Camping (as a five) was new to us this year. I’ve always wanted to try a trip in a campervan since I was a child, and it finally became a reality when we rented one earlier this year. After a cramped (but fun) week, we decided motorhomes were not big enough for our family of 5, so we opted for a big second-hand tent and have enjoyed frequent trips to New Forest where horses and cattle roam freely amongst campers. Right now, it’s my holiday of choice and suits our family to a tee.
But, how do you make camping trips eco-friendly? Sometimes it’s easy to prepare for camping, thinking convenience will serve you well. However, there are a few little things you could consider that would make a great deal of difference to the planet.
Here are 9 suggestions on how to make camping eco-friendly:
1. Cut down on travel by camping locally
Whilst there is something relaxing about travelling far away from home for a holiday, camping locally can cut down your footprint.
We have travelled no further than an hour in our car for our 4 camping trips this year. It’s been great to not have a dauntingly long journey ahead of us, and it cuts down petrol costs and time sitting in traffic!
2. Use water carriers and bags rather than single use water bottles
Instead of stocking up on painfully unsustainable single-use water bottles on your camping trip, get a water bag or water carrier with a tap. You can use them for hand washing, washing up, showering off sand, filling your kettle and reusable bottles.
An extra bonus for those who need to pack light, these pack down small which saves a lot more space than lots of water bottles.
3. Embrace solar lighting
We string solar fairy lights outside and inside our tent which not only look really pretty, are pretty practical. They give a perfect glow inside the tent all night; good for stumbling to the toilet in the night.
You can also get solar lanterns and other sorts of lighting that are invaluable come sundown.
4. Choose comfy, but eco-bedding
To make sleeping comfortable and warm, but still eco-friendly, consider getting bedding from somewhere that takes pride in the materials they use.
For our last camping trip, The Fine Bedding Company kindly sent us a Night Owl 3-in-1 sleeping bag for our kids to try out.
It’s a beautiful, soft, cloud-like sleeping bag solution that can be configured for use as a double or two singles.
The sleeping bag is so soft and cuddly that the children even used them as a blanket over their legs whilst having a bbq in the evenings, and over them on the car journey home. They were obsessed with it!
The softer than a cloud filling is made from recycled plastic bottles which fit in with our eco ethos, so we were more than happy to adopt this as the perfect option for camping trips, sleepovers, impromptu guests and cold mornings and evenings!
Also, this may be too much info. but Indi had an accident overnight in her sleeping bag, but we washed it down in the morning and it had dried by midday. It’s a must for young families where accidents like that are the norm!
If you’re looking for a beautifully soft, convenient and practical bit of kit for camping and beyond, this sleeping bag will definitely be your bag.
You can find out more about the Night Owl 3-in-1 sleeping bag here.
5. Eat from compostable disposable crockery
If you have limited washing up facilities, you may want to opt for disposable crockery. This is ok, as long as you consider what you are disposing of. A compostable crockery set will break down fast, and not cause any problems for the planet.
6. Opt for electric-free campsites
This might strike fear in even the most adventurous souls but believe me, it’s not that bad. In this modern world, there are all sorts of amazing solutions to help you retain some comfort. Think wood-burning stoves, solar battery packs and hot water bottles!
7. Take care of your surroundings
Most campsites have strict rules to adhere to when it comes to disposing of waste. But it’s not just that you need to watch. Picking flowers, snapping branches, taking shells and stones off beaches, burning grass or forest floor with BBQs, it’s all damaging the earth, so be mindful of your actions whilst you’re all in awe of your surroundings.
8. Beg, borrow or go pre-loved
Camping gear can cost mega-bucks, and due to it being battered by the elements can also break easily, which gets chucked into a landfill. To avoid buying new, and to cut costs, go circular. There are some brilliant sites to get second-hand camping gear.
Asking to borrow bits and bobs from friends and family would also be a great idea.
9. Plan meals to cut down food waste
If you’re camping without a fridge, planning meals is a must so that you cut down on food waste. Consider choosing meat-free meals so that there’s more chance that the ingredients will last without refrigeration. Think canned foods, eggs, potatoes, pasta, lentils and other pulses.
Eco camping in conclusion
Some see camping as a chance to buy lots of convenient, disposable things to help simplify their trip. Baby wipes, water bottles, plastic disposable cups to name a few. However, to make camping a real adventure, think outside the box. Plan meals, source bedding with eco credentials, pack reusable water bottles and flasks for roaming. Camp responsibly and embrace the joy of nature.