For nature-lovers, camping offers the perfect opportunity to refresh your senses and revive your spirits in the calming embrace of the wilderness. However, when you realize how much of an impact you and your fellow campers leave behind, it can feel a little unsettling. If you’d like to emerge from your next camping trip knowing you’ve minimized your footprint, read on for our best eco-friendly camping tips.
1. Rethink your campfire
For an environmentally conscious approach, you’re better off sticking to LED light bars to give your campsite a warm glow at night. Most people don’t realise how much of an impact campfires can have. In addition to posing an immediate brushfire danger if not managed well, campfires release a surprising number of harmful compounds. The average campfire releases carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, particulate matter, and a host of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
2. Have a “no disposables” rule
There’s no denying that disposable items are incredibly convenient when camping. However, this waste adds up quickly, and there’s no way of justifying it if you’re someone who genuinely cares about the environment. With this in mind, you’ll want to pack sturdy, washable plates, cups, and cutlery. Add a washing basin, sponge, biodegradable soap, and some cleaning cloths and towels to your kitchen kit. Finally, throw in a breathable bag which you can use to store any cloths or towels that have been soiled.
3. Choose your products carefully
You’re likely already careful to avoid leaving trash in the environment. However, you need to be equally vigilant about the residue left behind by the products you use. Everything from soap and shampoo to sunscreen and insect repellant can have a detrimental effect on the environment. Seek out eco-friendly alternatives for all your staple products. It’s also great to remember that many everyday products have multiple uses, which can reduce waste and the amount iof gear you need. For example, humble nappy rash cream can double as a sunscreen, aftersun care, and remedy for bites, stings and small abrasions!
4. Plan ahead when it comes to food & water
If you fail to prepare your drinking water in advance, you’ll likely end up grabbing a slab of individual bottles at the last minute. Even if you take your trash home with you, this is a huge waste of plastic and a massive problem for the environment. Instead, plan ahead by ensuring you have a couple of 20 gallon water containers packed and ready. Bring along your reusable water bottles, and you’re good to go. When it comes to food, it pays to always have an emergency stash of non-perishable items such as trail mix and beef jerky on hand in case of an emergency.
5. Make your eco-friendly activities fun
This trick is ideal for those camping with kids, but it works just as well with adults. If you look at the extra cleaning and hunting for trash you have to do a chore, it will detract from your camping experience. However, if you find ways to have fun with it, you’ll be more likely to do a better job.
What does this look like? You could play music while you clean dishes and tidy the campsite after meals. You could turn trash collection into a scavenger hunt or competition to see who collects the most. In this way, you’ll be incentivised to clean up after other people too, which means you may leave the campsite in a better state than when you found it.
Take the tips above to heart, add some fun into the mix, and you can leave your camping trips with a happy heart, knowing you’ve done your bit to keep the environment healthy.