Eco-Friendly Green Camping: Following the ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
Camping is a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air, whether you’re camping locally for a weekend or road-tripping for a longer stay out in the woods. If you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious this year, consider making some sustainable swaps on your camping trip to make your experience more eco-friendly. Below you’ll find our tips on reducing the environmental impacts from camping based on the seven “Leave No Trace Principles” as well as recommendations for eco-friendly camping gear and personal care products.
Choose a Campsite That’s Close to Home
You don’t have to travel far to have a wonderful camping trip. By choosing a campsite closer to your home, you are saving gas on your transportation to and from the campsite.
Camp at a Designated Campsite
If you enjoy backpacking and “roughing it” out in the wilderness, you may have considered camping somewhere that isn’t necessarily a designated campsite. However, in doing this, you may be harming the environment and wildlife in that area. Try to keep on existing trails and campsites, and be sure you choose a site that is at least 200 feet away from any lakes or streams and where vegetation is mostly absent.
Be Conscious of Your Camping Gear
The gear you camp with can also have an environmental impact once you decide to upgrade or throw out your old torn tents or packs. Consider purchasing eco-friendly camping gear, free of animal furs and feathers, as well as PVC plastics that take lifetimes to decompose in landfills. Opt for organic cotton or hemp tent materials and synthetic cruelty-free sleeping bags. If your tent is torn or broken, consider repairing your old gear instead of buying new. Don’t camp often? You can rent camping gear for a single trip. Cool of the Wild, The Good Trade, and Brainy Backpackers all have excellent eco-friendly camping gear guides.
Bring Your Own DIY snacks and Meals
One of the main generators of single-use plastic packaging is pre-packed snacks and protein bars. By DIY-ing your protein bars and bringing the ingredients to cook or reheat your meals, you can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you’ll be throwing away at the end of your trip. By choosing organic ingredients for meals you can also support more eco-friendly farming practices.
You can also purchase reusable snack bags or Tupperware containers and wrap produce in beeswax wraps to keep your leftovers fresh while still avoiding plastics. Also, consider bringing a refillable water bottle, as this can save you money and save on plastic from single-use bottles.
Pack Out Your Trash
Cleaning up your campsite properly is one of the best ways to help keep the campsite and environment blooming. Take home your recycling and make sure it’s disposed of properly. Carefully dispose of your trash in a designated bin and do your research on what foods and materials are compostable and what you should throw away instead. As you pack up, consider picking up any trash left from campers before you. Leave the campsite cleaner than you found it. The wildlife and future campers will thank you!
Be Mindful of Your Hygiene Products
Certain soaps, sunscreens, bug repellents, and water-soluble skincare products can pollute waterways, making it dangerous for the wildlife and other campers. Choose biodegradable soap and toothpaste and eco-friendly bug spray and sunscreen that won’t negatively affect your campsite’s nature and wildlife.
Bring Rechargeable or Solar-Powered Batteries
Consider bringing solar-powered or rechargeable batteries for your flashlights and technology. This can cut down on emissions from running your car to charge your electronics and be a great eco-friendly alternative to alkaline batteries that are difficult to dispose of.
Be sure to do all necessary research on the laws and rules of your state and campground before setting up your campfire. Practice fire safety and if fires are prohibited in your state or you are an inexperienced camper, consider getting a camping stove instead of cooking your food over an open fire.