do some research on what best suits you and your needs.

If headphones are truly not your thing, then keep the levels low and don’t play your music for hours on end.

I’m currently writing this while listening to Billy Joel, Lennard Skinner, Phil Collins and some Queen – I’m okay with that but its been coming from my neighbours place since 10am. Oh my, said neighbour has just grabbed and electric saw, left his music rocking and just walked off into the scrubby bush — the sound of the saw is now drowning out his music! Another perfect segway to my next tip…

3. Please try to bring your campfire wood with you. If we all removed timber from the bush, it would impact the natural ecosystem with species of animals who use fallen timber as homes or to hide from predators. Some nature areas, campsites and national parks also have fines for cutting or removing timber so be aware if this is a practice you undertake. An easy and sustainable option is firewood bundles that are readily avaliable at hardware stores, road houses and fuel stops. This supports the local communities when you spend in small towns.

This camp sight has a donation box for the the local scouts group for their cut timber. Grab a bag and drop your coins in the box.

Built in Firepit at Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve


Built in Firepit at Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve

4. Leaving rubbish in the camp fire pit.
This is a another no-brainer, especially when there are rubbish bins or even a full size skip or dumpsters at the grounds for household waste. Yes, bottle caps and cans are waste, so is the foil from last nights dinner and none of them burn so DON’T leave them in the firepit. If there is no bin or rubbish can at your free camp site, take your rubbish with you out of the camp ground so that the site can be clean and ready for the next person.

This unwritten rule should also apply if the bins are full and over flowing. Wildlife love to get into food scraps and waste, this will get spread around the camp grounds. Human food also isn’t great for our native wildlife. I’m sure their ancestor birds and mammals never had a taste for Vegemite on toast or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I am not going to go into details of toilet paper waste, but people PLEASE – take it with you or ensure it is buried at least 30cm deep or paper incinerated completely in your campfire.

4B. Another vital rule that applies to any camp fire is to ALWAYS make sure it is 100% extinguished before you leave or before you retire for the night. You would like to think that this is an obvious, but I will put it in here. Another no- brainer is no campfires on total fire-ban days, this is a finable offence. The rule is as simple as it reads, No campfires on days of total fire ban””, be smart people.

5. Dogs and pets…. I love a great fur kid, don’t get me wrong and they are definitely a part of the family and have their own personalities. However, I am aware that some human types are terrified of our four legged friends, and no, not just yours, all of them. Now we can’t judge these people as everyone has their own story and we need to respect this. So if you have a four legged friend who likes to leave your camp site to go make friends and explore, consider a long lead to tie them up on your site. There are some great ones avaliable now that are even chew proof.

Your dog may be friendly and has never hurt anyone, he may be great with kids and old people, but some people just don’t need the stress on their holiday. Weekend away or life long adventure break. Keep your animal with you and everyone can have a great time.

Another pet peeve is dog poop…..
We know its not roo poo— its dog poo! Please carry your bags and make sure you clean up after your pet. Nothing worse that pulling up to a site and stepping in something unsightly.

6. Finally coming in at bonus number 6…. dust bowls and speed. Caravan parks and RV parks are often sealed or have heavy gravel. Most parks are signed with speed limits of 5km an hour or ‘walking pace’. On the opposite to this, most, if not all free camp sites are natural dirt and more often than not in the outback pure dust bowls. The simple thing to do here is to slow down to reduce the dust kicking up behind your vehicle. This will keep fellow campers who may already be sitting out having a cup of tea dust free and as a bonus you will most likely reduce the amount of dust that gets in your rig in the process.

You will pull up (without Spooning) to happy and pleased neighbours who may even invite you over to their camp fire later that night…. if you don’t crank out Billy Joel for the rest of the afternoon that is!

Happy camping all.

What other “unwritten rules” do you think exist or should exist in the free camp world? Drop your comments and share with us below.


Different places have different rules

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