5 Ways to Help the Environment When Camping
There’s nothing quite like falling asleep in a cozy sleeping bag under the stars and waking up to chirping birds, the sun beating down on your tent, and coffee by the campfire. Camping brings us closer to nature and allows us to experience the great outdoors in a more intimate way. It’s important that we love and care for our environment so that we’re able to continue to have these invaluable experiences and share them with future generations. We’ve put together a list of five ways you can be more eco-conscious on your next camping adventure.
1. Reduce Your Waste
A little planning goes a long way. Before you hit the grocery store, plan out your meals and snacks for the trip. Consider making your meals DIY-style by buying bulk ingredients to make homemade items and cut down on individual packaging. Bring reusable water bottles and fill up a water jug before you go. Or, if you’re camping near a reliable water source, consider bringing a water filter. It’s easy to grab paper plates and plastic utensils, but you can hugely reduce your waste by packing reusable dishes and cutlery. Plan to use a three-bucket dishwashing system and a towel for drying.
2. Leave No Trace
Remember that you are a guest in the natural area where you are camping. When you leave at the end of the trip it should look as if you were never there. Make sure to pack out or properly dispose of any garbage or food scraps and think twice before throwing your banana peel into the bushes. Natural food items are not always natural to the surrounding wildlife. Animals are not accustomed to the same food as us and could have problems digesting it. Plus, the next person who camps there probably won’t enjoy your rotting food waste. In addition to food, be sure to properly dispose of human waste too. Make use of the designated campground bathrooms. Or, if you’re in the backcountry, make sure to abide by the waste disposal rules for your area.
3. Be Conscientious of Your Body Products
Camping often calls for sunscreen and bug spray in addition to the usual toiletry products like soap and toothpaste. However, we seldom think about the ramifications these products can have on the natural environment. Opt for eco-friendly products that are biodegradable and don’t include toxic chemicals like permethrin (found in bug spray) or oxybenzone (found in sunscreen). There are plenty of great, multi-use products out there like Wilderness Wash which is an ultra-concentrated biodegradable soap that can be used as body wash, shampoo, and dish soap.
4. Practice Fire Safety
From s’mores to scary stories, campfires are an essential part of the camping experience. However, we have to take fires seriously and practice fire safety. As many as 90 percent of wildfires in the U.S. are caused by people, some of which result from unattended campfires. Make sure you know the campfire guidelines wherever you’re camping before starting a fire (they often change depending on the season/weather). Use the designated fire pit and keep your fire contained, at a manageable size, and away from flammable materials like tents and sleeping bags. Do not burn food or food scraps, this can attract wildlife. And always make sure to fully put out your campfire with water and wait 45 minutes to ensure all flames are out before leaving.
5. Respect Wildlife
Remember that wherever you’re camping is the permanent residence of many creatures and you should always treat them and their home with respect. Do not feed wildlife; human food is not good for wild animals and they may begin to associate humans with food. Keep your distance; wild animals are not pets and can act unpredictably. Lastly, keep your noise to a minimum. Animals are easily spooked by loud noises and we should respect their peace like any other neighbor.
Your Actions Matter
It’s these small actions that make a big difference. We hope this list has inspired you with new ways to respect and care for the environment during your next camping trip. We’ll see you out there!