The Roaming Neighbor: Respecting RV Etiquette In Yellowstone

RV in Yellowstone National Park

Camping is making a comeback, with more than 7 million American households joining the camping movement in the last five years. A large reason for this increase is the urge to be close to nature, something Yellowstone can offer in abundance. While many people still choose tents to take on their camping trips, a growing number opt for RV camping, and with that comes specific camping etiquette to ensure that all campers can enjoy the natural beauty of the area without disturbing either the environment or fellow travelers. The West Yellowstone, Montana area is home to a number of campsites that welcome RVs, so be sure to check for site-specific rules as well as brushing up on the more general RV etiquette.

Arriving And Driving

Most campgrounds have a 5mph limit, so when you arrive, be sure to obey this. Many families view a campsite as a safe space, so children and dogs are often running around, and the speed limit is there to protect them. If you arrive late, try to minimize noise as much as possible so as not to disturb other campers. Leave as much of your set-up as you can until the morning – perhaps you can leave attaching your water supply for the time being, for example, and simply plug into a power source for the night. Similarly, if you need to leave early in the morning, keep noise to a minimum, and pack up as much as you can the night before. If there are plenty of spots available when you arrive, try not to park up beside someone else: everyone values their space and privacy on vacation, and having plenty of it is best for everyone.

A family picnic. (Photo courtesy of Dobson Entertainment)

Clean And Tidy Campers

Aim to leave the campsite cleaner than it was when you arrived. Pick up all waste as you go along, and be sure to check your area before you leave. If you’re traveling with a dog, be sure to pick up after them throughout your stay, and take all waste from your RV to the designated area as soon as it’s ready – avoid the temptation to let it build up outside. Similarly, try to minimize the amount of equipment you store outside the van – keeping too much outside can be unsightly for other campers and disturb the beauty of the area. Ensure that toilet waste is disposed of properly using the facilities provided. All types of camper vehicle toilets must be emptied regularly in a sanitary way: make sure you know exactly how to handle the one in your van before you camp, and be sure to spray down the dump station after emptying your tanks.

Being A Good Neighbor

Most of being a good neighbor in an RV simply comes down to common sense. However, there are a few details that may not be obvious to first-time campers. Noise travels easily around a campground, so respect the site’s quiet periods, and be mindful of the volume of TVs and radios inside the van. Light can also be disturbing at night, so make sure your shades are drawn if you’re up late. Respect other people’s shades too: if shades are drawn, it indicates that fellow campers don’t want to be disturbed, so respect their privacy. If you’re enjoying a campfire, be mindful of noise, and make sure it is safely extinguished before you turn in for the night. Don’t leave campfires, dogs or children unattended, and respect the space of other campers, making sure to walk around their space rather than taking shortcuts through it. Be aware that campsites are sociable places, so introduce yourself to your neighbors, and be open to helping out when it’s needed.

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fox

West Yellowstone is the perfect place to set up camp, and explore the natural beauty of the area. By obeying campsite rules and respecting RV etiquette, you can be sure to get the most out of your camping trip, leaving behind nothing but your footprints.