Camping is a great way to experience nature, bond with friends or family, and spend some time unplugged from daily stress. As fun as it is, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that your camping trip doesn’t hurt the environment.
One of the biggest things to monitor when camping is also the easiest. Bottom line — leave NO trash behind. Come prepared with bags or bins to haul off each and every can, bottle, or wrapper that you bring along. Better yet, plan food, drink, and supplies that require minimal packaging, and you’ll have less to worry about. Pack reusable water and drink bottles and foods packaged in paper instead of plastic. Your campsite, as well as trails and waterways, should show no trace of garbage once you’ve left!
A campsite just wouldn’t be the same without a fire. Roasting marshmallows, enjoying the crackling sounds, and watching the flames are some of the essential simple pleasures associated with camping. That said, make sure your fire is safe. If you’re camping at an established site, use the provided fire ring, and make sure you have extinguishing materials handy. If you’re camping in a remote area, use an abundance of caution to make sure your fire stays in control at all times. Fires should be thoroughly doused with water before everyone retires to their tent.
Minimize chemicals so you don’t damage the soil, water supply, or wildlife in the area. Wash dishes and yourself with minimal, biodegradable soap. Insect repellents and sunscreens should be organic if possible. Lately, camping gear is being manufactured with the environment in mind as well — phthalate free plastics are readily available and sleeping bags and tents made from recycled materials are hitting the market as well.
Whether you’re camping for a weekend or a cross-country trek, treat the Earth with the respect it deserves! Leave no trace behind, and you’ll preserve the site for its native wildlife inhabitants as well as many campers to come.