by Carly Foubert, CFICE Volunteer
It’s the first day of summer. The weather is getting warmer and camping season is upon us!
Whether you’re planning a relaxing weekend away from the bustling city or you’re a regular outdoors person, camping is a phenomenal way to connect with friends and family, meet new people, and get back to nature and the great outdoors.
But wait! Before you rush off and start busting out that camping gear from storage, take a peek at these tips to making this year’s camping trip more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Planning is a huge component to your sustainable efforts and it’s best to do ahead of time.
Make a meal plan so you pack only what is needed and in the right proportions, meaning there is no waste. This includes taking things out of any packaging and putting ingredients for meals and snacks into Ziploc bags and Tupperware. These re-usable containers will reduce trash and waste while out on the trail.
Instead of packing snacks, such as granola bars, curb your mid-day hunger by making your own. This will reduce the waste from the wrappers and contribute to your environmentally sustainable weekend. Here are some great recipes for homemade granola bars. You can even try adding in other ingredients like chocolate chips, hemp hearts, or pumpkin seeds to add some diversity to your granola bars.
There’s nothing better than some good old raisins n’ peanuts (G.O.R.P.) whether you’re canoeing or out hiking. Dehydrated fruits are also great when added to the mix. You can try dehydrating fruits yourself or buying already dehydrated fruits in the grocery store.
For cooking and eating utensils, head to the Salvation Army or Value Village to repurpose equipment and give them a second life. This will save you having to buy brand new cooking gear and worrying about damaging it. You might want to even try foldable plates and bowls, and multi-use utensils like sporks (spoon+fork) to save on packing space.
For cleaning and personal hygiene, check out some biodegradable products to stay environmentally friendly. Campsuds is a good brand to try for soap and shampoo. Maybe try using products that are multi-purpose so you have less to pack and bring with you on your trip.
If you see your camping gear has tears in it, STOP! Don’t just throw it out! There are plenty of ways to repair damaged equipment. Here is a great resource to repair those tears so it’s good as new again. You can also read up on proper care techniques, maintenance and ways to upcycle your camping gear.
If you have gear stored away that you find you just don’t use anymore, you might want to consider using the Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) online Gear Swap – a free online platform that encourages campers to recycle their used gear.
Know your route and pay attention to signage and trail markings so you don’t go off trail and get lost. Just in case, make sure you have an emergency plan and a first aid kit with you. It’s better to be prepared in case of injury and accident. If you’re planning on being on the water, don’t forget your life jackets and always swim with a buddy. And don’t forget about emergency plans for bad weather and thunderstorms.
Now go and get ready for your next environmentally sustainable camping trip!