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Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

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Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby venturefar » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:56 am

On a recent backpacking trip I returned to camp after a day hike to find that another group of backpackers had set up their tent in our campsite. We were a little irked because solitude is one of the reasons backpacking is so appealing. If I wanted to camp right next to other people I camp in Yosemite Valley. Though I felt completely within my rights to tell my unwanted guests to "keep it moving" I could tell that one member of their party was spent and I felt like it would be rather sadistic of me to point them in the direction of another camp site and tell them to pack their stuff and hit the trail. Even though they turned out to be really nice people, I was still bothered by the brazen attitude that they presented. They acted like it was no big deal that they invaded our space. Personally, barring some kind of emergency I wouldn't even think of nest building right next to another group. I'd spend an uncomfortable night hunkered down in a less than ideal location before I'd intrude on another group's solitude.

Am I wrong or is this terrible back-country etiquette? I'm interested in what other have to say about this issue.



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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:29 pm

I agree with you--it was not considerate at all. Unless they truly have a member who needs immediate rest or there are no other usable campsites nearby (an unlikely situation) I feel they should move on.
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby yosehiker » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:53 pm

I also agree, bad etiquette. Unless something traumatic was/is happening, they should ask.

I have heard from friends that sometimes other groups of people do want to camp nearby if not right next to them. I'm usually solo and off the beaten path so I haven't really experienced it. Just speculating here, but it seems these people are either afraid to be completely alone in the wilderness, a sentiment I hear from my non-backpacker friends, or are so accustomed to campgrounds that they think one must camp in the 'designated' area and not find one's own campsite.
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:17 pm

Hi Venturefar

Discussed before:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3140&p=18726&
hilit=backcountry+etiquette#p18726
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:40 pm

Maybe merge the threads?
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby try » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:36 pm

I totally agree! I was once invaded by a very large Sierra Club group; I came back from exploring the nearby lake and found my site surrounded. I just broke camp and hiked up the trail a couple of miles. I was not a happy camper! :angry:
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:42 pm

I probably would have pointed out a better campsite.

I did that recently - we camped on the ridge near Pat Springs (Ventana Wilderness destination). Instead of at the very tip top high point with the sunset view, we set up lower with some trees to block wind, since we were aware of the possibility of weather change. A big group of young men and women (20-25 yos) showed up. We pointed out the high spot and they took it.

Then the wind blew in and gusted all night. I had to reset my tarp for more cover. I felt bad, that was cold wind (it actually snowed on us a day later) and those kids were all carrying heavy cheap sleeping bags... but I figured the guys would keep the girls warm. :whistle: And it gave us some privacy.
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:47 pm

outnumbered, try.. those suck the worst..

It's really the standoff when two groups meet at the same time, that sucks the most.. i've seen it first-hand.. "well this is a good spot.. we want it as well.. we outnumber you" He dropped his pack and pointed us to nowhere.. He actually ran to beat our lead. :\

I was in the "outnumber" group, but I wasn't the negotiator. We circled up above him 100yds.. He didn't like us, but I had a real tired hiker, and we were 100 yds away.. Nice site, bad fishing.. he left..
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby quentinc » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:14 pm

Based on years of experience, if I and one other party are the only people in a 20 mile radius, the odds of them setting up camp right next to me are about 50%. I don't know what it is -- sort of like how cats find the one person in the room who hates cats and then jumps in their lap?

One advantage of hiking until almost sunset is that you can usually avoid this, but it doesn't help on layover days. I always move. I also try to pick somewhat implausible spots to camp. What else to try? Maybe a "Do Not Disturb, No Room Service Please" sign? ;)
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:26 pm

If I'm solo and taking the hammock, I'll pitch it over uneven, rocky ground. Makes it easy to establish a tent free perimeter. :wink:
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby Cross Country » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:07 pm

Having read about this several times on HST I feel fortunate that in over 500 days of BP I never experienced anything remotely like this. At least I don't remember anything like this.
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Re: Wilderness Camping Etiquette?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:25 am

I would be a bit shocked to come back and have people set up in my camp. I generally wouldn't mind and if anyone actually asked me I would say yes but to just have them barge in is almost comical.
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