Party Time ... !?!

Most cycle tourists are not big fans of loud engines, cranked up music and late partying neighbours. A little care can be in order to avoid encountering occasional wild nightlife.

For those who might feel the need for blowing off some loud steam - well, this page can also help you out.

Brewster Lake racing boat | noisy Rec camp neigbours | cycle touring Vancouver Island

This small, light little boat had a turbo-charged 494 racing motor crammed into it, spewed exhaust fumes like jet contrails, and sounded like a souped up, muffler free Indy race car. No doubt, it spooked wildlife & campers 30kms away

Meeting other campers can be one of the pleasures of backroads camping. However, not all campers share a desire for natural sounds and tranquility. Sometimes you may have real loud neighbours, complete with: 

  • motorized things like quads, 2 stroke offroad motorbikes, chain saws to cut firewood (reasonable thing) and gas generators to keep RVs charged (or .... see pic above).

  • loud parties, car sterios that could entertain stadiums, and really late hours

It seems that the biggest parties generally like the loudest motorized toys​.

I like my parties, think intoxicants can be good for people, enjoy driving quads on occasion, love my music. I also sort of think of the back woods as an area I can generally do my thing without worrying too much about neighbours or rules. In most places and times, RVers and other campers you may meet are not pumped up for partying ... but there are certainly exceptions.


Make sure you always travel with ear plugs as even conversational voices really carry outside at night.

My camping neighbours at Camp 5 on Brewster Lake. I expected noise and a party, but I realized it was going to be a big party when more pick-ups started arriving near dusk.

Camp 5 Rec, Brewster Lake | noisy camping neigbours | cycle touring Vancouver Island

There are times and places to note if you want to avoid real loud neighbours. I met the group above on the 4 day easter weekend in 2017. I'd come in from Campbell River to the east, and passed numerous campsites along Campbell and other Lakes that were either deserted or had a few campers set up - so I got complacent. I hadn't stopped to think that this area around Brewster Lake has a major concentration of big open vehicle accessible Rec camp sites, all within a few kms of each other. 

My neighbours were friendly. They introduced their dogs to me, offered me a ride in their wild little boat (see above pic) and came by to warn me they were about to set off several fireworks "bombs". But it was some party.

Rec camp off Brewster Lake | noisy camping neighbours | cycle touring Vancouver Island

A couple of neighbouring,, open parking, Rec Camps were also full up. I suspect some of this group dropped by to join the party

This past easter weekend was far from my first trip where loud neighbours made it tough to get a good night's sleep. We can't change the fact that (usually) younger groups like to party, and when they get out into the back woods, they sometimes really cut loose. Here's a few guidelines to reduce your chances of finding yourself sleepless in your tent:

  • pick & plan your times. Holiday long weekends like Easter or May Day weekend are the worst times for partying. In summer, Friday and Saturday nights can be party nights

  • forestry sites near towns attract partiers from town. I now know that the more informal sites in the Brewster Lake area (where I've camped before in peace & quiet) are a bad choice at peak times. I expect easter parties have been a tradition for decades. The Rec Camps around west Cowichan Lake, particularly Heather and Caycuse, can be loud. I'm told Scout Beach Rec site, NW of Port Alberni, can be similar

  • head for Provincial Parks, private sites or Rec sites with hosts, on long weekends or summer weekends. This is often your best option. These parks attract lots of families, and have a different camping culture, with rules on late noise

  • wild camp or choose smaller sites on holiday weekends

  • try to avoid camping options where lots of campers are grouped together into single big sites, with lots of vehicles about.

I do not want to sound too alarmist here. I camp all the time through the summer, including weekends, and rarely find myself in the midst of loud parties. Were I to do this recent Easter ride again, I'd have either camped at one of the quieter rec sites on the way to Brewster Lake, or kept riding and wild camped somewhere further along my ride. 

If you do find yourself with a large gang of loud partying neighbours, your best bet is likely to simply put the ear plugs in.