If you’re a person who loves to live green and you’re planning your summer vacations, chances are that camping is on your list of activities. After all, camping provides a chance to get near to nature as well as to reduce the carbon footprint you’re leaving behind after your vacation. But if you’re not careful, you can do just as much damage to the planet on a camping trip as you could at a hotel or resort. Here are some tips to make sure that your eco vacation is, in fact, eco friendly.

If It Came with You, It Needs to Leave With You

The most basic rule is that if you’re staying in nature when you vacation, then that nature should look the same when you leave. Anything that you bring in with you should leave with you or be taken to the disposal facilities at your campgrounds. If your campsite doesn’t have trash bins, don’t just bury it! And if your campground doesn’t have recycling, then pack the recyclables up and take them back with you.

Soft-Soled Shoes Reduce Environmental Damage

The common image of campers involves thick, sturdy camping and hiking boots. The reality is that those shoes do the most damage possible to the surrounding flora and fauna. If you’re out on a hard trail hike, then wear your hiking boots. However, if you’re just spending time in your campsite, then soft-soled shoes are your friends. They’re also the planet’s friends.

Don’t Fall Into the “Disposables” Trap

Often, camping means buying paper plates and cups and, even worse, plastic silverware. There’s absolutely no reason for this! Take the time to pack up your real dishes and gear and then take them home with you after. You need to have a great reason in general to use disposable plates. A camping vacation is not a great reason for that level of waste!

Borrow Don’t Buy!

Don’t add to your pile of “stuff!” For camping gear that you don’t have, borrow it from friends or rent from a rental location. Unless you camp monthly, there’s no reason to purchase gear that you’ll only use once a year on vacation.

Use Green Gear When Possible

If you are buying camping gear, there are plenty of green and eco friendly options out there. Do the research and learn which green companies create low-impact camping and hiking items.

A camping vacation is an ideal way to get out of an urban setting and into nature. Just make sure that you leave the nature that’s surrounding you intact for the next campers.

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