Skip to Content

What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Found at a Campsite?

What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Found at a Campsite?

What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Found at a Campsite?

Camping has been booming since 2020. There are more tents, vans, RVs, and motorhomes on the road than ever before.

With all this new traffic, we’ve heard countless camping horror stories. In fact, many campsites have shut down due to overuse and abuse.

That’s why we asked the GoRVing community on Reddit, over 55,000 strong, “what’s the worst thing you’ve found at a campsite?”

The answers were both scary and inspiring.

Let’s dig in.

Thoughts from a Camp Host

Camp hosts know a campground better than anyone. Their number one task is to help campers have a pleasant stay (and keep order on the grounds).

So, when a camp host speaks up, we listen.

Reddit user and camp host, OneNumber2595 says, “Humans are disgusting. I really thought I would RV around and host here and there and learn to not hate people so much. I was wrong…food and diapers and trash in fire pits and leftover food tossed in the bushes and the (favorite) of draining black or grey at the no hookup site before heading home on Sunday.”

Sure, there are extremely rare occurrences when dumping grey water on the ground is ok (find out here). But it’s never ok at an established campground.

More About Camp Hosting: If you want to score a free campsite, being a camp host may be for you. Here’s how 4 RVers became workampers (camp hosts).

The Fire Pit, My Trash Can

Why do so many campers think the fire pit also serves as their trash can? Burning trash is never a good idea, but leaving it for the next person to burn is ludacris!

Redditor tatt2dcacher adds, “State park in Illinois, several dirty baby diapers and to go boxes full of food in the fire pit attracting raccoons…told park management and was told either burn it or deal with it.”

Seriously, bring your own propane fire pit like we do. It’s clean, easy to use, and other campers can’t trash it!

Dangerous Intentions

Bear safety is a real thing when you’re camping in the wilderness. And, Sugarfreeyecandy has a truly terrifying tale:

“Not disgusting, but dangerous and deliberate: Each fire ring at Montana Creek CG in Alaska, someone had bought a container of strawberries and placed a berry in the ashes of every one of them. Dangerous for people and dangerous for the bears. On a similar note, at Eagle Creek, someone had taken a bag of trash out back of the maintenance building and placed it on top of the window air conditioner.”

Whether this is done by a local or a fellow camper, it puts everyone in danger.

Keep in mind: Will a bear attack your camper? Yes. Here’s the scoop.

Cigarette butts

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the most significant impact. For example, broken glass, bottle caps, and the dreaded cigarette butts.

Redditor FriendlySocietyWhale says, “Cigarette butts. Disgusting. Overall most campsites I’ve been to have been reasonable but cigarette butts are my pet peeve. I classify campground quality based on how many butts I find.”

Let me remind everyone, the fire pit isn’t a trash can. Your cigarette buts don’t belong there.

Maybe It’s Not All Bad?

It’s not all doom and gloom out there, is it? 

According to Goodspike, “I mainly go to Washington State Parks locally, and they have camp hosts which are pretty good about cleaning things up. About the only thing I find are bottles deep in the brush.”

Tell Us Your “Worst Thing Found”

Please drop a note in the comments and let us know what you’ve found. Keep it PG…there were, unfortunately, many comments we had to leave out.

You can probably guess some of them!

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 that 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:

Dave and Pat Eckhardt

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

We had found an extremely isolated camp spot along the Laramie River in N. Colorado. It was so isolated that there was no TV, no FM radio, no AM radio during daylight hours, no cell phone (thank heaven!!!), and at night, just a beautiful star-studded sky. The next morning, I got looking around at the wild flowers in the forest. I noticed quite a number of pills just seemingly spilled on the ground. Having a small dog who will eat anything and no idea if the pills were some banned substance (drugs) I removed everyone I could see (with gloves). If they had been drugs and our dog had eaten just one, likely we'd have come home with a dead pet and huge tears in our eyes.

Oh, yes, cig butts are our #1 disgusting item to be found anywhere in campgrounds and sites. And IF and ONLY IF we use the campfire ring (remote camping - boondocking) as a spot to dispose of burnable rubbish, we always make sure things are completely burned and remove anything to our camper that isn't burned. On leaving any site, we also spend a bit of our water to completely douse the campfire until there are no dry ashes (the ashes are all black) or smoke.

Dave and Pat in Northern Clorado Boondock Campers at Heart!!

Roxanne Soelter

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Human poop at the edge of the campsite. Just far enough off the site that the Park Rangers would not see it. And close enough that my Grandkids stepped in it. It smelled totally alcohol infused. Gross beyond imagination.

Daniel R Grover

Sunday 3rd of October 2021

I have found used pads and plugs (women's) and condoms. That's just wrong. If you are going out to enjoy nature why trash it for other people. I have found a great deal of items but that's about the worst.


Saturday 2nd of October 2021

We have been in Washington and Oregon State parks mostly over the last two summers so have not run into extreme issues but have found cigarette butts and bottle caps. However, I did have an encounter that shows how young it can start and how diligent parents need to be in teaching their kids the right way to dispose of trash in a campsite. I saw a young one about age 10 with a couple of friends and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the child walk over to a fire pit and throw something in. I asked if they had put trash in there and they said yes. I reminded them it was not a trash can and the child argued with me, telling me “it was the guy’s job to pick up the trash.” Presumably the child meant the camp host who regularly checks each spot and does some quick clean up when people leave. Even the child’s friend argued with me. I let them know I figured their parents had a trash bag at their site for trash and that’s where it should go and reminded them that whatever they put in was probably not good for burning and pollutes the environment. The child picked it up and took it away. They probably wrote me off as some crazy old lady but hopefully I left an impression they won’t forget that will keep them from doing it again.

Joann Heron

Saturday 2nd of October 2021


%d bloggers like this: