Skip to Content

What Do RVers Owe Tent Campers?

What Do RVers Owe Tent Campers?

No matter where you like to camp, RVers and tent campers often have to share the space. Campgrounds frequently allow for both, which means we RVers have to be mindful of the tent campers around us.

Just what do we owe tent campers? How can we camp harmoniously?

We’re taking a look at a few things we can all do to make everyone’s trip better. 

Let’s dive in!

RV Camping and Tent Camping Are Two Totally Different Worlds

While it may seem that RV and tent camping are the same, they’re actually totally different worlds. Yes, a tent and an RV serve the same purpose, but that’s where the similarities end.

No matter how much RV campers like to think they don’t require much, tent campers require a lot less. To pack up and go tent camping, you just need a tent, a sleeping bag, clothes, a small cookstove, and a car.

RV campers, on the other hand, require a tad bit more. First, you need an RV, and if that RV is a trailer, you need something to tow it with. Most RVers also bring a car along with them. And that RV is probably loaded with items as well.

RV and Tent Campsites Are Often Side by Side

Tent and RV sites are often right next to each other. This isn’t to say that we can’t all be good neighbors. It’s just that tent campers may have a different view of camping than RVers. RV campers bring along all their toys.

Tent campers bring along the bare minimum. RV campers take up a lot of space compared to folks camping in a tent.

How to Respect Tent Campers as an RVer

While there should be mutual respect, the responsibility lies more with the RVer because RVers generally require more. Here are some ways to be mindful of your tent camping neighbors.

1. Be Mindful of Quiet Hours

During quiet hours, turn down music, limit conversation, and wrap up your parties or gatherings. With an RV, quiet hours also include not running generators and knowing how loud your movie is.

That kind of noise can carry easily to your neighbors and, honestly, your RV neighbors too!

2. Don’t Asphyxiate Tent Campers with Your Generator Exhaust

Be aware of the exhaust that inevitably arises from your generator. Plan ahead for this. Do your best to have your generator facing away from the campsite next to you. This will result in fewer fumes and less noise.

3. Watch Your Engine Exhaust Too 

The same goes for your engine, especially if you have a diesel engine. If you have to idle your engine, do so during times when your neighbors aren’t there or during daytime hours when you’re not disturbing quiet hours. Better yet, let your neighbors know ahead of time.

4. Stop Slamming Your Entry Door

Close the doors gently, and open them just as gently. Slow down when coming and going from your RV, so you aren’t slamming doors. Your neighbors will appreciate it.

5. Don’t Let Your Pets Harrass Tent Campers

Keep your pets leashed. Tent campers should be doing the same. Many campgrounds have rules regarding keeping pets leashed. You should follow them not simply because they’re the rules but also because an unleashed pet can be a real nuisance to your neighbors.

6. Be Mindful of Your Kids

Camping in an RV with walls, albeit thin, may make it easy to forget that tent campers don’t have walls. Keep an eye on your kids to make sure they’re not invading your neighbors’ space. You may also have to remind kids of quiet hour rules.  

7. Don’t Block Tent Campers’ View

If at all possible, don’t block a tent camper’s view. This can be tough in a campground. Sites may be very close together. However, do your best to park strategically. RVs are bigger than tents and take up a lot of space both horizontally and vertically. 

8. Turn Outside Lights off When You’re Done with Them

Turning outside lights off when they’re not in use is one of the easiest things to do to gain the respect of fellow campers. The stars shine above with much more brilliance when artificial lights go off. It’s fine to use lights inside your RV; just make sure the outside lights aren’t blaring all night.

9. Don’t Encroach Upon or Cut Through Their Campsites

No matter how much easier it is to get to the shower house by cutting through your neighbor’s campsite, don’t do it. Just as you would want them to be respectful of your space, you should respect theirs. You wouldn’t cut through your neighbor’s yard at home, so why would you do it at a campsite? 

Tent Campers Choose Tent Camping and Deserve Respect

Tent campers choose tent camping just like RVers choose RV camping. It doesn’t mean they aren’t as well off or anything. Tent campers deserve their campsite and their space just as much as RVers do. In the end, we’re all probably here because we love getting out into the great outdoors.

There is plenty of common ground to bond over, as long as we respect each other. Do you have any tips for having a harmonious camping experience?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dana says:

    As a former tent camper, this is spot on!!! I’ve gone to a small camper mostly for a place to work and a potty! It’s all about respecting others and recognizing that your camping style is your own it may not be in sync with those around you.

  2. Bob says:

    8 of the 9 apply to both RV and tent. Actually all 9 as while tents can’t slam doors they slam their car doors.
    I increasingly see tent campers with generators. In fact many tents today come with a cord port.
    I’ve been next to tent campers who open their car doors and blast their car stereo loud enough so they can hear it at the table. Others have portables blasting at the table.
    Lights on at night. Yes, this is a big one. With LEDs this has gotten out of hand with strings around the entire perimeter of RVs and just too damned many lights period. Apparently people are still afraid of the dark.
    Most RVs have built in generators and most sites are good for only one way to park, so you can’t really do anything about which direction your exhaust is pointing. This applies to the engine exhaust too.
    Pets and kids are the same for both.
    I can’t help it if my RV blocks the tents view anymore then if huge class A blocks my little class b. With reservations you have a site assigned and nothing to be done about it. However, most private campgrounds have separate areas for tents.
    Same with not cutting through someone else’s site. Not limited to RVs. I’ve not only had kids cutting through my site but adults too. Even an adult riding a bike right on front of me sitting in my chair. Rudeness seems to be increasing in society as a whole. Rude adults raise rude kids. I’ve even had kids tell me I’m mean when I’ve told them to not be cutting through my site. “The World Revolves Around Me” syndrome seems to have taken over, as you see in the news.
    All of the above is why I prefer dispersed camping where I can be hundreds of feet away from the next campers.
    Unfortunately health issue at 72 have forced me to often be in RV parks where I can get to medical clinics. 😪

  3. carolyn (Casita 16 SD) says:

    Your article is very thoughtful but Bob’s response is right on – thoughtful. We camped for 35 years and now Pop up and Casita for 20. We also avoid state parks and never go to RV parks for the crowds and noise. Yes, folks have become more rude as the years go by. That TV on the side of a huge RV next to us just about blew our minds with disgust.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I’ve never wanted to disagree with a post more than this one. I camped next to a tent just this past weekend that had their tent, two shelters, a big screen TV, and a full size smoker. So making the statement that RVers are the ones that like to bring all of their toys is so wrong. In my actualy RVing experience tent campers bring a lot of stuff with them, they don’t care about boundaries, quiet times, or basic respect. If you can make blanket statements about one group than so will I. Tent campers that choose an RV site because they want power and water don’t get more rights just because they’re in a tent. “Blocking their view” can’t be helped. The only thing you said that I agree with is that everyone should respect each other.

  5. Jeff says:

    While I liked your article and I agree, that all campers deserve respect, I have to disagree with you when it comes to “tent” campers! It’s been my experience that tent campers are, by far, the worst to be around. They’re loud, obnoxious, drunks who don’t give a damn about anyone around them and talk about parties into the wee hours of the morning!! When I go to a campground, I don’t want to be anywhere near tent campers!

  6. Backcountry164 says:

    Tent campers bring along the bare minimum.
    ?? Ummmm??? In what country is this?? Not the US. Even as a backpacker I wouldn’t say I bring the “bare minimum”. And anyone staying in a campground, in my experience, brings as much stuff as they can cram into their cars. The only difference that I see between RVer’s and tent campers is how much money they spent to bring all of the conveniences of home out into the woods.