10 Jul 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Next Camping Trip Even Greener
It’s officially summertime, which means you may be gearing up for some outdoor adventures. Camping is one of America’s favorite ways to enjoy nature. And, while it’s certainly “greener” than staying indoors and eating up electricity with television, there are still plenty of ways to further reduce your carbon footprint as you sleep under the stars.
Aside from the obvious tips, like “pack out your trash,” and “put out your campfire,” here are 5 of our favorites:
Buy (or Rent!) Used Gear. Buying the latest, greatest gear may seem more exciting… but it can also contribute to wasteful production practices which harm the earth and the people who earn their living in manufacturing. Buying used gear is a great way to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and the good news is, summertime is garage sale season! Another great (potentially free) option is to borrow gear from a trusted friend or save money by renting from a local retail shop.
Bring Eco-Friendly Toiletries. Nothing could be worse than becoming one with nature for a night or two… only to contaminate nearby water sources with toxic detergents and soaps. When washing dishes and utensils, be sure to dump waste water on dry ground or vegetation – not in streams and rivers. When showering or washing your face, use only eco-friendly soaps and cleansers, like this one from On Board Organics. A reusable cleansing cloth is an ideal alternative to wasteful baby wipes. When it comes to sunscreens, consider non-toxic options made without Oxybenzone to avoid contamination of the area. And, because that just-bitten, chickenpox look is nearly as awful as chemical bug sprays, check out lanterns that double as mosquito repellant or reusable bracelets made with natural citronella oil.
Bring Reusable Dishes. Eating outdoors: amazing! Creating pounds of waste you have to pack out and dump: not so great. Instead of paper and plastic, consider dishes, utensils, and cookware that can be wiped out, washed, and reused, like these beautiful options from Bohemian Bowls. You’ll feel so much better about your dining experience AND you’ll be saving money in the long-run! Bonus tip: bandanas or cloth napkins can double as tissues, doused in citronella oil to repel bugs, or soaked in water and worn around the neck for instant cooling. Read our blog post on sustainable picnic gear for more ideas.
Pick the right campsite. Obviously, if you’re at a state or national park, they’ll have plenty of designated camping areas set up for you. However, if you’re trekking out in wild country, use consideration when choosing your campsite. You can lower your impact on the area by picking a gravel, packed dirt, or rock slab site where tent pegs won’t leave a lasting mark or destroy vegetation and where campfires will be less likely to get out of hand. Hanging tent or car tent options are also great ways to “green” your home away from home.
Stay on the trail – You’ve probably seen signs posted at your favorite hiking trails asking you to stay on the designated pathways. Do the forest rangers hate adventure and open exploration? No – the reason for this is actually because off-roading pedestrians can trample an area’s essential vegetation, erode the soil, and impact a delicate eco-system in ways you may not be able to see right away. Remember: All of us earthly life forms are connected. Let’s be respectful of each other.
These simple tips can help make your next camping trip even greener. Try them out and enjoy! Got additional advice or tricks you’ve tried on eco-friendly nature expeditions? Share them with us below!