Bluetooth speaker on a rock. Credit: Habib Dadkhah on Unsplash

Bluetooth speakers are a hot topic in many outdoor sports. Speaker skiers are notoriously disrespectful individuals, and speaker hikers always seem to be the ones leaving their dog’s poop on the ground. I’m not going to reargue those points. It’s been done enough (and yet people still ride, hike, and ski around with speakers on their backs).

I want to take it one step further. I don’t think speakers belong in any outdoor public space. Camping? No speakers. Beaches? No speakers. Public parks? Still no speakers. Why? Because it’s disrespectful and it doesn’t follow Leave No Trace Principles.

The sixth of the seven principles states ‘Respect Wildlife’, and many animals rely on sound as a major part of survival. The Wildlife Habitat Council points out noisy environments can hinder communication, mating, navigation, and foraging for many animals. If you’re blasting tunes while out on a camping trip, even you know there isn’t a single human nearby, you could have a negative impact on the nearby wildlife.

The seventh principle, which might have a bit more weight for some people, states ‘Be Considerate of Others’. Even the Leave No Trace organization highlights how music can affect another person’s outdoor experience. Here’s the cold hard truth: not everyone is going to like your music. In fact, a lot of people might hate your music. So if you’re blasting tunes while sitting at your campsite or beach site and there are other parties that can hear your music, there’s a good chance you’re ruining their experience.

Personally, I go outside camping, to the beach or simply into the nearby city park to enjoy nature. To get away from everything inside. I don’t go outside to be constantly reminded of everyone else around me and their terrible choice in music.

Obviously not every outdoor space has this expectation. Your own property, for example, or ski resort parking lots (even then, you shouldn’t be blaring your tunes so nobody else can hear their own). But when the expectation is to be in nature, turn of your music, or at least turn it down to a point where only you and your party can hear it. You are not the world’s personal DJ. Your music taste does not appeal to everyone.

Fortunately there’s this crazy invention this that lets you listen to whatever music you want, where ever you are, as loud as you want, without disturbing anyone around you. And best of all, they’re usually cheaper than bluetooth speakers. You can find out about them here.

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