Camping brings you closer to nature, giving you time in fresh air surrounded by scenic spaces. And the more people who seek solace in the outdoors, the more stewards we have who can help protect our planet. Embracing sustainable gear choices when you’re planning your next camping trip lets you do your part to support those natural areas you love. Here are a few of those sustainable gear essentials to help you help the planet during your next camping trip.
Charging your devices can be tricky when you’re tenting it. But even when you’re off the grid and reconnecting with family and friends, you need some power. Portable solar panels can pack down very small and still pull plenty of energy from the sun.
Having a small battery bank to charge up keeps you in power longer, providing a backup when you’re camping at a dry site or you’re trying to reduce your energy consumption. Even if you don’t have a solar system of your own, try choosing a campground that uses solar to reduce grid power use.
When you’re planning a camping trip, it can be tempting to make cleanup go faster with disposable plates and plastic cutlery. But reducing waste can go a long way toward a more sustainable camping trip and better practice of Leave No Trace.
If you want to save space, invest in collapsible silicone bowls and metal sporks. Some camp cooking sets store away nested together for a compact setup.
Not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s best to go for creams over aerosol sprays and avoid ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, nano zinc oxide, nano titanium dioxide, and homosalate. These can all cause harm to waterways and the critters living in them.
And some, like oxybenzone and homosalate, might even be harmful to people when absorbed through the skin. Scan the ingredients next time you’re shopping for sunscreen, and find a bottle that leaves out the harmful additives.
This is a consumer choice you can make both at home and at the campground. But biodegradable soaps are especially important when you’re camping and might not have access to a sink while you’re doing your dishes. Just remember that biodegradable soap doesn’t give a green light to clean up directly in a stream or lake.
It’s not just about the ingredient list. You can also choose more
sustainable options by taking a look at the packaging. Plastic is
difficult to recycle and can stick around on Earth for way longer than
you want. Check for compostable packaging or better yet, package-free
products like shampoo bars and laundry detergent sheets.
When you’re making your big gear purchases, like tents, sleeping bags, camping pads, chairs and stoves, make sure your money goes toward companies that are doing the most for the planet. Some outdoor outfitters are opting to use recycled materials, finding more ethical factories for production, or refining practices to make them more sustainable. Vote with your dollar, and spend where it matters.
Don’t stop at sustainable gear: seek out regenerative accommodation as well. Starry Night Lodging takes regenerative and sustainable tourism seriously, always incorporating new ways to help make the planet, and our communities, a better place.