By: Court Rye
Camping can be a wonderful experience, one of the few times that family and friends get together and leave TV, traffic and politics behind. Many of us grew up with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or summer camp and have fond memories of camping trips. There is just something about the clean crisp air and rugged natural surroundings that is inspiring. That said, there are a few important considerations that everyone should make before embarking on such journeys. Yes, I’m talking about the equipment you bring. Packs, tents, clothing and ultimately the food and food preparation supplies you use.
If camping is about being close to nature and appreciating the environment then your camping equipment should reflect that. Sure, some people enjoy car camping, and that has its place but most of the time we’re out under the stars and maybe back into the woods a few miles. Be conscious of what supplies you bring and how they in turn impact the environment. I’m not just talking about littering here, there’s actually more to the camping gear you bring than just “leaving no trace”. Do your best to track the companies you buy from, go “upstream” and figure out how they manufacture. Furthermore, go downstream and consider the complete product lifecycle of the equipment you buy. Are you using camping equipment that is disposable or has planned obsolescence built in?
Get a tent that you can use several times, not just a throwaway after one or two times! Consider renting things you won’t use regularly, and try to avoid Styrofoam and other wasteful packaging that will eventually end up in a landfill. A great example of these concepts is the Woodgas Stove from iENERGY. Over the past two years I’ve owned two of these stoves (one with a solar adapter) and used them on various camping trips. I used to waste a lot of gas and time refilling canisters or just throwing them away after trips. That doesn’t really reflect my love of the outdoors very well and it always left me feeling bad. The concept behind the Woodgas Stove by contrast is that fuel is already present in nature in the form of dried twigs and brush. This fuel is used in the Woodgas Stove to create a steady hot flame much like a gas stove. By working with mother nature and relying on her to support and even provide some of your camping equipment you’ll be saving money and adding value (and novelty) to your next camping experience.
Other great examples of top notch sustainable camping equipment include reusable bottles that are BPA free, wooden hiking sticks that you find on the trail and leave behind for others to use, wooden marshmallow sticks that can be created with a Swiss Army knife on site and bug spray or clothing articles that utilizes natural ingredients and won’t harm your surroundings and waste aerosol. Keep these basic tenants in mind for your next trip and reminisce on those simpler younger days when camping equipment was the least of your worries and enjoying flaming marshmallows was at the top of your list!