10 ideas for sustainable camping

10 ideas for sustainable camping

Camping season is on. It's super comfortable to make a quick shopping on the way there, bring packed in single use plastic food and toss this packaging away once we're done. But if we do a little bit of planning ahead we can reduce our waste drastically and make our weekend getaway much more sustainable. And since me, the biggest procrastinator in da village can make it, you can make it too. Here's my 10 tips how for your next camping getaway.

1. Bring your reusables
Easy said and done. In order to avoid single use plastic cups, paper plates, single use cutlery, just bring your own stuff from home. Pack reusable bottle water (most of camping sites have potable water available to fill it up), bring plates (you can a get multiple use made of plastic or metal or pack whatever plates you use at home), cups and cutlery. Let's face it, most of the time you will be near by your car anyway when preparing food.

2. Reuse what you can.
Get creative and reuse what you can. Empty jogurt box? You could use it as a food storage for example. What we often do - at home we fill up bottles with water, we freeze them and we use them as ice packs for our cooler. Then after using them, you can drink the water and repeat the process before next trip. Another thing is to reuse cosmetics from home instead of buying small, plastic bottles of shampoo and shower gel. You can also try package free, naked bar of shampoo or bar of soap. Those on the picture are our vegan AF soaps and without plastic packaging! The 'It's not me, it's you' soap from that collection has no scents at all if you want to get even more crazy with leaving no trace. 



3. Food storage
Instead of packing leftovers (or snacks for hikes) in plastic or tin foil, how about beeswax, silicon zip locks bags or containers. Beeswax food wraps are made of cotton and sustainably sourced beeswax, they last over a year and keep your food fresh for much longer than packed in plastic. As for containers, you can simply use jars or tapeware to store your food. No need for plastic bags or foil. Those can be also replaced with produce bags - made of cotton, cool thing to keep your veggies or snacks in. 

4. Compost & Recycle
Recycle is an easy and often forgotten step while camping. Novadays most of the campsites have recycling bins provided. Don't be a lazy bastard and recycle this ton of empty beer cans. Check out campsite rules for guidelines on what's accepted and not.
As for compost, due to wild animals searching for food, many campisites do not actually have compost available. What we often do, we bring a jar or a tapeware box from home and we store all compostable garbage there during entire week. Then we take it home and compost at home (we are using city green program in Calgary but check your city for composting program!)

5. Try local
Boost local economy by supporting some local, small businesses while you are out and about. I usually don't buy souvenirs... So our rule (such a great rule:D) is to pick up a growler from local brewery and have a coffee in local coffee shop. Yes, we always have an empty glowler in the car JUST IN CASE we see a brewery! This time we visited Piston Broke in Brooks, yum. 

6. Charge your batteries home.
It might sound like a weird tip, but charge it home. How often did you want to listen to music, your portable speaker battery was dead so you turn on your car to listen to music? Nah, not cool. Lower car emmission and enjoy smell of nature instead!

7. Make a meal plan and try meatless meal!
For me that's the hard one. I often come up with what I cook when I open a fridge and see what's inside.... While that's fine when you're home, that might be a huge time and food waste while camping or travelling. By planning your meals (like really, at least dinners), you are bringing only what you need (that minimizes food waste) and you don't need to run to buy some extra ingredient (often packed in plastic if you buy on the gas station or simply have no choice where to buy). Another thing to try is aim for meatless meal. My go to meal is veggies shashweeken. Simply cut veggie (onion, white mushroom, pepper, pickle, cuchini), put them on the sticker and bbq that. Another co thing we often do - if you make a fire. Just before going to sleep, put potatoes (don't peal them) in the ashes, leave for a night. In the morning they will be perfect to eat. Yum. If you go for meat bbq, try to find some local source of meet instead of buying imported meat packed in plastic. 

8. Bring your own

Fee things we bring from home include firewood (often packed in plastic if bought at the gas stations for example), reusable bags (we end up going shopping or we need to store some dirty Landry etc), empty growler (that's very important tip!), Fabric cloth (instead of using paper towels)

9. Wash your dishes the green way
We use our dishwashing soap to wash the dishes at the campsite, because it doesn't have weird, chemical #icantevenspellthat ingredients and it comes unpackaged. Always make sure to wash your dishes only in spots assigned to do so, so you won't contaminate near by waters. Even if the soap is biodegradable and natural (this one is), do not wash your dishes or your hands directly in the lake or at the lake shore. The soap, ANY soap, affects lake chemistry. 

10. Bicycles
Pack your bikes! Multiple times during our camping trips bikes were a huge time (instead of walking) and emission saver (instead of cars). In the past we would often drive to near by spots like visitor centers, shops or even point of interests on the other side of campground. Mainly because of being lazy. But bikes give you the freedom to move around zero emission style:)!

Is there any tip you would like to add? What's your ideas for sustainable camping?

Because you asked, links to products mentioned in the post are under the beautiful picture from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta :) 

Water Bottle:


Body Soaps:


Unscented Soap:


Dishwashing soap: 


Beeswax wraps:


Produce bags:


Reusable bags: 


1 comment

  • Keith

    Great site and information. I noticed one or two, perhaps 20 to 30, spelling and grammatical errors. I would be happy to correct these for free if you send me a Word version. Thanks,

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