Developing an appreciation for the environment is a natural outgrowth of camping and hiking in the great outdoors. We tend to appreciate the things that we care about most and it’s natural to want to protect those things for our children and grandchildren’s future, so that they get to experience them as we have.
Green principles like simplicity and using resources wisely are perfectly aligned with camping in the outdoors, where you have to make do with what you have. Camping greener can also save you money, which is always an important consideration in times of economic uncertainty. Here are a few tips that we have implemented over the years, which have both saved us money and reduced our camping “footprint.”
Reduce Prepackaged Food
When we started camping, we would take a lot of prepackaged food with us because it was convenient. We quickly figured out that this convenience came at a cost, though, when our campsite started to look like a small garbage collection point. Prepackaged food not only creates a lot of garbage – something that’s not always easy to deal with in the backcountry, but it’s also expensive.
You can save a lot of money and help the environment at the same time by cooking your own meals, or freezing your own meals ahead of time. We have started keeping several frozen meals in the freezer so that we’re always ready to go, whenever the camping bug bites us. This has the added benefit of helping eliminate that mad dash to the grocery store on the way out of town.
Eliminate Bottled Water and Juice Boxes
We have also cut costs and reduced the amount of campsite garbage that we generate by eliminating bottled water and juice boxes. Using our own tap water and buying juice in bulk containers saves money and we have found that it’s easier to get the kids to stay hydrated, now that they each have their own reusable sports bottle.
Camp Closer to Home
We have always tried to camp as close to home as possible on our regular camping trips, which run from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. Much of this was born out of necessity, as trying to get anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Friday commute can add hours to our travel time.
Every hour spent behind the wheel is one less hour spent camping. In addition, every hour behind the wheel is also an hour that is costing money and creating pollution – a losing situation all around. There are many great camping opportunities in municipal and county parks that are often overlooked by the public. Check with the local parks and recreation department to see what kind of opportunities exist in your area.