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How To Have A More Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

eco-friendly camping

If you’ve been camping before, you’re probably aware of the large amount of waste you generate. It’s quite ironic, as camping is all about emulating a simpler way of living and getting more in touch with nature. Then how is it that you end up with a bag full of plastic wrappers? Cutting down on how much you throw away when camping isn’t hard to do. It’s all about proper planning. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how you can have a more eco-friendly camping trip.

Make Your Own Meals And Snacks

Campers tend to bring a lot of store-bought meals and snacks on their trips. These include things like granola bars, cookies, pre-prepared dishes…etc. Thanks to this habit, they usually end up with a lot of waste that they have to dispose of.  A more eco-friendly alternative is to make your own meals and snacks (check out these camping food ideas that need no refrigeration). This way, you can store them in reusable containers and eliminate plastic wrappers altogether. 

If you’ve got kids with an acute case of sweet tooth, pack in some homemade lemon bars or brownies and you’re good to go!

Go Organic

Most ingredients available in local supermarkets are grown using traditional agricultural methods. This involves using all sorts of artificial herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers – chemicals that can harm the environment a great deal. On the other hand, ingredients that are organically-produced don’t use any of these. Therefore, whenever you’re meal-planning for a camping trip, it’s always better to go for the latter.   

Segregate Your Waste

It’s always a good practice to bring along a couple of reusable trash bags on your camping trips:  one for non-recyclable waste and the other for recyclable items. In addition to these, you could even bring one for compost, if you wish. Generally, most campsites have designated recycling. However, in the off-chance that yours doesn’t, prepare to take it home with you and dispose of it properly.

Purchase Biodegradable Products

While you may not intend to dump anything on the camping grounds, you typically won’t be able to prevent things like soapy run-off or toothpaste coming into contact with your surroundings. That is of course unless you don’t plan on taking a shower or brushing your teeth at all, which we wouldn’t recommend for obvious reasons. 

The problem with most soap and toothpaste is that they’re not biodegradable. However, you can find biodegradable varieties easily, either on the internet or perhaps even at your local grocery store. In addition, whenever you’re washing yourself or the dishes with soap, make sure you’re at least 200 metres away from a lake or stream. This will prevent soap run-off from getting into the water, which could be hazardous to the plant life and creatures inhabiting it. 

Rent Instead Of Buying

When you use products that are already available, you minimize the impact they have on the environment. Hence, if you plan on buying camping gear, consider buying used ones or either renting some from a reliable vendor. If you’re buying new gear to replace something broken, why not have the latter repaired first? It certainly leads to a more eco-friendly camping trip. Plus, this way, you’ll be able to save money as well.

Clean Up After Yourself

Realistically, there’s no way we wouldn’t generate any waste at all while out on a camping trip. Whether it’s the single-use wrapper from a candy bar impulsively purchased from a grocery store or the packaging from a piece of camping gear, waste isn’t completely avoidable. So the next best thing is cleaning up after ourselves. 

We’ve already suggested bringing reusable trash bags with you so make sure you use them. After every meal, spend a few minutes segregating the trash into the designated recyclable and non-recyclable bags. Whenever you unpack something, make sure to dispose of the packaging immediately.

According to Camping Forge you can use a garbage bag for many different purposes besides cleanup on your camping trip, including using it as a poncho or stuffing it with grass and making a sleeping pad.

Cleaning up is no doubt a dull activity, so why not make a fun game out of it? Designate a bag for each person in your group and make the objective to collect as many trash items as possible. This will encourage everyone to not only clean up after themselves but also to pick up trash that has been left behind by others.  

Don’t Pollute The Lakes And Rivers

It’s fun to take a dip in the water but you should always take care not to pollute it. This means you shouldn’t get in while you’re lathered up with any sort of lotion or makeup. Even bug spray can dissipate into the water and cause harm to the fish. 

Here’s a simple rule to abide by. If the product is soluble in water, don’t bring it with you on the trip.

Only Bring Rechargeable Batteries

People rarely leave their electronic devices behind when they go camping. While your phone and walkie talkie can be pretty handy, it’s recommended that you bring along a flashlight or a headlamp on the trip as well, and a couple of rechargeable batteries to power them up. 

Rechargeable batteries can help eliminate toxic waste and prevents you from having to spend a lot. Alternatively, you could purchase products that can be recharged with solar energy, especially if you go camping quite often.

As you can see, it’s actually quite easy to have an eco-friendly camping trip. From making your own meals to cleaning up after yourself, there are several easy measures you can take to reduce the amount of waste generated and prevent any negative impact on the environment. 

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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