10 Tips for a More Sustainable, Eco-friendly Camping Trip
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
After my most recent beach camping trip, I felt inspired to share some tips on how to have a more sustainable, eco-friendly camping experience! Even though summer is drawing to a close, there is plenty of good camping weather left. I encourage you to incorporate these tips during your next camping adventure no matter the season!
Ditch the plastic: Skip the single-use, disposable plastics and opt for reusable plates, cups, and silverware. Be sure to bring a few reusable water bottles and a water tank to keep filled. Also, forgo paper towels and use quick-dry cloths instead.
DIY snacks and meals: When planning out snacks and meals, be sure to do so with waste in mind. Minimize food waste by planning meals in advance. Instead of going for snacks with single-use packaging, buy food in bulk and store in reusable containers, or make your own snacks (e.g., protein or energy bars). If you do buy snacks in packaging, be sure to repack them in your own reusable containers/bags before you leave for your trip. Beeswax wraps are a great packaging alternative that are washable and reusable. Consider transferring coffee, tea, and condiments into small jars and bring only what you need.
Pack out trash and recycling: Make sure you properly dispose of your waste. Bring at least two reusable waste bags, one for trash and one for recycling. If your campground doesn’t have recycling, take it home to make sure your waste is disposed of properly.
Do a trash clean-up: Do your part while camping to pick up any trash you may see left over from other campers and dispose of it in the proper bins so it doesn't harm wildlife.
Keep water clean and go toxic-free: Use of sunscreen oils and lotions, bug repellent and other water-soluble products can pollute the ocean, lakes, rivers, and ponds, and be toxic to aquatic life and wildlife. Make sure to be thoughtful of what you put on your body before you swim! Opt for natural bug sprays and non-nano mineral sunscreen instead of chemical sunscreen, that is packed with oxybenzone and octinoxate considered harmful to not only human health but aquatic life and coral reefs.
Get biodegradable soap, shampoo, and toothpaste: Going along with the latter tip, be sure to get biodegradable soap, shampoo, and toothpaste to avoid any harm to the environment and wildlife. These products can take a long time to degrade out in the wild. Additionally, always make sure to be 200 feet away from any water source when using soap, shampoo, or toothpaste!
Use rechargeable batteries: To avoid creating unnecessary waste, consider using rechargeable batteries or, better yet, get products that can be recharged by the sun.
Borrow, rent, or share gear: Before you buy new, try to borrow or rent the gear you need. If camping with friends, share a tent and cooking equipment. If you still need to purchase gear, shop secondhand. Buying used gear decreases the demand for new and keeps other people’s unwanted things out of the landfill, plus it helps you save money.
Dispose of grey water properly: If dumping grey water is allowed at your camp site, strain out excess food particles and dump the water on a plant away from your campsite. Choose a different plant each time. Ideally, bring a container and carry it to the nearest disposal site.
Bring a bike: When exploring around your camping area, opt to bike instead of using your car to cut down on GHG emissions. Plus, it’s way more fun!
Above all, remember to always leave your area better than you found it. Be good stewards of the land and enjoy your trip!