5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Camping

5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Camping

You love the outdoors - it’s why you camp, hike, and spend time with nature while others would rather be cooped up in their houses and cities. 

However, you also want to protect the outdoors, which is why you’re trying to be environmentally conscious when you go camping. Millions of people are taking big steps to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their carbon footprint, and by following these tips, you can, too. 

Let’s discuss five easy ways to reduce your impact while sleeping in a tent and adventuring outside. 

1. Rent Gear or Buy Sustainable Brands 

Your environmentally responsible actions shouldn’t just start on your next adventure - they should start before you even head out. What are you buying to bring with you on your trip, and are these products truly sustainable? 

If you’re purchasing water bottles or reusable containers, were they made from recycled materials? Or are they just another plastic-produced item meant to end up in another landfill? 

Even your tents, backpacks, bikes, ropes, and other accessories can be made sustainably. Look for third-party certifications when shopping that indicates the gear is made to last for years and was made responsibly. Beware of terms like “eco” or “green” - unless there is supporting evidence, these are just descriptors that merely sound good to consumers. 

Not planning on camping repeatedly in the future? Consider looking into camping rentals. Sharing gear with others reduces waste and prevents items from only being used once or twice. 

2. Reduce Single-Use Plastics 

If you’re trying to form sustainable habits, bringing single-use plastics on your camping trip is a no-go. Billions and billions of plastic bottles, food containers, packages, clothing, and other items wind up in landfills and the ocean every day, driving Co2 emissions higher and polluting the air with toxic chemicals. 

Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce your personal use of plastic: 

  • Bring reusable cooking and eating utensils 
  • Don’t bring disposable plates or cups 
  • Pack snacks in plastic-free Tupperware or reusable produce bags 
  • Rely on a good reusable water bottle 
  • Bring plastic-free hygiene products, including hair care items and toothbrushes

When you’re hopping from campsite to campsite, it’s easy to rely on plastic water bottles and food items to make cooking and eating easier. However, if you want to be an eco-friendly camper and reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll need to decrease this usage as quickly and significantly as you can. 

3. Use Renewable Energy for Power Sources 

When you go camping, solar-powered gadgets are your best friends. Instead of packing tons of disposable batteries, bring along tools that power up with the help of a little sunshine. 

One of the best products to keep on hand is a solar-charged camping lantern. Just leave the item in direct sunlight during the day, then pull it out at night to light your way. Many solar lights can even charge your other devices, like phones and tablets, making it easy to stay connected without leaving a trace behind. 

You might also want to bring along some portable solar panels. These provide the power you need for fans, electronic devices, and other items, all with the help of pure sunlight. 

If you want portable power and you want to be a friend to the environment, bring along power sources that help reduce your carbon footprint and leave no trace behind. 

4. Follow the Leave-No-Trace Rule 

If you’ve camped before, you’ve probably heard of the “leave no trace behind” rule that applies to anyone who stays the night outside, as well as hikers and explorers. 

There are seven principles to this rule: 

  1. Plan ahead and prepare so that you don’t wind up leaving stuff behind. 
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces so you don’t disturb nature. 
  3. Dispose of the waste you find properly - that means no littering. 
  4. Leave what you find - souvenirs are bought in gift shops, not found in the wild. 
  5. Minimize campfire impact. 
  6. Respect wildlife, no matter how much you want a picture. 
  7. Be considerate of other visitors who are also trying to follow these rules. 

Since 2014, more than 7 million new households have started camping in the United States. Imagine if we all took what we wanted from parks, left behind a few items, or disturbed a few animals. Those numbers add up - so it’s our responsibility to contribute to eco-friendly practices and preserve nature’s beauty. 

5. Clean Up on Your Trip 

Speaking of leaving no trace behind on your trip, let’s talk about how to properly dispose of waste and clean up after you’re finished camping. 

When it comes to plastics, trash, or spilled food, these items need to be packed up and taken to a designated trash site. Don’t assume that an animal will deal with it or that the wind will carry your debris away - always leave your site cleaner than you found it. 

Now let’s talk about something a little icky: dealing with human waste. 

Solid human waste should be buried in a hole roughly half a foot into the ground. Make sure that your temporary “bathroom” is at least 200 feet away from sources of water, as well as campsites and trails. Cover your waste when you finish. 

Remember: it’s never okay to leave wipes, toilet paper, or hygiene products behind, no matter how reluctant you are to pack these items out. 

In Conclusion 

On your next camping trip, take note of how much trash you’re producing and the effects you’re leaving behind. Are you truly leaving no trace, or are you struggling to minimize your impact on the nature you love so much? 

Following these tips will help you to be a more eco-conscious camper and reduce your carbon footprint. By relying on sustainable products, reusable items, and solar energy, you’ll find that it’s much easier to be a green camper.

 

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