7 Tips for a Sustainable Camping Trip
Temperatures are finally starting to drop here in Georgia, and if you’re anything like us, you hear the outdoors calling. There’s nothing sweeter than immersing yourself in nature at this time of year, whether you go it alone or round up a group of friends. Check out our tips below to see how you can make your weekend in the woods as eco-friendly as possible.
1. Reduce Needless Packaging
Do you really need to bring those juice boxes or individually wrapped snacks? You can easily minimize packaging by planning your meals ahead of time and buying in bulk. Shoot for one-pot meals and pack what you can in reusable containers. Ditch paper napkins for rinsable quick-dry towels, and invest in camping kits that include washable plates, cups, and silverware. Traveling with a group of friends? Eliminate the hassle of beer cans and bottles and bring a growler or two instead.
2. Invest in Reusable Water Bottles and Jugs
Think about it: when you’re out in the wilderness hiking or enjoying a day on the lake, you drink a lot of water. You might even find yourself hydrating more than you do at home! Why bother hauling around packs of single-use water bottles when you can bring one that you can refill again and again? Depending on the duration of your trip and your personal preferences, you can either pair it with a water purifier or a couple of reusable 5-gallon jugs that you fill up beforehand at home.
3. Purchase Biodegradable Soap, Toiletries, + Repellants
These days, you can find environmentally friendly camping products easily. Stores like Target and Kroger sell a range of non-toxic bug repellants, and with the help of the internet, you can even find recipes for making your own! The same goes for items like soap, toothpaste, or for longer trips, shampoo—make or purchase biodegradable products and avoid polluting our waterways. (And if you’re going to be wearing sunscreen, try using one without oxybenzone, which isn’t great for your body and has also been proven to harm coral reefs.)
4. Obtain Campfire Wood Locally
The number one concern with carrying wood long distances or across state lines? You might unintentionally bring invasive pests along with it. If you purchase logs for your trip, do so at the park you’ll be visiting or somewhere nearby. You can also collect your own kindle—just make sure you only take dead branches already lying on the ground. You certainly don’t want to chop down a tree or disturb a critter’s home! And of course, before you leave, check to make sure there isn’t a fire ban in your area.
5. Protect Native Plants
Like we’ve already mentioned once, there’s nothing better than going on a nice long hike when you’re out camping. This might even be already built into your trip if you backpack to your destination! Just remember to stick to designated trails and sites. Wildflowers, trees, and shrubs cannot thrive if they’re accidentally trampled.
6. Properly Dispose of Human + Pet Waste
If you’re camping in an area that has a restroom or an outhouse, use it. If you don’t have access to those kinds of facilities, bury your waste. Come prepared with a trowel and plan on packing out toilet paper and sanitary products. If you’re traveling with pets, bring waste bags for them too. Proper disposal not only prevents pollution and health risks, but improves the experience of the campers around you.
7. Leave No Trace
Litter is harmful to wildlife, and it’s also unsightly. Respect our beautiful lands and those who enjoy it by packing out everything you brought in. This doesn’t have to be limited to trash—if you recycle or compost at home, bring that same mindset on your camping trip. The park you’re visiting might offer separate disposal options, and if it doesn’t, just toss your trash there and bring the rest home. What’s a couple of hours in a bag in your trunk if it keeps unnecessary items out of the landfill?