7 Best Principals for How to camp responsibly
I’m always surprised by the number of people I see throwing bottles and cans into the fire and leaving a mess on the camping trail. On the other hand, I get a tinge of pride when I see campers leaving their campsite with no evidence of their stay, except maybe a small flattened patch of grass from their tent.
I’m not an extremist or anything, but I subscribe to a pro-environment type of ethics for outdoor enthusiasts. I learned this from my dad; he always drilled into me, “Leave it nicer than you found it” and “when you leave, no one should be able to tell you were there at all.”
This forms the basis of Leave No Trace Principles. It’s a philosophy regarding how much impact you’ve in the wild.
When camping, it is important to “leave no trace” by packing out everything that you bring in and properly disposing of all trash. This helps to preserve the natural beauty of the area and prevent pollution. Additionally, using established campsites and fire rings can help to minimize the impact on the surrounding environment and other campers.
Camping responsibly is all about being mindful of your surroundings and taking steps to minimize your impact on the environment and other people while enjoying your camping trip. This means being aware of the potential harm that can be caused by activities such as littering, damaging natural resources, disrupting wildlife, and creating noise pollution.
And in today’s guide, I’ll share a list of practices, including LNT practices on how to camp responsibly.
Plan and Prepare
Adequate trip planning and preparation are key for responsible camping. It helps campers accomplish their travels more safely and enjoyably.
Pick a campsite that doesn’t see a lot of human traffic, especially during peak season, which can strain the existing environment.
Remember, if you expect a certain location to be crowded, you could consider an alternative and less populated location. It’s great for the environment, but exploring new places is more fun.
You must also consider the sustainability aspect of your camping trip. Sustainable camping is a multi-prong approach, and there’re many ways to do it, depending on your camping location and conditions.
For example, depending on how far your camping destination is, you could use a more sustainable travel method, such as walking or cycling, instead of driving. Think of more green transport methods.
If that’s not an option, why not offer to lift your fellow camper in your Jeep and reduce the emissions and environmental damage?
Also, consider whether using more sustainable materials for your gear is possible. Nowadays, there’re plenty of outdoor suppliers manufacturing ethical outdoor equipment. Products with brand certifications, such as blue signs or Fairtrade, are a good start.
These products are manufactured using recycled and biodegradable materials.
Furthermore, these products are much safer to use in the long run. For example, PFC-free tents are great because they don’t use nasty waterproofing chemicals, which are bad for the environment.
Some top-rated brands leading the way in producing eco-friendly camping gear are Patagonia, Kathmandu, Vaude, and Black Diamond.
Be Choosy about your Camping Spot
What’s your ideal camping spot? I imagine it’s somewhere near a water source, with breathtaking views of the mountains.
There’s no reason you can’t pick such a spot, but there’s some important consideration to keep at the back of your mind before making such a decision.
I would encourage you to consider the designated camping locations before venturing. They’re not only the simplest and safest camp location but also sustainable because most have loos, composite dumps, and recycling bins.
However, if you choose to go into the wilderness, here’re some tips to help you choose the right camping spot:
- Choose an area with naturally cleared flooring, ideally where another camper had set a tent.
- Avoid moving or disturbing too much vegetation when setting up your camp
- Avoid valleys where you could experience floods
- If you’re hammock camping, tie the straps on sturdy trees. Avoid ropes because they can damage trees.
- Camp further from the trail for serenity, and don’t disturb other campers
It sounds gross to pack your poop, but that’s what you must do when camping. You could bury it, but remember; human poop isn’t like the natural poop fueled by berries, leaves, and wild meat like the other animals.
Burying pop in concentrated locations, especially from large groups, can quickly overwhelm even the best campsites. After all, there’re only so many cat holes that an area can hold before it turns into a stink hole.
And if you’re using tissue paper, remember TP doesn’t degrade fast enough in most places, especially in dryer climates. It may take a couple of months even for the biodegradable TP in a moist climate,
So, yes, consider carrying your wag bags. I hate them, but you must have them whenever you head out for a camping trail.
You must also light fires responsibly.
But before starting a fire, check to see whether fires are allowed in your area. If they are banned, it’s for a good reason.
If they’re allowed, ensure you minimize the fire’s impact on the environment. For example, if dried-up twigs and debris surround the fire spot, start the fire cautiously, not start a forest fire.
Also, don’t start a new fire spot in a campsite. Try to use the existing fire spots. You would be a shitty camper if you burned patches of grass that won’t grow back for years.
You must also stick to camping spots and designated trails. Watch out how you explore your camp.
After all, remember you’re simply a visitor, so you need to keep and maintain the spaces as pristine as you found them. Don’t be a jerk; pluck flowers, and destroy rocks and shells on the trails.
Regarding animals, try to give them their personal space and don’t bug them. If possible, observe them from afar and don’t scare them.
Finally, you must be mindful of your actions and avoid littering. Don’t bring glass bottles or gear as they may break and hurt animals later. Also, be mindful of noise; operate silently and don’t disturb animals or other campers. Don’t fly drones above other campers.
Generally, camping responsibly is simply not being a jerk and being mindful of your actions. As I mentioned, it’s not necessarily about not leaving waste or proper trash disposal; it’s more than that.
By following these guidelines and taking steps to minimize your impact on the environment and other people, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable camping experience while also preserving the beauty of nature for future generations to enjoy.
It simply means being mindful of how you treat the environment and fellow campers. And sometimes, it means using common sense.