Camping is a great way to reset the mind and soul by enjoying mother nature for a few days. Regardless of whether you’re a pro at camping, or if you’re about to try it for the first time, it’s important to realize the impact that we have on our environment. Just like when planning a sustainable summer BBQ, it’s essential to recognize that most camping supplies you see in big stores are just gadgets and unnecessary items designed to make camping feel like another day at home. These items defeat the purpose of camping and threaten the vibrancy of the wilderness.
Whether you’re planning a stay in a national park or setting out on a long backpacking trip, keep these tips in mind to make your camping experience more eco-friendly.
- Avoid plastic water bottles: Although it seems simple to grab a case of bottled water for your camping trip, think about how much you are negatively impacting the environment. To make matters worse, harmful chemicals are often used in the production of plastic water bottles. Trade in your plastic bottles for some reusable bottles to take with you on your camping trip, and anywhere else you’ll want water.
- Use natural body products: When camping, you’ll want to take items such as sunscreen, bug repellent, lotions, and makeup. Chances are you know how these products affect your body, but you may not know how they affect the environment. Water-soluble products such as sunscreen have the power to pollute lakes, streams and other bodies of water. To keep things simple, if the product is water-soluble, don’t bring it with you. Find ones that will still keep you safe from the sun and insects, but won’t hurt the environment. You should also invest in toothpaste and soap that are biodegradable. Small items like these can, over time and with enough people, cause mother nature serious damage.
- Bring reusable dishes and utensils: The idea of throwing away your paper plates and utensils after a meal sounds nice, especially while on vacation. However, the small amount of effort you put into washing your reusable dishes goes a long way with the environment. You’ll also be saving money by using the same dishes rather than having to buy new plates and utensils for every camping trip you go on.
- Buy used gear or rent: There is a great amount of money invested in the camping gear industry, but these items are not always necessary or eco-friendly. Lower your environmental impact by not buying the newest gear, but instead using gear that already exists. You can look for gear in second-hand stores, on the internet, or even get some from family and friends. Using second hand gear is not only eco-friendly, but it will also save you a ton of money.
- Use solar power: One of the first things new campers notice is how dark rural areas are at night. Instead of stocking up on AA and D batteries to power your flashlights and lanterns, you can invest a little more in a lighting option that runs off solar power, such as the LuminAID light. You might also want to bring along a solar charger to keep your phone or GPS powered up in case of emergencies.
Now that the weather is warming up, it’s the perfect time to go camping with family and friends! Try these suggested tips in order to ensure that you make the smallest possible environmental impact during your outdoor adventures this summer!