Check out time etiquette.


Can't wait to Camp!
Apr 9, 2010
Our favorite park posts on the permit post if anyone is booked in the day we are leaving. That gives us an idea of whether it is urgent to pack up early or not.


Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
SW Montana
I have always wanted to maximize my time while camping, so late check-outs are the norm for us. However, I must also stress that we usually camp at CGs that are rarely half-full, and sometimes less. If someone starts to give us the stinkeye, we pick up the pace. I don't ever want to be accused to making someone upset, because I can only imagine how I would feel if the shoe were on the other foot.


Super Active Member
Jul 14, 2006
Sudbury, Ontario
We usually go ask if there is a reservation booked and if not request a later checkout time of an hour or two. Our parks allow you to stay in the park and swim, fish etc for the remainder of the day. We do however get packed up an hook up ready to leave keeping an eye out for anyone interested in the spot, except for the last day of the season. We have also on occasion paid for an additional night giving us the luxury of using the site for the remainder of the day. This is especially nice if we have the canoes, bikes, fishing gear etc.


Barrington, NH
Mar 25, 2009
New Hampshire
inthedirt said:
I have always wanted to maximize my time while camping, so late check-outs are the norm for us. However, I must also stress that we usually camp at CGs that are rarely half-full, and sometimes less.
"Half full sometimes less" doesn't make it ok. If someone reserved that site because they wanted that site, they shouldn't be expected to choose another, or wait around "giving you the stink eye" because you didn't want to follow thew rules and pack out on time. Deliberately checking out late should not be "the norm" for anyone. Just saying


Super Active Member
Feb 25, 2008
But as the day drug on the occupied site was still no closer at 1PM to breaking camp then they were at 9Am.
And why should they be closer to breaking camp at 1:00 PM? You were anxious to get on the site and seemed to be watching them like a hawk.

At 3:00 on the dot, my friend started taking all of her belongings off my picnic table and transporting them across the road and placing it on the table which she was now paying for.
Would your friend be willing to take their supplies over prior to 3:00 PM? (During the time that the previous people were paying for the site?) I'm sure your friends would've set up camp when they arrive at 12:30 PM, even though they were not paying for the site until 3:00 PM.

Now here is the question, what would you have done? What would have been the most appropriate way to have solved this problem? Where we out of line by bringing my friends stuff to the site before they were completely gone? Let the flaming begin.
I've been in the situation. I would never start moving my things onto a site while someone else is there, no matter how upset I was. That can only ignite a situation. I actually offered to help people move one time it happened to us (the people had pulled in late the night before and never even registered for the site). If I really can't wait, then I would let the host / manager / ranger deal with the situation.

You and your friends were hoping/planning on setting up their camp site early. It would've been nice due to the husband's needs, but it didn't work out.
The people on that site were first time campers. It was probably very reasonable to people who have never camped before to plan on an hour for packing it up. I understand you were hoping to actually set up a few hours early, which lead to you being (understandably) very impatient.
Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and try to see the other point of view. We as experienced campers know what it's like to break down camp, but someone who has never camped before has nothing to base their estimate has not become "common sense" to them yet.

Heaven forbid that any one of us is ever a minute or more late leaving a site sometime in the future. But if we are for any reason, let's pray that we have patient, kind people behind us. [:)C]


Active Member
Jan 23, 2009
I am in agreement with jungle Jim it was not the place of your friend to start moving things into that site and should count themselves lucky that it did not blow up into a bad situation that is the job of a ranger or camp host who had authority I also agree that the constant reminders and watching probably made them take longer


Oct 29, 2012
I had something like that happen with our beach house once. My wife let one of her step cousin and her husband stay at the house. My wife told them someone was going to be staying at the house from Saturday through the next Saturday and they needed to be out by 10 AM per out written contract they signed. They called my wife to check and make sure someone was staying there for sure that Satuday and they were told yes. Check in time is 2 PM. At 5 PM we get a call from the other people saying they stopped by the house and it was full of someone elses stuff. My wife called her step cousins and asked them what was up? They played dumb. Said they thought she said nobody was staying there so they thought they could stay for free. I got on the phone and they gave me an attitude and refused to leave. I called my friend at the local police office and had him come out.

Turns out they were both heavily intoxicated when they got back from a nearby bar. They assulted my friend and the other officer he was with and were arrested for that and DWI.

I had to drive 4 hours to the house and removed all their stuff and had their car towed.

Luckily, I've never had that happen while camping. That's theft and I'd have the local authorities out there in a second to have them removed.


Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2012
SW Montana
nhcaveman said:
"Half full sometimes less" doesn't make it ok. If someone reserved that site because they wanted that site, they shouldn't be expected to choose another, or wait around "giving you the stink eye" because you didn't want to follow thew rules and pack out on time. Deliberately checking out late should not be "the norm" for anyone. Just saying

My point was that most of the time, there is almost no one around where we camp. These are first come, first serve places that don't take reservations. I agree that checkout time is important, especially in heavily populated areas. I'm not trying to be rude here, just stating that we have a more relaxed perspective on the subject. If reservations are mandatory, that's an entirely different matter.


PuP Power
Aug 27, 2010
We don't guarantee specific sites just same row, where your rig will fit, that way we have a little jiggle room but if I reserve and prepay for a certain site, I want said site at check-in time. We have had Rigs that could not get off site on time due to mechanical stuff but all in all Campers are laid back and understanding [8D]


Art & Joyce - Columbus, O
Jul 18, 2013
Thornville, OH
I know we were once camping at a site that all around us were the friends of the person that had the site at 2PM and they mentioned it to us several times. All morning they all were watching us, started unloading there camper, etc. We had no time line and would have been out of there by 11:30 but decided once we were packed to visit the camp store and a short hike, we left by 1:55


Active Member
Jul 18, 2012
We were camping in Custer State Park last year. I don't remember the exact check-out time but it was probably 12:00PM. About 7:30AM, a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) pulled up with his noisy diesel truck and 5th wheel trailer to inform us that this was his spot later that day and he would appreciate us packing up early. The DW and I are usually the type to pack and leave early anyway but not that day. We ate a leisurely breakfast, walked up the road to the grocery store, sat in out chairs, etc. We did leave before check-out time but about 15 minutes or so. On a normal day, we would have been gone by 9:00AM. The lack of courtesy from the next camper to occupy our site made us drag things out. He must have drove by our site 10+ times to see if we were leaving.

We're well aware of check-in/check-out times. If we can get into a site early, that's a bonus for us but we don't count on it...


I teach them how to light fires, safely.
Aug 22, 2012
Haven't had anyone lot off site by the time so far, if had issue would get rangers to deal with it, that's their job or the hosts to settle it. Honestly if equines malfunction or whatever and I could see it or was told that no worries it happens, if lazy and they didn't pack I would offer to help in whatever way they wanted. I arrive early to setup early I do so fully knowing I will park my rig somewhere and enjoy the park and day but not get on site till check out time cause that is stated in the reservation process. Never plan on getting lucky to set up early its just a blessing if I do get to. Can't be angry for someone doing what is rightfully their time.


Pup to Hybrid
Apr 5, 2013
It's really not any different than reserving a room at a Hotel or Motel, don't expect your room to be ready if you arrive early! If it is ready then GREAT, but if you were to go to the room and ask the people in there to hurry up and get out, I suspect that they will take their own sweet time... most of us would unless offered a fare amount of cash! [8D] [8D]


Sep 16, 2011
Never have had a problem such as this and if I did I'd get the Ranger [{:)] or Camp Host to handle it, not I. I'm too old to be getting into altracations with idgits. Usally the State Park and National Park campgrounds will tell you if can go to a site before check in time and we have had camp hosts to tell us not to be in any hurry leaving because there were so many empty sites. SP are reserveable but not site specific. NP are usally first come first serve. But we always are off the site before check out time anyways. I do a lot of my packing up the afternoon before we leave, so there's little left to pack the next morning.



Super Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
Shell Rock Landing, Hubert NC
If you are on the site you have every right to stay until check out time but I would have no problem with the next person stopping and asking me if I had an idea of when I would be leaving so that they could come back then. I would have a problem if they or their friends pressured me into leaving because I would be one of those people that would sit in my truck until 1 minute before time to leave if they did. I have never gotten to a site that I have reserved and found someone still there and I tend to get there early. As for late afternoon early evening checkout times on any day of the week I think that is a bad policy because like others have said I want to be set up on the site in time to relax before I have to start dinner etc.


Active Member
Mar 28, 2012
aw,,,,,,, that stinks,,,,,,

but I'm glad it didn't ruin your trip,,,,,,,,

most campers are thoughtful and considerate,,,,,,,

There's the occasional brute though.

It's one thing to stay until 3pm on the dot,,,,,,,

and another to go over, IMHO.

I paid for it til 3pm, so therefore, I'm entitled to it until 3pm,,,,,,,even if that means just sitting at my picnic table enjoying the weather and a coke,,,,all my stuff packed up :)

But to wait til 2pm to pack up and then go over due to your own laziness or rudeness?

unh unh. not nice.

(this is different than something going wrong, like a TV that won't start or something, however)


Active Member
Sep 2, 2012
I just can't tolerate rudeness. Fortunately, most people I've met while camping aren't, maybe because it's so easy to get even.