In the last few years camping and RVing has surged in popularity as people have grown tired of being trapped in their homes during the great lockdown of the Covid era. RV sales have hit record numbers and some manufacturers are reporting backlogs of over a year for people waiting for their new RV to be built. This is all great news for the industry and particularly for campground owners as there is no shortage of customers waiting to fill open spaces. However, this surge in customers and first time RV owners has given rise to a new phenomenon and one that is not good, the entitled camper.
First, let me just preface this by saying this is not a hit piece on new campers. We were all new at some point and we all had to learn the ropes. Additionally, I enjoy helping new campers and as a matter of fact I spend a good part of my work day doing just that. Whether it’s helping people pull into or back into sites, hooking up to utilities, troubleshooting problems or just sharing general knowledge and maintenance tips I am there to help and I love doing it. Most folks are very appreciative and eager to learn and it is a nice feeling to have helped someone gain a better understanding of their RV. Especially when it’s safety related.
So before I head down this path I would also like to say these problems existed before covid and the newbie sales rush and they will continue to exist. However, things are getting much worse and instead of the occasional entitled jerk there now seem to be waves of entitled jerks. The rush did not create the problem but it certainly has enhanced it. So maybe with this blog we can help some people realize some of the things they are doing are wrong. Maybe they don’t know it and maybe we can bring it to light and just make a small impact on the camping community if even just one person changes their habits. So here it goes…….
As we have traveled the country and especially now that we are full time and work campers it’s amazing to see and hear how poorly some people not only treat campground staff but the campgrounds themselves. In the past campers and RVers lived by the motto “leave your campsite cleaner than how you found it.” It’s a testament to loving our surroundings and the environment and wanting others that arrive after you to love and enjoy that same experience. It’s how we pay it forward to our fellow travelers, it’s how we ensure state parks, national parks and public lands remain beautiful and clean for wildlife to thrive. It’s also just respectful to those that own the property that gives us and our fellow travelers a place to stop and rest, enjoy time exploring surrounding areas or reconnect with friends and family.
With the rise of the entitled camper this is one of the most disturbing things that has changed. Many people no longer feel a sense of responsibility to leave a campsite clean at all let alone cleaner than when they arrived. Why take your trash bag to the dumpster thats 15 feet away when you can leave it on the ground? I’m sure someone will just pick that up for you. Hell why even put your garbage in a trash bag to begin with when you have a fire pit and you can just burn it? Nevermind the drought conditions plaguing much of the nation and the flying embers that get created by burning paper products. And nevermind the mess it leaves if you are lucky enough not to burn down the campground and surrounding forest. But hey someone else will clean up that mess so why worry about it. Not only is it lazy, it’s disgusting and disrespectful to the campground, the campground staff, and the people who come to the site after you leave. So please, bag your trash and put it where it belongs, IN THE DUMPSTER, not it the fire pit or in the site for someone else to clean up. Most campgrounds, especially in National Forests or State Parks don’t have people there to clean up after you leave so you are doing everyone a diservice by being lazy.
Another problem with the entitled camper is lack of awareness, lack of understanding or just plain don’t give a shit when it comes to other campers personal space. They will walk through occupied sites with or without people present. They will play games with or without their kids using neighboring sites as their own personal playground to throw balls, frisbees and corn hole bean bags. Oh, sorry we hit your RV it was a bad throw! They will ride their bikes, scooters, e-bikes through sites with kids in tow spreading their ignorance and bad habits to future generations, all because they want to get to where they want to be and do what they want to do. Some even let their dogs run free during these moments while never giving a single thought to the campers who’s space they are invading. And why should they since they paid for their spot and they are on vacation and they want to have fun and they were JUST trying to get back to their site. Apparently their time and space is much more important than everyone elses and they don’t want to waste a precious few minutes going around campsites, open or occupied, and using those pesky drive and walk paths that are there to guide you through these tough moments of unplanned exercise. So please, enjoy all of your outdoor activities, as that is the purpose of camping in the first place, but do it in your own campsite. And use those drive paths and walking paths instead of invading other people space. Heck, go one step further and even use them when spaces are empty so you can create a good habit and share that with your children. Everyone will benefit.
The next obvious subject for the entitled camper is the beloved dog or as they are now called “fur babies”. We love our dog and I’m sure everyone else does too. But, the entitled camper has not one, but two flaws in their thinking. First, they think their fur baby is special and would never ever run astray from their campsite because their fur baby doesn’t have have that animal mindset. Wrong! Well trained dogs are still animals and we see them run out to people walking by on a daily basis. Most of the time they are friendly but too many times they are not and they put fear in the eyes of people passing by. Additionally, the entitled camper also thinks the doodie their fur baby expels is different from that of other dogs because it doesn’t need to be picked up. They must think it will magically disappear after they walk away. Poof! Well, I hate to break it to these folks but your dog isn’t special, you are a bad dog owner and you are lazy person. That’s all there is to it. And for the folks with their Pit Bulls and Rottweilers that allow their fur babies to run free because their “dog isn’t like the others” and live by the motto “there are no bad dogs only bad owners” you are exceptionally ignorant and flirting with disaster. So Please, keep your dog on a leash no matter how good you think they are. Other campers shouldn’t have to recoil in fear when walking by your site and your dog comes towards them with that loving growl. Also, some people just don’t like dogs and your inability to be a responsible dog owner is not helping matters. And please, please, please pick up your fur babies doodie because it doesn’t magically disappear. Another camper or a worker usually pics it up in disgust because they are responsible human beings so it’s time for you to grow up and be one also.
Next on the list for the entitled camper is campground Wi-Fi complaining. This might be news to the entitled camper, but you are not in your sticks and bricks home. This is a campground and the only thing you are guaranteed is the type of space you paid for and the amenities the campground has to offer. That is it! We know that at home you have amazing Wi-Fi and can stream all 20 of your devices at the same time with no problem in your house. However, at a campground you get what they have and you are going to share it with hundreds of other people who also have several devices. Some places are great, some are not. If you have a job or something important to you that depends on a high speed reliable internet connection then you should have been more prepared or as one of my favorite says goes “lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours”. It’s not the campgrounds’ fault you are ill-prepared, it’s yours, deal with it.
That brings us to the entitled campers treatment of the campground staff. Many campgrounds have rules for a reason but the entitled campers don’t believe some of these rules apply to them. For example, putting camping mats on grassy areas. This is something that happens all the time. People put out mats and it kills the grass. The next person comes in to the site and complains the grass is dead or turning brown and guess what, they put out a mat. The staff asks the entitled camper to pick up their mat so the grass can stay green but they want their space the way they want it regardless of the rules and start to complain and argue with the staff. The odd part is they are often perpetuating the same problem they are complaining about and it’s a no win situation for the campground. Then the entitled camper then gives a bad review after berating the staff for asking them to follow the rules to prevent the very problem for which they are complaining. So please, when you arrive at the campground, read the rules and follow them. You can even do this online before you book a site at most places so there is no excuse to not knowing.
Another problem often encountered is the entitled camper not liking their site because of the lack of tree cover. Did they ask for or speciaifally request tree cover? Of course not, but that doesn’t stop them from complaining about it. So here is a crazy idea, if you need or require tree cover for shade ask for it when you make your reservation. Put it in the notes for your online reservation or call and speak with someone at the campground so they can do their best to help fill your request. Some campgrounds only have a limited number of sites with tree cover and some of those sites only fit certain size RV’s. So please, communicate early so you don’t have to complain later. And BTW, if you arrive at the campground it’s booked and you are stuck in the sun because you didn’t communicate that’s on you and there is no need to yell at the staff because of your lack of planning. Another BTW, if you do request a site with trees and you get tree sap on your RV that is not the campgrounds problem. I get it’s hard to remove and is a pain in the ass, but if you want tree cover it ofter comes with tree sap. Welcome to nature!
One more small thing. Entitled campers tend to complain that campgrounds charge extra for some services or that their prices are too high for store products. Yes, they are a for-profit company and you are paying for the price of convenience and entertainment. If you want that pack of burger buns because you forgot to get them at Walmart it’s going to cost a little more. Campgrounds don’t have pricing power and they are also paying more to stock that product. But you can just easily walk in and get it.
I’m sure there is more but we will leave you with this. Remember folks, campgrounds are here for the enjoyment of everyone and not just YOU. Whether you are a newbie or seasoned veteran there is a mutual respect we must all have for each other and the places we stay. There is nothing we love more than camping and everyone deserves to have a great experience. But that experience begins with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions and for our own attitudes. If we trash our forests, parks and other public lands we will lose the privilege of being able to stay there. If we treat the for profit campgrounds and their staff poorly some owners might decide it’s no longer worth the hassle and the property will be sold off to developers or investors which means less options for everyone in the long run. If we continue to treat of fellow campers disrespectfully and ruin their experience because we selfishly think our experience is more important we will lose what brings us all together in the first place. A love for the outdoors, the common joy of being around and interacting with our fellow travelers and the camping experience itself.
So please, enjoy your camping experience. While doing so please be considerate of your neighbors and other campers. Please, be respectful to the campground staff as they really want to make sure you have the best experience possible. And please, please leave your campsite in a better condition than when you arrived so those that come after you can enjoy their camping experience too.
Until next time…………