Eco-Friendly Camping Trips

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Eco Friendly Camping Tips and Advice at RandomRecycling.com

Please welcome my guest blogger Elizabeth who is sharing some great camping tips.  I have been camping once so I am happy to have someone with a lot more experience share some fun ways to stay green while camping.

 
My first camping memory is from when I was seven years old.  We lived in Fort Lewis, Washington at the time and I can still recall running down the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean with my siblings and friends.  There is a vague memory of waking up in a tent and the smell of campfires.  I love talking to my father about my first encounter with a raccoon that was stealing trash through a fence right near our camp.  It was beyond exciting.

Since I have grown up, camping has taken on a whole new interesting twist for me.  Now I have a growing interest in all things frugal, but also in trying to be sustainable and take care of the same environment I’ve grown to love spending so much time in.

Basics – Follow the Rules
First and foremost, follow these common and important rules that you’ll find in most camp areas.
  • Don’t bring firewood that isn’t from that particular area.  This creates a risk of introducing disease and pests that could wreak havoc on the beautiful place you are staying.
  • Make sure you never leave your fire or hot coals unattended.  Also, if possible try to only have fires in designated areas.
  • My mom always taught us to leave the campsite cleaner than it was when we arrived, and I think it’s one of the best pieces of advice for any camper.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
When you start packing your camping boxes, you may find yourself reaching for paper (or Styrofoam *shudder*) plates with those white plastic forks, knives, and spoons.  There will inevitably be those rolls of paper towels and paper napkins accompanying them.  My best piece of advice is to resist this urge and the illusion of convenience.
These items are garbage, no really; they are just going to be trashed.  This inevitably is negative because obviously if you care about sustainability you don’t want to contribute to our trash problem for no reason.  You may not have considered that this trash is also inconvenient for you.  The more of these papers goods you are putting in a trash bag in your campsite, the more objects there are for our favorite camping critters and friends to smell out and then toss all over your campsite.
So let’s consider some really fun options out there.
  • BPA-Free reusable plastic kitchenware comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors.  Check out the Sea To Summit X Bowl & X Plate which is collapsible so it saves you room.  They also have the Delta Plate and Delta Bowl.
  • Check out the many metal-based products out there.  The MSR Mountain Plate is stainless steel and lightweight, while still being a bit more sturdy then the cheaper aluminum plates.  Enamelware plates are also really popular choices like this GSI Metal Rim Plate.  If you are interested in a bit more of an investment, check out this Snow Peak Titanium Plate that leaves no metallic taste in your food and will not rust.
  • Sporks are not just a fun idea for kids in school, so check around for some great multipurpose reusable utensils.  The Delta Spork with Serrated Knife is BPA-Free and is ergonomically designed for easy use.  Bamboo has become known as a great sustainable resource and so I was excited to find these Bamboo RePEaT Utensil Sets that come with cute cases in various colors, but it doesn’t just stop at bamboo.  Those cases are made from recycled PET plastic! How great is that?
  • Check out local thrift stores for hand towels you can pack with you to use instead of paper towels.  The great things with these are that you can just simply rinse them out and then you hang them up to dry and they’ll be ready to go by your next meal generally.
Cook Well, Store Well, Eat Well
A great investment option for campers is cast iron that can be used both in your home and during your great outdoor adventures.  One of my favorite pages for information on cast iron is found at Sustainable Baby Steps.  You can either purchase these beauties brand new or you can keep an eye out for friend, family, or garage/yard sales looking to get rid of older pans.
Next, invest in a real cooler.  Do not be tempted by cheap coolers because the chances are you will quickly lose money in the ice that you will have to replace.  Not all of us can go for coolers like the Coleman OptiMaxx though, which rings in around $370.  The Coleman Xtreme is a much cheaper cooler that promises to keep ice for around 5 days at 90F degrees, that isn’t bad! Be sure to test your cooler out before you purchase it as well.  Sometimes coolers makes great promises but are difficult to latch or barely stay closed at all.
Lastly, remember to eat well.  Sometimes campers are bombarded by convenience foods that are packed with unnecessary fillers, preservatives, and tons of sodium.  Before you venture out into your camping trip, make a detailed list of meals for your time.  Be sure to include snacks and drinks.  Most recipes are easily translatable to a campfire, especially if you have a cast iron Dutch oven that allows you to bake.

 

  • Meet your campsite neighbors.
  • See if your campsite has fun activities for the kids (or the adults – bingo anyone?).
  • Walk trails.
  • Bring your bicycles.
  • Go swimming if you can.
  • Create traditions.
Most of all – make memories with your loved ones that will last their lifetime and enjoy the time you have together in nature.

About the Author
Elizabeth Beadles is a twenty-something stay at home mom and wife.  She loves camping, writing, and playing with her son.  She believes that we are all capable of making choices to become responsible individuals living a sustainable lifestyle.  You can find her ramblings and thoughts on life, love, and sustainability at As We Grow Green.
 

Kitchen Stewardship in the Big Woods: Family Camping Handbook

Need more Camping Food ideas? Check out the Kitchen Stewardship in the Big Woods ebook with lots of real food recipes for camping. Plus tips on how to organize your campsite and what to pack to keep the kids entertained.  (Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Kitchen Stewardship ebooks. I love her recipe books and  I get a small percentage of each book sold. Happy reading.)

photo credit: bulliver via photopin cc

About Emily Roach

Green Boston mom of three young children. Focused on family nutrition, wholesome recipes, and an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth is my Grand-Daughter. I loved all of the things she wrote but the one that made the most proud was about "leaving your campsite cleaner than when you arrived." Her Mom learned that truism from me and I am proud to see the legacy continue! She has taken everything so much further than we did that now she teaches us. Also her son is the Fourth Generation of "green campers" and he and his cousin are learning from the very beginning of their lives! YEA!

  2. I can't believe people need to be told to clean up! The whole idea of camping is to appreciate nature. Before 'modern"plastic we all took our things in and out.
    I must say, if your site has no electric(not always a green choice) the old ice cooler is the only choice unless you go the way of no cook meals, like granola.

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