How to Have a Sustainable Camping Trip

Going camping is a great way to get closer to nature, so it makes sense to use environmentally friendly camping equipment. The demand for eco-alternatives for a more sustainable camping experience is growing, with festival tents especially in the spotlight as organisers strive to cut down on single-use plastics.

Eco-alternatives for camping kit

Given the nature of camping, especially wild camping or festival camping, kit needs to be portable, sturdy enough to travel well and, for the British summer, waterproof. This often results in the use of PVC-based tents and plastic kitchenware.

Fortunately outdoor retailers are catching up with sustainable camping. Camping cookware made out of metal is more easily recyclable at the end of its life than the plastic versions.

If you’re a backpacking camper and hate the sound of metal-on-metal rattling around your rucksack, bamboo cooking equipment is lightweight and strong (but not necessarily fireproof, so you’ll still need something for the stove!).

Talking of stoves, most run on gas, whereas the BioLite CampStove can boil up a litre of water in under five minutes using whatever sticks or leaves you can find. To avoid energy wastage, it also harvests the thermal energy which it generates and stores it in a battery pack that powers its own fan, and can also be used as a charger.

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Borrow or hire camping equipment

Unfortunately it’s pretty hard to get hold of plastic free camping shelters that are also lightweight enough for carrying with you. If you won’t need to lug it too far, tipis are more usually made from plastic-free fabrics but still waterproof.

Environmentally friendly glamping sites provide ready-built tipis, yurts and bell tents which use wooden frames and heavy fabrics, with campers hiring the structure, not just the pitch site.

You can also borrow camping equipment, or look at our product listings for camping items available to hire, or buy second hand. It cuts down on the energy used for producing new materials, and means less camping kit is produced that will eventually end up in landfill.

Camping with the trimmings, without the wrappings

Energy bars, sandwiches, and drinks sometimes mean you’re going home with pockets full of plastic wrappers. Plan ahead and prepare tray bakes of snacks and meals will help keep your energy levels up, and make the most of reusable food containers. Ziplock bags are great for keeping everything dry, but beeswax wraps are an excellent sustainable alternative.

If you’re camping at a festival you might take one look at the shower block on day two, and just decide to let standards slip for a couple of days. Either way, explore toiletries produced sustainably, and without the plastic packaging. Soap bars and shampoo bars go a long way. Coconut oil and a cloth gets off makeup and grime, and is great for sunburn too; just break a bit off and warm in your hands to turn it back into liquid form.

Explore our product listings for camping equipment to buy second-hand, or hire.

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