Camping Tips to Camp Sustainably

Camping Tips to Camp Sustainably

As time goes by, it's becoming more and more clear that reducing the ecological footprint of humans as a species is of utmost importance.

Simply put, we have only our beloved Earth to live on. There is, unfortunately, no Planet B (where would we go on a camping trip with sleeping bags on Mars??) 

While the nuances that come with discussing the topic of climate change and the environment could fill the pages of countless books, stacked upon thousands of bookshelves, today I want to discuss some camping tips that we can do on our camping trips to reduce our eco-footprint.

Of course, tent camping and car camping for example are practices where we take a camping trip out into the wilderness. 

Campgrounds, mountains, trails, national parks are examples of a few destinations. 

One thing that these locations have in common is ecosystems comprising flora and fauna that thrive on the cycle of nature, and engaging in damaging, unsustainable practices while out on a camping trip can seriously disrupt the flow of these ecosystems. 

There's a wealth of evidence out there of the effect that actions such as littering can have on animals (the infamous video of a tortoise with a plastic straw in its nose comes to mind), so it's more important than ever to be mindful of how you camp. 

Here are some tips on how you can camp and leave things just how you found them. 

Avoid Use of Plastic Bags 

If you are already using reusable cloth bags or something similar, remember to pack your reusable bags for when you go camping so you avoid the unnecessary use of plastic bags. 

So don't forget to put them on your travel list for your next getaway!

Better yet, you can fill them with your staples like oatmeal, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, using food you already have at home so it doesn't spoil on days you're away. 

Going camping in a sustainable way is much cheaper if you prepare well.

You're probably already using unpacked, zero-waste toiletries like bars of soap, bar shampoo, and deodorant, so it's just a matter of bringing it with you. 

You just need a way to transport it in an unbreakable, plastic-free container.

I suggest that you use natural fiber bags such as jute or sisal for the soap, which prevent the soap bars from falling out.

Likewise, avoid using plastic for a first aid kit.

open tent door in nature

Use Solar Power

While you may want to unplug from modernity for a while, you may need to generate your own power to charge cell phones or other mobile devices.

A useful suggestion is to have solar lamps for camping, which without the need for disposable batteries, have accumulators that can be easily recharged without polluting during the day, and then guarantee the necessary light at night.

You can also get batteries and charging stations that can be charged via solar which is much more sustainable than bringing a generator powered by gasoline. 

So while you're out hiking, for example, use the solar-powered equipment to charge your electronics ahead of time.

Get Reusable Drink Containers

Now here are another one of our best camping tips, everyone needs to take a water bottle and use it to stay on top of things right? 

But it's not just water, people love coffee, juice, shakes, you get the picture. 

However, the thing that these all have in common is that they come in various containers, usually plastic bottles or cartons. Which means more waste for the environment. 

So how can we prevent this?  

Bring your own bottles that can be used time and time again. For the liquids on the hotter side of life, having a thermos is one of the best ways to keep your coffee or tea at the right temperature and save waste. 

Likewise, there are plenty of sports bottles, water bottles, and vessels that you can to store your water, as bringing a crate of plastic bottles will only serve to be a detriment to the ecosystem and be a needless waste.

Clean Up After Yourself 

This is probably the most important aspect of being sustainable while you're camping. 

I mean, if you're leaving behind everything you've disposed of while camping for the ecosystem to deal with, it's not going to be the most sustainable practice right? 

The fact is, ecosystems aren't equipped to deal with non-biodegradable items such as plastic swirling around the place. 

Plants won't enjoy it, animals might get harmed interacting with your waste, in short, it throws everything out of order.

As we mentioned before in the plastic bag section, there are options such as reusable bins or sacks that you can take with you and store your rubbish there to dispose of it in the allocated bins. 

Stay true to the phrase "leave no trace". 

meat and vegetables cooking on a campfire

Prepare your Meals Ahead of Time

To save yourself time and money, plus minimize your impact on the environment, preparing meals before you set out on your camping trip is a great option.

However, it doesn't have to all be trail mix and canned food. 

There are a ton of meals that you can prepare that will have you excited for dinner time rather than dreading it. 

You can also pack food that you can easily cook without too much effort, such as pre made meals that you'll just have to heat up.

We've written an excellent guide to this previously, however, I can also recommend this article as well to make sure that you'll be well prepared for your next camping adventure. 

Reusable Utensils 

Instead of plastic cutlery, carry a set of stainless steel cutlery that, in addition to not breaking, lasts a lifetime.

If you like to walk and carry your backpack with you on long hiking trails and explore the area around you, a good option is also wooden cutlery as they are lighter.

And don't forget to bring a multipurpose knife that takes up very little space and will save you from a lot of trouble, since it serves as scissors, a bottle opener, and a few other neat purposes.

Get yourself an aid kit with all the items you need.

Get Quality Camping Gear

A great way to stay sustainable is to get some great quality camping gear and reuse it again and again.

Your next camping trip and all other camping trips following will be a lot more sustainable if you're not consistently buying a new sleeping bag, first aid kit, camp stove, or tent pegs for your camping kit every time you go.

One of the best camping tips is to invest in camping gear that's right for you.

Whether you're someone who goes on family camping trips or someone who hikes winter trails and needs sleeping bags on the heavier side, such as a down-filled sleeping bag, buy camping gear that is right for your camping experience.

For example, if you're going camping in winter, you probably won't bring that picnic table and sit outside.

Fire Pits

Make sure that when you're making a fire you're engaging in practices for your fire pits that are not damaging the environment around you.

Using chemicals to speed up the fire starting process and chopping down surrounding flora for firewood may prove to be detrimental to the surroundings.

Check with the campsites ahead of time to check if they have any firewood for sale or what their policies around making fires are.

As always, take care of your surroundings. You don't want to burn your sleeping pad while you're trying to get a good night's sleep.

For further reference, here's a great article about how to start a fire. 

campfire burning in the sunset

To Wrap Up 

Camping is one of the most beautiful ways to travel and explore the countryside with friends and family. 

Experienced campers share with others, plan ahead, and learn from their mistakes. Planning and sharing camping tips are crucial to making this simple activity even more sustainable. 

I hope I have inspired you with some new camping tips in this post. Give us your opinion and please share this article if you know people who might be interested in reading it, we'd love to hear from you.

Now go out on your next camping trip and enjoy the great outdoors!