Eco Camping 101

If camping is part of your family’s summer routine, or if you’re planning to venture out for the first time, this is a great chance to take a green approach to your camping adventure. With the very “nature” of the outdoors, you would think that camping would automatically be an eco activity, but that’s not the case. Camping is certainly an excellent family excursion, but it does take some planning to make sure that you’re environmental impact will be at a minimum. The goal should be to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors, and not to affect your surroundings in the process.

Whether you’re planning on hiking, biking, wildlife and bird watching, or just enjoying the peaceful outdoors, here are some simple guidelines to make for some happy camping.

Camping Etiquette
Camping etiquette should be common sense, but it’s worth taking the time to think about the nature of camping and to discuss it with your family. A lot of it is really about respect. Signs instructing you not to feed the animals, not to drive or park in certain places, or providing garbage instructions are there for a reason. Respect the rules as they are there to make camping enjoyable for everyone, and that includes the wildlife and nature as well as you and your family.

Embrace the Quiet
Camping is not the time to blare loud music. This is a time for you – and your neighboring campers – to enjoy the peaceful serenity of the outdoors. That includes silence as much as the chirping of birds or whirring of insects. Respect other campers and wildlife by paying attention to campground quiet hours.

Stick to the Trails
It’s not just about sticking to hiking trails, but also about sticking to the campsite that’s been allotted to you. Don’t pick wild flowers, or trek through the wilderness in places where you could crush nature underfoot. Don’t cut down branches from living trees to build fires. Consider bringing your own wood so that you don’t cut into the forest.

Avoid Disposables
Disposable plates, cups, napkins, and utensils are convenient but they come at a price. The environmental impact of disposing of garbage is not worth it. Particularly in a context when you should be enjoying nature, be cognizant of the Earth and the little and not so little ways that we can take care of it. Reusable dinnerware is a good investment. Use eco-friendly dish washing detergent and clean your reusable items at your campsite.

What You Bring In Must Go Back Out
Any garbage that you bring along camping with you should be packed up and removed with you when you leave. Leave your campsite in the exact same condition that you found it, or in even better condition if it wasn’t ideal when you arrived. Clean up all litter, even if it wasn’t yours.

Spending a night in nature seem may seem synonymous with being green, but remember that careless camping can do harm. Use your camping trip as a chance to connect with Mother Nature. She’ll appreciate it!


Jennie LyonJennie Lyon is a green lifestyle writer and the owner of Sweet Greens, the award-winning green lifestyle blog. She posts on simple, fun ways families can go green together – starting with her own. When she isn’t blogging, you will find her paddleboarding, sailing, beach-combing, camping, or spending time with her amazing husband and 14-year old son.

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