Camping is one of the oldest and simplest forms of traveling. Just you, your backpack and a whole lot of adventuring in front of you.
There is no feeling more freeing than camping and being at one with nature. It can also be a really cheap way of traveling and saving money as many camp sites only charge a small fee to camp and other places charge no fee at all.
Last year, I was traveling through Greece and, as a way to save money, I purchased a tent and decided I was going to camp on the island of Skopelos.
It was during this blissful week of camping in an old olive grove, nestled in a secret cove on the coast, that I came to realize the importance of being environmentally conscious whilst camping. Along the beach front, the remnants of past campers was littered amongst the olive trees, turning this beautiful serene place into one dirty by the trash.
I started to research ways to be eco-friendly whilst traveling and have come up with the top eight ways to make sure that your next camping trip is not harming the environment.
There are the top eco-camping tips to keep in mind on your next camping trip:
1. Tent Pegs
If you are bringing your tent from home, make sure that you wash and sterilise the tent pegs. Differences in the soil where you are could cause problems in the new place you camp; you don’t want to unintentionally harm the environment.
Some campsites will have trash cans but if you are going for a more adventurous camping trip, chances are there will not be anywhere to place your rubbish. Try to bring food with minimal packaging. And make sure you take all of your rubbish with you.
3. Upcycle Old Gear
Purchasing new camping gear can become expensive so consider looking into buying used gear. Not only are you saving money but you are helping the environment too.
4. Eco-Friendly Gear
It is so much easier to take disposable plates and forks but that’s not good for the environment. Consider investing in some hardy re-usable travel crockery and cutlery. There are some great eco-varieties available and they pack down small and light.
5. Eco-Friendly Toiletries
Using the inland lake as a shower whilst hiking is a great idea. Using soap packed full of chemicals in the lake is not a good idea and harmful to the environment. There are plenty of eco soaps on the market that are not full of harsh chemicals so choose one of these.
6. Camp Smart
If you are heading off the beaten path or there are no designated camping sites nearby, make sure you pitch your tent where it will have the least impact on the ecosystem. Look for natural clearings or spots with dirt or gravel, as camping here will lower your impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
If there is a designated campfire area, then make sure you use it. Never cut branches from trees and make sure you only collect wood from the ground that is not disturbing the ecology of the surrounding area. Also, important to note before you go, some places have fire bans or regulations so check before leaving on your trip!
8. Toilet Etiquette
Wandering through an olive grove, next to a stunning beach, and suddenly finding a field of toilet paper from past campers is not a pleasant sight. Make sure that you take any toilet paper with you in a bag to dispose of later and dig a hole to cover up your waste.
Camping allows you to get off the beaten track and to get up close with the natural beauty of the place that you are traveling through. By ensuring that your trip is as eco-conscious as possible, you do your part to ensure that the environment will be enjoyed by others long after you have passed through, looking just the same as when you were there.
*This article was originally published on Travel Go Girl Magazine as part of the EcoBackpacker column that I am writing about sustainable travel, you can read the original here*