Summer is the time to get back to nature. Just make sure no one knows you were ever there. That’s the guiding principle behind sustainable camping, which recognizes that, while no summer is complete without wilderness treks and semi-sturdy tents, careless campers can also do considerable, thoughtless harm to the environment. For the eco-conscious adventurer who wants to enjoy the outdoors without impacting it, here are ten simple ways to make sure you leave things exactly the way you found them.
1. Use a camp stove instead of building a fire
Sustainable camping is all about leaving no trace. And one of the best ways to do that is to use a camp stove. A camp stove allows you to cook your meals without having to build a fire. That means no cutting down trees for wood or using up valuable resources. Plus, it’s easy to clean up after yourself when you’re using a camp stove. All you need to do is pack up and carry it out with you. So next time you go camping, ditch the fire and go sustainable with a camp stove.
2. Pack up your trash, including food scraps
There are a lot of good reasons to pack up your trash. For one thing, it’s sustainable, of course. But leaving food behind attracts animals, which can lead to them becoming habituated to humans and losing their fear of us. This can ultimately be dangerous for both animals and humans. In addition, it’s just not cool to leave food scraps behind. Nobody wants to see dirty dishes and half-eaten food scattered around, so pack it with you when you leave. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will help keep your campsite clean and tidy.
3. Use a solar shower or waterless soap to avoid polluting rivers and streams
Another way of being much more sustainable while camping is to use a solar shower or waterless soap to avoid polluting rivers and streams. Solar showers are a great way to conserve water, and they’re also eco-friendly because they don’t use any fossil fuels. Waterless soap can also be a sustainable choice because it doesn’t require water. Simply rub it on your hands or body, then rinse it off with clean water. Not only will you be doing your part to protect the environment, but you’ll also save yourself a trip to the river or stream to wash up. But make sure to use eco-friendly soap!
4. Leave rocks, plants, and animals where you find them
When you camp, it’s tempting to want to take a souvenir home with you — a pretty rock or perhaps a unique plant. But taking things from nature is not sustainable — and it’s kind of rude. It’s important to remember everything in nature has its own purpose. Rocks help to prevent soil erosion, plants provide oxygen and homes for animals, and animals help to balance ecosystems by preying on plants and other animals. If you remove one thing from its natural environment, it can cause a ripple effect that disrupts the whole system. So sustainable camping means leaving rocks, plants, and animals just where you find them. That way, everyone can enjoy the great outdoors for years to come.
5. Dispose of human waste properly
When you’re camping sustainably, you need to be careful about disposing of human waste. If you don’t properly dispose of your poop, it can contaminate local water sources and even spread disease. That’s why it’s important to dig a hole at least six inches deep and 200 feet away from any water sources before you go number two. And don’t forget to pack up your used toilet paper! Sustainable camping is all about leaving the environment the way you found it, and that includes disposing of your human waste as well.
6. Bring your own food and water
When sustainable camping, you should always bring your own food and water. This way, you can be sure that you’re not damaging the environment or harming local wildlife. Plus, it’s just common courtesy. If you were to sustainable camp in my backyard, I would expect you to bring your own food and water. Otherwise, you would be putting a strain on my resources. And sustainable camping is all about being resourceful, right? So don’t be a sustainable camper who doesn’t bring their own food and water. Be a nice guest instead.
7. Use a reusable water bottle
Another important thing to consider is the water you’ll be using when camping. If you’re used to filling up your water bottle at the tap before heading out on a hike, you might not think twice about it. But when you’re camping sustainably, you need to be more conscious of your water usage. That’s why it’s important to use a reusable water bottle. Not only will you save money on the long run, but you’ll also be doing your part to help the environment. Plus, if you forget to pack your water bottle, you can always fill up your reusable mug at the campsite cafe. So next time you go camping, make sure to bring along a reusable water bottle. You’ll be glad you did!
8. Take reusable food boxes with you
Sustainable life really doesn’t go without using sustainable materials. So, try to use sustainable food boxes instead of disposable ones. Reusable food boxes are great because they help reduce the amount of waste that gets generated. Plus, they’re usually made from sustainable materials like bamboo or sustainable plastic. And they're often more durable than their disposable counterparts, which means they’ll last longer and save you money in the long run. So, if you're looking for a sustainable way to camp, make sure you use reusable food boxes. They’ll help reduce your impact on the environment and save you money in the process.
9. Choose a camp site close to home
One good way to camp responsibly is to choose a campsite close to home. That way, you won’t have to drive for hours to get there. And you won’t have to use up all your gas money, too. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the sustainable activities that are available near your home. And you know what? Even the feeling of being somewhere else can give you a holiday feeling already. So, why not a campsite close to home?
10. Carpool to your camp
To bag the best spot at the campsite, you need to arrive early. But after a long day of driving, the last thing you want to do is set up a camp. That’s where carpooling comes in. If there’s another person driving, then there are more people to build the camp. Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Plus, you reduce your impact on the environment by carpooling to your campsite. So, next time you’re planning a camping trip, remember to invite your friends along for the ride. And who knows — maybe you’ll even make some new ones along the way.