Camping is one of the best outdoor activities to do with friends and family throughout most months of the year. What’s better than gazing up at a dark sky full of stars, surrounded by no light pollution? Or chilling out by a campfire eating smores?
With the ever increasing popularity of camping in general, more and more people are heading out into the wild to pitch their tents, start their fires and cook their meals. It’s super important that everyone who ever ventures into the outdoors to camp understands the importance of camping in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.
When people don’t pick up their litter and negatively affect the surroundings, it can ruin the situation for everyone. What you might think is a small piece of plastic or “there’s no way that could do any harm” can lead to a much wider issue. Many national parks, forest associations and coastguards are banning wild camping from their areas.
Whilst there could be a few reasons for this, there is no hiding from the fact that the ever increasing presence of humans, rubbish and fire in the wild are negatively affecting wildlife and the ecosystem.
Now I understand, that all sounds terrible – right? And some of you might be wondering whether you can go camping at all? Well, it isn’t all doom and gloom. If campers across the world can learn how to camp in an eco-friendly and environmentally friendly manner, which has no effect on the wildlife and surroundings. The adventurers, the animals and the land owners will be happy and camping will be permitted to continue into the future.
How can I camp in an eco friendly manner? - Top 7 tips
Light your fire correctly
It goes without saying that any camping trip will feel incomplete without a fire. And we don’t want to tell you not to make one. They are important features of a camp for you to cook on and to help you remain warm.
But there are so many campers who fail to make a fire correctly and end up causing damage to the environment.
Follow our useful guide on how to build a campfire here.
Always pack reusable food/drink equipment
This might seem obvious to some people, but i can’t count on my hands how many times i’ve hiked past an old campsite and seen plastic cups, plastic knives/forks/spoons, cardboard coffee cups and a whole host of other ‘one time use’ items on the floor.
If you are going to go through the effort of carrying items around, why not just carry things you can use more than once? You’ll save yourself money in the long run.
Stay within designated areas and camp sites
Whilst getting off the beaten track can seem like a fun idea – to explore where no one has before etc. It can cause damage to the wildlife and environment. It’s likely that the eco-system you are entering is stable and has remained that way for decades. For you to enter, make a fire, clear the ground and pitch your tent is going to cause a massive disturbance. Stick to the designated areas.
Use second hand camping gear
If you aren’t a frequent camper and only get out there 1 or 2 times a year, buying brand new camping gear isn’t only super expensive but it’s also unnecessary too. You can find plenty of 2nd hand gear online and even ask around your friends and family.
Whatever you take, leaves with you
Even if it seems like the most inconsiderable piece of rubbish, it must leave with you! The only way to keep the wild clean and ‘untouched’ is to leave it looking that way. How would you feel if you turned up to camp and the area was little with glass bottles, plastic wrappers and ash from a fire everywhere? Don’t leave it like that for somebody else either!
Use biodegradable and eco friendly products where possible
Not everything you’re likely to carry will be eco-friendly but there is a few things you should have in your bag whilst camping. The first being eco friendly firelighters. If you can’t get a fire going using tinder, it’s best to use a firelighter. However standard fire lighters give of toxic fumes which are harmful to the environment. It’s best to use eco-friendly fire lighters.
Another biodegradable product I would carry is environmentally friendly soap. Whilst you are washing your dishes (after a lovely campfire dinner), you will likely dispose of the water under a bush if there are no grey water disposal areas. If you use ordinary dish soap, this is a bad idea! It contains chemicals that can harm plants and wildlife. There are plenty of options on the market for biodegradable soaps which won’t hurt the environment.
Using solar power to cook
Whilst not much compares to a nice smoky BBQ on some hot coals. If you are really eco-conscious and don’t want to make a fire, then you can use the power of solar to cook your meals. Solar cookers have been on the market for a long time and the technology has come a long way. Nowadays solar cookers are much smaller and easier to pack.
Conclusion: Eco-Friendly Camping
We truly hope that this information will help make your next camping trip sustainable and eco-friendly. Remember that everyone has to share the outdoors and if we all were irresponsible with the ways we act, it won’t be as beautiful as it is now for much longer. You can already see the decline in wildlife and appearance in places like the Great Barrier Reef.
Start by planning your trip out, list the things you are taking, what you are doing and where you are going. And ask yourself, “If I could make this list more eco-friendly, what would I change?” That’s usually the best place to start. Over time you’ll get better and better at it!