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Zero-Waste Camping: 12 Tips for an Eco Friendly Camping Trip

Camping is often seen as a more eco-friendly way to travel compared to a hotel or cruise. But being surrounded by nature isn’t always inherently better for the earth. Camping still creates waste, but there are ways to work toward a zero-waste camping experience.

Here are a few tips to help you be more mindful of the environment when camping!

Here are my 12 Tips for a Zero-Waste Camping Trip!

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1. Rent or Borrow Equipment Instead of Buying

Instead of purchasing your own camping gear, head to a local camping store to see if they have gear to rent. You could also ask your friends if they have any equipment to loan you.

2. Buy Used Gear

If rental equipment isn’t available, check your local thrift stores to see if they have any used camping treasures in stock. You’ll save money, plus you’ll be giving these items a second chance and avoid the landfill.

3. Choose Gear from Eco-Friendly Brands

If you have to purchase new gear, opt for eco-friendly, ethical brands. Some of my favorites include GSI Outdoors for cooking and eating gear, and BioLite for portable lighting, power, and stoves.

A few of my favorite camping items are:

4. Make Your Own Ice

Skip the pre-bagged ice in plastic bags. A few days before your trip, start filling your own ice trays at home and store the cubes in reusable bags.

5. Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals ahead of time can help you avoid food waste and only bring what you really need. Opt for simple meals with few ingredients, and leave as much packaging as possible at home.

6. Bring Reusable Utensils

Ditch the plastic forks and spoons and bring real camping utensils that can be washed and reused. They’re usually better quality and more eco-friendly.

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7. Compost at the Campsite

If the campground allows it, compost any leftover food scraps. This is one of the easiest hacks for a zero-waste camping trip, and it’s easier to do when you opt for plant-based meals.

8. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Skip the single-use bottled water. Bring a refillable water bottle that will keep you hydrated.

9. Choose Drinks in Recyclable Aluminum Cans

Drinks in aluminum cans can be recycled. Bring along a mesh bag to store your used cans so you can carry them home with you.

10. Opt for Eco-Friendly Bug Spray and Sunscreen

Some sunscreens and insect repellants contain chemicals that are harmful to you and the earth. Choose eco-friendly brands that are safe and non-toxic.

11. Bring Zero Waste Toiletries

Plastic-free shampoo bars, soap sheets, and other natural toiletries can help you have a zero-waste camping trip and avoid leaving waste and chemicals behind. You might even opt to make your own toiletry items, such as skin cream and bar soap.

12. Carry-In, Carry-Out: Leave No Trace

Remember that everything you carry into your campsite must also be carried out. It’s also helpful to bring your own trash bags to collect any waste that can’t be recycled or composted (hopefully you won’t even fill one trash bag!)

Zero-waste camping takes a little extra planning, but the positive difference it makes on the planet is well worth it!

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