These sustainable camping essentials are easy on the planet, and make any nature outing more enjoyable!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Now that the high humidity and bugs have started to wane, there’s no better time than now to plan a fabulous camping trip.
These trips are marked by brilliant night skies, vivid foliage, crisp mornings, and stunning afternoons. Especially since flights aren’t possible for some, now is the best time of year to take a summer ‘staycation’. You can hike, paddle, or just soak in the views.
But a week in the woods can lead to dire consequences for the environment. Even the campers with the best intentions tend to leave garbage behind, trample on tender plants, destroy ecospheres with bug sprays, and pollute the water and air with chemical-ridden shampoos and soaps.
However, with a bit of planning, you can choose eco-friendly products that leave no trace, and take better care of yourself and the environment while you’re at it!
So, whether you’re off to a festival, doing a road trip in a camper van, or are about to throw yourself into the great outdoors, here are some suggestions for the best sustainable camping products to take with you.
The Best Eco Friendly Camping Essentials
1. Eco Apparel
Backpacks and jackets are the first sustainable camping essentials you to have start gathering for an adventure into the wild. This way you’ll be able to travel light and comfortably and fully enjoy your nature treks in comfort.
Patagonia is probably one of the best brands to fit all our outdoor needs. I love their colourful, light and efficient Crest jackets, which can be stored away in their tiny cases.
For carrying stuff, the multifunctional, waterproof Houdini backpack was made to fit all your essentials in perfectly for your quest in the great outdoors.
2. Greener Tents
Sustainable camping essentials pretty much begin with your shelter.
Come rain or come shine, you will need a comfy den that will keep you fresh during hot, stuffy evenings, and warm on damp, rainy nights. Whatever the circumstances, you must make sure you have a good night’s rest to be fully energised for your walks through nature, right?
But sadly, most tents are made from pretty un-eco-friendly materials like nylon.
If you want to minimise your impact on the planet, try using The Qaou Belguna tent. This tent is entirely eco-designed from top to bottom, inside and out. The tent itself is undyed and unbleached to avoid toxicity linked to the use of dyes. Instead, the aluminium is instead anodized with a new, more responsible process that uses fewer toxic fumes and less water.
The tent fits two people and is a 6-in-1 tent designed to adapt wherever you go, perfect if you travel and spend a lot of time in nature. It can be a canopy over a fire while you make dinner, a hammock in the tree when reading or a tent with an awning when it’s time for rest. If you camp with friends who have a Qaou tent, they can all attach easily to make a more social camping experience.
3. A Sustainable Sleeping Bag
Another of our sustainable camping essentials is, of course, a proper sleeping bag. It should be cosy, light, and of course, eco-friendly.
A good choice in these regards is the Trestles Elite Eco 30° Sleeping Bag. The sustainable design doesn’t mean sacrificing performance in the face of colder weather. The sleeping bag is PFC-free and has a mummy-style fit to cocoon your body during the night.
Made from 96% recycled materials, it’s lightweight and has a unique blend of three fibers for maximum warmth. If you get a little too snug, the fold-down zipper offers ample ventilation and easy access to get in and out.
4. A Rechargeable Lantern/Charger
What is a camping trip without some light to brighten a dark night? A light is one of the most vital sustainable camping essentials! That’s why we’d recommend the Nite Ize Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern: A full-featured lighting solution that offers ultimate reliability and versatility.
Featuring 314 lumens of bright white light softened by a built-in light diffuser, this dual-colour (white and amber) lantern has four modes including a warm night-vision saving amber mode and a built in powerbank that charges small devices from anywhere.
5. A Portable Campfire
What kind of a camping would it be without s’mores and marshmallows roasting under the stars? But sometimes, it’s not as easy to get a fire going as you’d think! And even when you can get one blazing away, you need to be wary of starting forest fires from the embers that remain.
In fact, before you set out on your trip, you should check with the NPS or FS for fire bans and current regulations. Where fires are permitted, be sure to only use existing and designated fire rings. Remember: making a bonfire may not be necessary and has the potential for disaster.
If you make your own fire, remember that even dead logs can be shelter to small wildlife and insects, so only gather small, non-intact pieces no larger than the diameter of an adult wrist, if you want to save the lives of these little beasties.
Alternatively, using a Portable Campfire is one of the best sustainable camping essentials! They’re easy to start, won’t burn down the forest, and are also sustainable – this one is made from 100% recycled materials.
Plus, its portable fire pit burns for hours without producing smothering smoke, making it perfect for those with asthma, or for those who just don’t enjoy getting teary eyed and coughing during weenie roasts!
6. Lightweight Grill For Cooking
Another of the most sustainable camping essentials is something you can cook on. For your outdoor meals, you’ll need a grill that is easy to pack. It shouldn’t weigh too much since you’ll have to carry it around at all times. And of course, it should be kind to the surroundings you’ll be exploring.
The Fire & Flavor Reusable & Portable Eco-Friendly Grill is perfect for nature wanderlusters. It weighs less than 10 pounds, comes with a waterproof case, is easy-to-clean and has a non-stick grill.
And frankly, it couldn’t be greener! Its charcoal pods are plant-based, and its spatula is made out of bamboo.
7. Cutlery & Dishes
Once you’ve cooked that delicious food, you’ll need something to eat it on. So more eco friendly camping gear you’ll need are plates and cutlery.
Obviously, we all want to stay away from single-use plastics and disposables that can be tossed away. Even the eco-friendlier paper cups, plates and cutlery should be avoided, as they’re usually lined with plastic.
The best option is something that can be washed and used over and over again, and is resistant to outdoor life. Sure, you could bring along wood plates, but they weigh a ton. Plastic is lighter, sure. But…it’s plastic! And aluminium has been associated with Alzheimer’s.
The solution? This No Spill Insulated Serving Bowl is made from stainless steel and is copper-lined and vacuum isolated, and will preserve the temperature of both hot and cold food for hours, perfect for when you’re camping without a refrigerator. The tight-fitting lid prevents spills and also keeps food fresher for longer.
Smidge covers all the camping equipment you need to eat and drink, from cutlery, to plates, bowls, mugs, bottles, and even a chopping board! Everything is 100% natural, made from plant-based materials that are fully biodegradable.
8. Camping Gadgets
Living outdoors can be quite a challenge. Especially for urban dwellers who are used to having every need accommodated by the metropolitan life. So make sure to pack some survival basics into your sustainable camping essentials. Because, well…you never know.
For example, this Adventure Essentials Survival Kit provides everything you may need if you get lost. It comes with an aluminium LED flashlight, water purification tablets, compass, wire saw, reflective trail markers, and waterproof matches.
Everything you need, just in case!
9. Health & Safety Kit
As much as one would never want to get injured or get sick on a holiday, you must be prepared for any situation. Even if it’s just a scratch, you must have the necessary tools to cope with the unexpected.
This Essential First Aid Kit is pretty compact eco friendly camping gear. It won’t take much space in your backpack and yet it contains an entire medical world to keep you prepared for any circumstance. As they say, “better safe than sorry,” right?
You’ll definitely be very safe with this kit, which includes: bandages, thermometers, antibiotic, burn cream, aspirin, tweezers, emergency whistle, and so much more.
10. Non-Toxic Bug Spray
Bug sprays are one of the most important sustainable camping essentials to bring along with you. But when it comes to protecting yourself from creepy crawlies, please think of the environment. Chemicals that kill the nasty bugs you don’t like – like mosquitoes – probably also kill the ones you do like, such as ladybugs and fireflies.
That’s why it’s essential to choose a bug spray very conscientiously. Buy something that will be good to ‘good’ insects, your body, and Mother Nature.
Check out the just-released Camp Kit from the Little Flower Soap Co, for example. Their Bug Spray, Citronella Candle, and Itch Relief Roll On are all made with essential oils grown and made by Little Flower themselves, so they will repel the naughty creatures and keep them at a safe distance, but without killing them.
And don’t forget…non-toxic soaps & shampoos
I’m not gonna lie: I personally don’t bathe much when camping, especially in autumn. But if you’re heading out where it’s hotter, you’ll need some non-toxic soaps and shampoos.
You may not know this, but many bathing products have detrimental effects on nature. The chemicals they contain can contaminate the water, harming wildlife and plants. So make sure you pick personal grooming items that are easy to pack and that won’t jeopardise the wellbeing of local flora and fauna.
For example? Try the Bathing Culture Mind + Body Wash 8. It’s organic, biodegradable and feels great on your skin – and hair! Yep, that’s right: it can be used as a body wash, dishwashing soap, or shampoo.
Unlike some soap blends that contain phosphates and other antibacterial ingredients, this one is completely harmless to all living things.
Also bear in mind that campers should never take wipes with them! No matter how natural they maybe, when discarded into the wild, they’re just non-biodegradable rubbish. Take muslin cloths you can launder later instead!
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