Blog 11.02.2022

BLOG: Easy Sustainable Camping Practices

With camping getting ever more popular, it only seems fitting that we go all in and try to be as eco-friendly as possible. According to the 2021 North American Camping Report, the numbers don’t lie – camping has really taken off. In fact, we as a country set records in 2020 with a massive growth of first-time campers. Out of 94.5 million families who camp, a little over 10 million of those were first-time campers in 2020.


With this many people out there exploring Mother Nature, it behooves us to protect her. No doubt you have already seen sustainability messages of one form or another, and it really is important. The basic premise is to leave the outdoors better than you found it.


This spills over into the products and gear we use for camping. Here are a few ways to be a responsible camper and enjoy the outdoors with the lowest possible impact on the environment.


Leave No Trace

We’ve all heard this but it bears repeating. Many people recognize this as the most important rule of camping – and it basically means that you leave no trace behind after you’ve finished your camping stay. In an ideal world, you’d leave the campsite better than you found it. Something as simple as picking up leftover garbage from previous campers is all it takes.


Leaving no trace is also not moving any natural items you find during your stay and when you’re out exploring, or introducing an invasive species to a new location. We are merely guests in Mother Nature’s home. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


Location, Location…

As fun as long road trips are, ideally, they should be done sparingly – maybe once a year. For the other times, opt for camping closer to home. Or even in your backyard! By doing so, you’ll be using fewer fossil fuels, thereby reducing your carbon footprint. Think of it this way – the less time you spend driving, the more time you’ll get to actually enjoy being outside and soaking up nature.


Give camping closer to home a try – you never know what spectacular places you might find!

Just be sure it’s in a designated camping area. Don’t go too off the beaten path.


Use as Little Waste as Possible

It’s great to aim for zero waste, but the reality is that it’s just not possible. But do what you can! One great way to do this is to divide your garbage (much like most communities do at home):


  • Recycling (cardboard, plastic, glass)
  • Compost (egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit rinds, etc.)
  • Regular trash


Prepare the vast majority (or all) of your meals instead of going out to eat. This takes a little planning but can be done. And only bring what you need. This keeps you from creating too much waste or lots of plastic wrappers. When packing your food for the camping trip, opt for reusable bags. Beeswax wraps make a great addition to your kitchen gear kit as it is also reusable.


Reusable water bottles are huge. Have at least one for every member of your party and refrain from buying single-use plastic bottles of water at the store. Investing a few bucks in a nice reusable water bottle will last you for MANY camping trips and can even be used every day.

Stainless steel bottles are great for keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.


Batteries are another big one. Instead of regular batteries, purchase rechargeable batteries whenever possible for things like flashlights, headlamps, etc. Better yet, look into using portable solar chargers to power your devices while you camp.


Rent or Borrow Your Gear

If you are one of those once-a-year campers (or even less), consider renting all of your camping gear or borrowing from a friend. This not only saves you money, but it also helps with overall product consumption. There are some great options for renting your camping supplies or even shopping at your local thrift store. That way you can donate it back when you are done.


Use Biodegradable Products

Lots of products nowadays come biodegradable. Even sunscreen! Other sunscreens have chemicals that can be hard on the water, soil, plant, and wildlife if it gets into the environment. Biodegradable soap, toothpaste, and bug spray are available, as well.


Protect the Wildlife

We’ve all seen the videos or heard stories of well-meaning people interacting with or trying to “save” the wildlife. This rarely ends well, especially for the poor creatures who are just trying to mind their own business! Do not feed, get near, or interact with any wildlife you see – in any capacity. Simply appreciate them from afar and only take photos (with a zoom lens). Also, at the campsite, keep your food well out of reach:


  • Don’t leave food scraps on the ground
  • Use bear-resistant containers
  • Store your food and trash in a cooler in your car or in a park bear locker
  • Or use a tree and hoist to keep your goods 10-15 feet off the ground


Use Fire Responsibly

We all grew up with Smokey the Bear, right? And his wise words of wisdom? Time to really put them into practice. Always follow any fire rules and restrictions in the area you’re camping in (especially in the warmer months) and NEVER leave a fire unattended. Keep the fire to designated areas, in a fire ring, and well away from your tent, RV, vegetation, etc.


Use firewood that came locally from the area (ideally within 50 miles). This ensures you don’t introduce any invasive species to the area. Your campground host or a nearby store should have firewood.


And when you’re ready to douse that fire for the night, be sure to do it at least 45 minutes before you plan to turn in. This gives plenty of time for the embers to cool down completely before you go to sleep. Dump water on the fire, stir the ashes a little and wait, then add more water.

Blog 11.02.2022