Keeping everything and everybody clean is a noble goal for camping but children and dirt have a mutual attraction that is a big part of the fun of camping.
A good goal is to ensure you have some clean clothes and some wet wipes, or warm water and a flannel to de-grime before jumping in the car for the return journey; never underestimate the awesome de-grubbifying ability of a flannel and soapy water (face washer if you hail from east of the border).
Camp etiquette relates to managing your impact on the people and landscape around you. As a broad guide the following guidelines are very important to ensure you share the space well and protect the landscape you are enjoying:
- Stay on track: try to avoid as much as possible impacting too heavily on the bush around you. The reason you love going camping is the interaction with nature but that can only happen if we do what we can to not scar or damage the landscape.
- Pack it in - pack it out: anything you take into the bush needs to be taken back out so pack accordingly.
- For self-supported expeditions a strong waterproof dry sack can be used to compress rubbish down. They can also be used in cars as they keep the contents and smells in. This also helps keep the wildlife from taking too close an interest in your rubbish. A great idea for car-based camping is a strong waterproof bag that can be tied to the roof rack or, in the case of 4wd vehicles with a spare tyre on the back door, attached to the spare.
- Make sure any rubbish you do put in is crushed down to as small a space as possible.
- Leave it as you find it (with the possible exception of footprints).
- Keep wildlife wild; avoid feeding local wildlife, it disrupts their natural feeding patterns and can also lead to unwanted interactions with campers. Observe and take photographs by all means but give them as much space as possible. This may be difficult with wildlife that is determined to get to your supply of chocolate but be sure to store as much of your food as you can in airtight containers.
- Share the space: be considerate of other people as well as the wildlife so keep the noise down after dark and please, loud music, engines and generators can really impact on other peoples enjoyment so be mindful of other people’s right to enjoy the great outdoors as well.
- Toilets: the majority of established campsites have, at the very least, pit toilets. If caught short or if you are in an area without pit toilets the golden rule is to bury human waste as deep as you can; in a hole at least 20cm deep and at least 100m from a trail or stream.