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11 Simple Tips For Eco-Friendly Camping

Thursday 28th November 2019
By Ely Power
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By Ely Power

Do Your Part For The Planet With A Sustainable Camping Trip

Cover Photo by Esther Tuttle on Unsplash

To preserve our planet’s beauty and vitality, we have to take care of the ecosystems we camp in. 

Sadly, lots of common camping supplies, snacks and habits can damage our surroundings beyond repair - combine careless practices with toxic chemicals and synthetic products, and you’ve got a recipe for (natural) disaster. Why spoil our favourite camping spots?

If we want future generations to be able to experience the Aussie wilderness in all its glory, we must be mindful campers and treat our land with the respect it deserves. That means minimising our impact on the environment we visit and the wildlife living within it. 

The great news is that environmentally-friendly camping only requires a little bit of forward thinking  - easy and affordable, a few simple steps will make all the difference!

Whether you want to kit out your van as an eco-friendly rental or reduce your carbon footprint on that upcoming road trip, you can check out our tips for the ultimate green camping experience below.

1. Discover The Gems On Your Doorstep

Photo by Vishnu Prasad on Unsplash

Well, not quite as close as your doorstep... But you get the gist. 

Exploring coastline and countryside that’s only a few hours away is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. With fewer CO2 emissions en route, your sustainable camping trip will be off to a solid start. 

There’s also no shortage of incredible camping spots in Australia, many of which are surprisingly close to our cities (for example, check out these awesome campsites within a three-hour drive from Sydney).

If you’re planning an extended road trip, then consider driving less and seeing more - you’ll find quality attractions and hidden gems throughout your journey, so it pays to take things slow. We’d choose to explore off the beaten track instead of speeding down the motorway any day! 

2. Power Your Trip With Solar Panels

No more noisy generators or dependence on mains power and electric hookups. Solar panels harness the sun’s renewable energy, allowing you to enjoy an eco-friendly camping trip for as long as you want. 

Your van’s solar system will generate silent, sustainable power for all of your lighting, charging - and even showering - needs! Just remember to park in the sunshine, as the shade can significantly reduce its effectiveness.

To learn more about the ins and outs of solar power, have a look at our guide to the best solar panels for your next adventure.

3. Conserve Your Water Supply

Photo by Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash

It’s hard not to notice how much water is consumed on a standard camping trip - from staying hydrated in the sun and fresh on the road to washing up dishes and wiping down countertops. 

So make an effort not to waste this precious resource, especially if you’re adventuring around areas affected by drought. For instance, stick to a single measured bucket when cleaning up after dinner or use a portable shower that switches off once you’ve used your share.

We’re not saying to skimp on drinking water during a summer camping trip in Uluru. Just be aware of how much H20 you actually need. And hey, the less you plan to use, the less you’ll have to store. 

4. Reuse Your Camping Gear

Photo by Houston Max on Unsplash

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch plastic cutlery, cups and plates. While non-reusable kitchenware might seem like a convenient and quick fix, it has critical consequences for the environment. As if that wasn’t reason alone, it’s also more expensive in the long run. 

So stay away from single-use plastic and follow these environmentally-friendly tips instead:

  • Pack crockery from home (just maybe not the china!)
  • Bring tupperware or beeswax wraps instead of sandwich bags, foil and cling wrap
  • Buy reusable water bottles
  • If you’re low on storage space, go for collapsible kitchenware and all-in-one cutlery

5. Minimise Waste With Some Meal Prep

Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Before you stock up on camping food, create a list of exactly what meals you’re going to eat and how many mouths you’ll have to feed. This will make for less leftovers ending up in the landfill! And when you’re ready to go shopping, remember: packaging and environmentally-friendly camping do not go together. 

That’s why the local farmer’s market is an ideal place to buy ingredients for your next trip. Not only does it offer fresh, healthy and long-lasting produce without the plastic packaging*, you might be surprised to learn that it can often cost less than what you’d pay in a supermarket.

*Don’t forget to bring some reusable shopping bags for your haul!

6. Be Considerate With Your Campfire

Photo by Nikita Velikanin on Unsplash

Is it really a camping trip without a campfire? An arguably essential feature, the crackling flames bring everyone together and keep you cosy at the end of an adventure-filled day.  

But to avoid a potentially catastrophic bushfire, always ensure that campfires are permitted at your campsite. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, follow the below tips to keep your trip eco-friendly:

  1. Find firewood from a sustainable supplier
  2. Collect as little kindling as possible
  3. Don’t ignite a larger fire than necessary
  4. Don’t burn anything man-made
  5. Let the fire burn down to ash as much as possible before you extinguish it
  6. Pour water, sand or dry dirt onto the embers until your firepit is completely wet with no hissing noise
  7. For meal prep, use a campground barbie or portable camping stove instead

Speaking of cooking…

7. Cook With Care

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

Cheap, non-stick crockery can leach potentially harmful chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) when you cook with or clean them. While more expensive, quality cast iron or steel cookware will last you a lifetime of camping trips without posing any health and safety risks to you or your surroundings.

To discover more benefits of using cast iron and steel cookware, head over to our beginner’s guide to camp oven cooking. You’ll find all of the tips you need to whip up a delicious meal in the wild, from tasty recipes to camp oven cleaning techniques!

8. Wash Up With Biodegradable Products

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Keeping clean is no easy feat when you’re roaming the roads. But when the time comes,  biodegradable products are the only way to go.

Avoid synthetic materials like silicone and microplastics, as well as damaging chemicals like parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate (which are often found in personal hygiene products). In their place, use natural and organic products like all-in-one, biodegradable camping soaps that wash your body, hair, clothes, and dishes. Age-old cleaning hacks like baking soda and lemon also work wonders in the wild!

Finally, never clean yourself or your camping gear in the ocean, lakes or rivers. Our waterways have a huge impact on the greater ecosystem, which is only harmed by chemicals and toxins. 

9. Recycle Your Rubbish

Photo by VanveenJF on Unsplash

We don’t need to give you a lecture on recycling, so we’ll keep this short and sweet. 

Bring two bins with you - one for general waste and one for recyclables. If you’re on a family camping trip, stress the difference between the two so that your little ones don’t mix them up! And it never hurts to set up your bins with noticeable identifiers, like using a cardboard box for recycling and a bag for landfill.

10. Always Respect The Native Wildlife

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

We’ve got heaps of campgrounds nestled within stunning scenery and breathtaking trails. Always stay on these defined routes, following signs and watching where you step so as not to destroy plant life and disturb nearby animals. 

We understand the temptation to get up close to interesting wildlife, but try your hardest not to - human interaction upsets their natural habits and, in turn, the wider ecosystem. On a related note, please keep any pets on a leash so that they can’t distress or attack local wildlife (you never know!).

11. Leave No Trace

Photo by Michael Lämmli on Unsplash

Last but not least is the golden rule of sustainable camping: Never leave your remnants behind and never take the wilderness with you. 

In other words, leave your camping spot as pristine and untouched as if you’d never camped there in the first place. That includes resisting the urge to bring home natural souvenirs like seashells, ferns and driftwood (no matter how great they’d look in your living room!).

To ace your green camping skills, take your rubbish with you to empty at home - campground bins fill up quickly, attracting wild animals that can become reliant on the food they find inside. To add to this issue, their messy rummaging can spread around waste that takes years to degrade. Not good.

Plan Your Environmentally-Friendly Camping Trip

There’s no doubt that we must take extra measures to protect our vulnerable ecosystems. And campsites are no exception!

So don’t enjoy the great outdoors at its expense when you could follow the above advice instead. From solar panels and biodegradable soap to tupperware and designated trails, it’s easier than ever to go on an adventure that won’t damage our wonderful wilderness. 

To get your sustainable camping trip underway, check out the awesome vans available for hire on Camplify. You’ll find hundreds of campers, caravans and motorhomes with solar panels, reusable camping gear and owners that know the best local spots - all you have to do is pick your favourite listing!

So what is Camplify? 

We are Australia’s largest caravan hire and RV sharing community, helping connect thousands of holidaymakers with RV owners. 

What does that mean?

Essentially, we provide a unique sharing service where owners of caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes, and campervans list their RV for hire while not in use. 

As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you find an RV that is perfect for you so that you can experience the joys of caravanning - without having to own one yourself. 

Interested? Learn more about Camplify for hirers here

To find out how Camplify can work with you and your RV, register today here.

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