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The 7 Deadly Sins of Camping

Everyone should consider these behaviors a camping version of the seven deadly sins, especially if your chapel is the great outdoors.

Seasoned campers try to be considerate of both nature and other travelers. But for those of us whose tents are fresh out of the box, it can be tricky to learn everything we need to know about camping.

While you don’t need to know absolutely everything, you should educate yourself on the basics before setting out, including which pitfalls to avoid.

Let’s look at how you can be a better tent camper. 

Here Are 7 Things to Never Do While Camping

Obviously, there are more than seven bad choices for campers, but these are the biggest offenders. Whether it’s ignorance, impatience, or exhaustion, sometimes you just want to cut a couple of corners and make life a little easier on yourself.

However, these mistakes can have long-lasting negative effects. Let’s dive in.

Couple drinking while camping.
No camper is perfect, but there are some unforgivable sins campers can do.

1. Making a New Fire Ring

Fire destroys the ground it’s on and makes it difficult for vegetation to grow. Try to minimize the effects of camping so we can all continue to enjoy nature. Building a new fire ring may be tempting when the established fire ring contains ashes or trash.

However, you should take the time to clean out the old ring instead of making a new one.

In the end, it’s much better for the campsite. 

2. Clearing a New Camping Spot

While the weight from a tent and other camping equipment won’t do as much damage as a fire, it can still leave a mark. Try to use the same spot as others to pitch your tent so we can minimize damage to the area.

It’s also important to know where your tent will be the safest from weather, such as flooding. Established tent spots are there for a reason.

Pro Tip: Stay safe while camping with our ultimate First Aid Checklist You Need For Camping.

Campsite with litter.
Nobody likes a litter bug! Remember when camping to leave no trace!


Littering not only clutters the campsite, but it also causes danger to the local wildlife. Animals aren’t used to human food and don’t understand that plastic and paper aren’t viable food sources.

The best way to keep them safe is to just keep it out of their hands. If there isn’t a trash can close to your camping spot, just pack the trash with everything else and dispose of it safely as soon as you can.

Even trash in the fire pit can cause damage, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

4. Using Non-Biodegradable Soaps

Biodegradable soap is environmentally friendly. Using standard soap may not seem like a big deal, but those chemicals can cause harm to plants and vegetation.

It can even harm animals who might be exposed to those soapy puddles. So use biodegradable soap when you’re out in the wilderness.

Pro Tip: Germs be gone! We found The Best Biodegradable Soap for Camping.

5. Leaving Food out or Tossing Food Scraps on the Ground

Animals are curious, especially ones who are more used to being around humans. They’re very good at sniffing out food, and they don’t care if it’s in the middle of a campsite.

Save yourself some trouble and keep food tucked away, either in your car or in a cooler.

Not only might the food be inappropriate for the animals, but it could encourage them to get too close to humans.

Woman drinking coffee in tent in the morning.
Don’t try to set up camp once the sun goes down!

6. Arriving at Camp After Dark

Setting up camp already comes with complications, and trying to set up camp after dark is way more stressful than it should be. The best way to evaluate a campsite and have a good idea of where everything should go is to arrive at least an hour before sunset.

Without light, unfamiliar areas become extremely difficult to navigate, especially in nature. 

7. Leaving Fires Unattended

Even if you don’t think you’ll be away for too long, an unattended fire can cause severe damage if it spreads. Forest fires are dangerous and difficult to control, and even a little wind can blow the embers a surprising distance.

Keep all the campers and anyone else who happens to be in the area safe.

If you don’t want to soak the fire ring with water, you can throw a little dirt or sand on the fire or stir the logs until it simmers down. 

Friends sitting around campfire next to tent.
Don’t leave fires unattended while camping!

You Should Follow Posted Quiet Hours, Too

You may go camping to get away from the bustle and stress of life and enjoy some time to yourself. This is great; however, every camper should follow the rules of the campsite. This includes abiding quiet hours.

Sound travels well when everyone is outdoors, and noise can build up. You never know if your fellow campers are traveling with small children or just planning a sunrise hike the next day.

Enjoy the peace and quiet, do some stargazing, and be considerate of your fellow campers. 

Be Responsible: Avoid the 7 Sins of Tent Camping

Don’t let fear keep you from trying new things. Whether you’re new to camping or just trying to be more aware, these pitfalls are good to avoid.

Take the extra time to make sure your camping experience is safe and stress-free while looking out for your fellow campers and the nature we’re all trying to preserve.

Do you have any other tips for tent campers?

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:

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  1. Patrick Dillon says:

    Recently I noticed small cracks in my propane gas hoses, the hoses are less than a year old, after contacting the RV Dealer and the hose supplier for the RV Dealer, I have come realize that protecting the propane gas hoses from cracking is not easy. How do other RV’ers protect thier propane gas hoses fron UV/Ozone damage?

  2. Ted Herford says:

    7 deadly sins of camping!

    I feel compelled to add one more. Manage your pets! CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PETS!!! There is nothing more aggravating than stepping in a pile of dog s**t. Keep your dogs on a leash! We’ve had our dog attacked by a campers dog that wasn’t leashed!

  3. Pam Shaw says:

    Never received your top 50 free camping locations. I keep submitting my email. [email protected]