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Backcountry Etiquette

Backcountry etiquette isn’t something that is taught in school or something that’s policed out in the bush. Although it probably should be.

I spend a fair amount of time outdoors and in backcountry campsites. Admittedly not as much time as I wish I could spend.


There are really only a few things that I expect or hope for in a trip. I hope that the trip will be safe and no negative wildlife encounters. I hope that I find a place that is exceptionally beautiful. I hope to have a quiet experience and hear the natural sounds without the distraction of man-made noise. I also hope that my campsite is clean and has an “untouched” appearance so that my imagination can lead me to feel like I’m some sort of adventurist or explorer.

Lately I’ve begun to be more and more annoyed by the lack of common sense that I see when I travel to these remote areas and I thought that perhaps I should speak up and say something about it. I know, likely I’m just wasting my time and effort but hopefully my words will reach even one or two people. Even the slightest improvement would be worth the effort.

The lack of common sense that I’m referring to has to do with what I’m calling “backcountry etiquette.”

Backcountry etiquette is a customary code of polite behaviour among members of the sub-culture of wilderness travellers and campers. I’m not suggesting anything new. Ideas like “Leave No Trace” have been around since the 1960’s and ’70’s. Ideas that are focussed on preserving a landscape and leaving little or no evidence that people have visited and travelled there.

For the most part, Backcountry Etiquette has to do with cleaning up after ourselves, but I think that there’s another way to describe this code of behaviour and that’s simply to say “don’t do anything stupid.”

Frankly, I’m annoyed with the amount of senseless garbage being left out and the thoughtless damage being done around campsites. To me its common sense to leave a campsite the way that I would want to see it when I first arrive.

I think its time that we start to talk about what we expect as Backcountry Etiquette and begin to educate each other so that we can improve our experiences outdoors.

Backcountry Etiquette


Do you share my opinion? Have any ideas on how we can educate people on basic backcountry etiquette?
Leave a comment below and join in the discussion and if you feel as strongly about this as I do, please share this post or video on your social feeds.

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