Let's go Camping!
Late summer and/or early September is my favourite time to go camping. Better weather, less bugs, and easier to snag a good campsite.
Camping is a strange beast...one on hand, people are endeavouring to get outside, sleep under the stars, cook on an open fire, and generally enjoy nature.
On the other hand, they stock up on single-use products, individually wrapped food, purchase unnecessary gear, and accidentally leave nature in a worst state than when they arrived.
I'm not going to lie - planning a camping trip can be complicated. Every detail needs to be considered, organized, and packed in advance, and space is always an issue. For this reason too many people try to cut corners by leaning in on those single-use convenience items, but planning a zero waste camping trip is possible!
Here are some key rules of thumb to keep in mind for your next adventure:
Primary Directive: Leave only footprints
As a general rule - everything that goes to the campsite should come home from the campsite. Nothing left behind, period. For too many campers, they generate more garbage while camping that they would at home, and camp grounds struggling to make ends meet are burdened with trash disposal and site clean up...not to mention a complete lack of recycling facilities in remote locations.
Borrow gear, or buy second hand
The first thing on everyone's list when going camping is the big gear: Tents, sleeping bags, coolers, folding chairs, etc. It adds up quickly, both in the wallet and in storage space, and most of this stuff is only used a couple times each year! If you don't already have your own gear - don't purchase new! Ask around to borrow from friends, family and neighbours. Failing that, check out your local marketplace for second hand.
Use whatcha got
I know it's iconic, but who says you need a sleeping bag anyway? With warm nights and insulating tents, you could just use some blankets. No folding chairs? No problem - rock a picnic blanket instead. If you're car camping, do you really need a pair of hiking boots or will your regular runners suffice (spoiler, they very likely will).
Avoid single use at all costs
Paper towels tend to surprise people...yes they're compostable but they still take a toll on the environment when they're produced. Opt for reusable fabric napkins and towels. After using, you can dry them in the sun, near the fire, or hanging from a line. Nothing says "rustic" quite like a clothesline at a campsite, amirite? Side note - bring a rope and some clothes pegs! You'll need them for your swim suits and towels, too!
🚫 Microplastics 🚫
For cleaning your dishes and pans, look specifically for biodegradable options. Conventional sponges and brushes shed microplastics, which is the last thing we want in our environment! Our compostable sponges are perfect for camping (and cottaging, and everyday living!) and our biodegradable coconut dish brush is the absolute best for cast iron pans and baked on food.
Skip the travel section and dollar store - you don't need tiny single-use personal products to go camping. Reuse small containers or grab a reusable zipper bag to collect what you need from what you already have.
Camping is also a great opportunity to try out some more sustainable personal care options - have you checked out konjac sponges before? They're small, crazy soft, compostable, and perfect for cleaning off a days worth of dirt and sunscreen. Curious about shampoo bars? They work just as well as liquid shampoo and are more compact for traveling than bulky and heavy bottles.
And don't forget your hand soap!! Many camp sites only have outhouses without soap and running water - keep a bar at your camp site for hand washes after visiting the loo and before cooking and eating. May we suggest our Forest Therapy bar? It smells fantastic and contains insect repelling essential oils - perfect for a weekend in the woods.
Progress over perfection
Like learning to live sustainably, each camping trip is an opportunity to perfect your craft.
Did I miss anything? Let us know about your zero waste camping tips in the comments!