[ Camping ][ Nature Lovers ]

At The Heart of Camping Do’s and Don’ts

Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes only. Please do your own research before venturing out into the great unknown. 🙂

At The Heart Of Camping Do’s and Don'ts

It’s summer and camping is under full sway. For the experienced campers and outdoor enthusiasts they may feel that they got it all covered.

But do you? 

There are many levels of outdoor and camping experiences from “glamping” in a cabin or camper to roughing it on the ground with a tarp and tree branches. 

Everyone can enjoy the outdoors on their own terms, and within their own comfort zone. 

However, there is a commonality between all forms of outdoor enjoyment. 

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics started roughly 25 years ago. Their goal is to educate people on how to not only explore the outdoors safely, but to leave as little impact as possible. Their educational tools are at the heart of all levels of outside exploration and camping. 

Remember, Leave No Trace is not an excuse to bully or shame people from going outside and exploring, which unfortunately has been a growing trend on social media groups. 

With that in mind let’s go over some general do’s and don’ts when camping, hiking, or exploring the great outdoors. 

8 Do’s and Don’ts of Camping

DO check the weather and be aware if the area you are visiting is prone to sudden or severe storms. This will allow you to plan accordingly on your equipment needed or the duration of your stay. 

DON’T hike up rivers when there is a storm coming in or a flash flood advisory has been issued. I know this seems like it should be obvious, but not everyone grew up hiking mountain streams. Flash floods are quick, strong, and extremely deadly. Most people who get caught in them don’t die from drowning but from being hit by the debris in the water, like trees. 

DO pack foods that you enjoy. 

Pro tip. Cheese is hard to clean up and can attract animals, same with grease from various meats, so pack in precooked meat and individual cheese packs and avoid gooey messes. 

DON’T pour food scraps on the ground or keep food in your tent. These small bits of food can and will attract animals, and I’m not just talking about cute squirrels. Bears, skunks and raccoons have been known to try and rustle up some grub from careless campers. So store your food in bins and keep locked in a vehicle or 100 yards from your sleeping area. When washing off food scraps try to catch in a colander, sifter, paper towel, or even cotton cloth and place in your garbage bag. 

DO pack out what you pack in. This goes for car campers or hikers alike. Pick up all trash and only burn items that are safe to do so. Remember that aluminium cans and bottles don’t burn and take a very long time to break down. When these are thrown carelessly into fire pits it creates a hazardous environment for animals and future campers. So be sure to have trash bags for all your garbage, and if you are camping where you have to dig your own toilet this includes your toilet paper. It is not very biodegradable so please pack it out.

Pro tip: Doggie poop bags are a lightweight option that also has a smell barrier built in. Bonus!

DON’T put too much trust in electronics to guide you. Be sure to have a compass and paper map of the area and know how to use them. Electronic compasses and geotrakers are only as good as the software has been kept uptodate, or as long as the battery is good. 

DO have fires when they are allowed and in designated areas. This includes backcountry hiking/camping. Look for areas where people have been before, this will save you time and save the area from having too much of the vegetation harmed by tents and fire pits. 

DON’T leave a fire unattended. Be sure to put the fire out completely before leaving an area. A smoldering fire can and has caused massive forest fires harming humans and wildlife alike. Before you depart follow these steps: Douse, Stir, Feel. Repeat if needed. 

Warning from the National Forest service. 

I’ve been hiking/camping since I was a small child so I didn’t require a ton of research for this first camping article but I did check out the Leave Not Trace website and the National Forest Foundation website just for fun. 

I like both as reliable resources and guides for how to have safe and responsible fun while in nature. 

However there was a warning on the NFF website that I found amusing. 

“DON’T compromise the environment just to get a good Instagram photo: trampling sensitive vegetation, vandalizing rocks or trees, setting up camp in sensitive areas or camping where it’s illegal ruins it for others (if you post photos of you and your friends doing illegal things, the Forest Service will track you down. They have people).”


But seriously, let’s not do anything illegal just to boost our social media likes.

Special Note for this season: Many areas are going through a drought this camping season so be sure to check the burn status of the area you are planning on camping in so you can plan your trip accordingly. 

As always, be safe and have fun while exploring the great outdoors. 

Comment on your favorite places to camp and any hacks that you use.

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About Author

Jenn Gaskin

After more than a decade in education I decided to turn my copious skills to writing. I have been freelance writing for Dancing Tree Gifts (formerly Sonora Kay Creations) since 2019. I wear many hats with DTG primarily copy editor, author, and web design.