This is Day 207 of the Green in 365 series!
Guest Post by Amanda of Ninth Street Notions:
Camping is one of my family’s favorite activities. We go often, and over the years Erik and I have been together, we’ve slowly been trying to transform our camping style.
Once a year, we go on a big camping trip with about 100 of our friends, and it amazes me how different other people camp. This year I was shocked at what was produced by our campsite. The average family produced way more waste than ours usually does, and although we’re not perfectly green, here are some ways we’ve greened up our camping.
Easy Eco-Friendly Camping Tips
Buying Reusable Dining Gear
This is probably the biggest game changer for me. We were one of the last few to leave the campsite, and some left behind bags of garbage, not to mention what was burned in the fire. I realize that even small groups often use paper or Styrofoam plates and plastic silverware when they’re camping. It’s easy, after all.
But what about switching those throwaway items with reusable pieces that can be washed and put away with your camping gear? We made this change a couple of years ago, and it really hasn’t added much clean-up time at all.
If you have the funds, consider purchasing enamelware plates. These can often be found at thrift stores and yard sales. We weren’t able to find any when we made the change, so we found affordable melamine plates and bowls on sale that we use every year camping. We also picked up real silverware that stays with our camping gear. A bonus to making this change is that, not only are you reducing the amount of garbage you’re throwing away, you can also nosh on some tasty foods like steak that just aren’t practical with those cheap-o paper plates.
Buying High Quality Camping Gear
Related to making the switch to reusable dining supplies for your camping trips is learning to purchase high quality items. Tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and more are all places where it’s a green choice to buy the better option.
Rather than constantly having to buy new gear and throwing out the old because it only lasts for a season, high quality products ensure that you get a full life out of your gear, cutting down on waste in the landfills. In the long run, it’s better for your bottom line, too. You will find you spend less overall on your gear if you invest in quality items that can be used season after season.
Using a Natural Castile Soap for Cleaning
I picked up this tip from a backpacking magazine a few years ago. We use Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint castile soap for cleaning everything when we’re camping. It’s organic and all-natural. It smells wonderful. And it’s great for everything.
We use it to wash our (reusable!) dishes, wash our hair, and even brush our teeth if need be. Now I’ll admit, even though it’s peppermint, you still get a soapy taste when brushing your teeth, but it’s not the worst experience ever.
This small change keeps harsh chemicals away from you, your family, and your camping experience. That’s better for the environment. Plus, when you use one soap for everything, you cut down on what it is you need to pack, as well as cost. That’s awesome when your husband is packing an extra fishing pole or two, just in case.
Making Better Food Choices
We all know that one of the best parts of camping is camp food. I’m still light-years away from convincing my husband in all aspects of real food. That may be true of your family as well. I’ve compromised by finding some better food options that are still “camp friendly.”
For example, on our most recent camping trip, I was able to find 100% whole wheat hot dog buns, uncured, nitrate-free all-beef hot dogs, and organic mustard. This was a quick and yummy meal that my husband loved.
We also still haven’t been able to completely get away from drinking soda when camping. One change, though, was that I found a lot of tasty options that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup, only pure cane sugar, such as Hansen’s. We’re still on our journey to real food, and I personally feel these are a good compromise.
*Emily’s Note: Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has a great Family Camping Ebook with over 20 real food camping recipes, as well as tips and tricks for making your camping experience a great one for your family. Check it out here! (aff)
These are only a few ways to green up your next camping trip. There are many more ways that we all can improve in our journey and still enjoy the outdoors that we’re working to protect, after all.
Does your family like to camp? How do you make your camping trip more green and eco-friendly. Have any tips to share that weren’t included here? Please tell us in the comments!
Amanda Brandenberg is a wife and new mama who believes that no one should feel they have to be perfect all of the time. Because of that, she writes about simple life changes anyone can make, as well as easy recipes and crafts that are fun for everyone at Ninth Street Notions.
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