The motto of eco-friendly camping is “leave only footprints, only take pictures” and is where every parent can start in teaching their children about environmentalism and responsibility in nature.
The warmer months are approaching and family camping trips are right around the corner. Warm summer days and long weekends enjoying nature, are such a dream. In fact, being in the great outdoors and sitting around the fire with family and friends is an amazing way to relax and spend those summer days.
The wonderful thing about camping is that there is something for everyone to do.
Bike riding, hiking, swimming, reading a good book, eating s’mores until your tummy aches…all sounds about perfect for an epic family camping journey, right?
Just like anything else in life, there are rules of etiquette to follow when going camping. It’s important to continue to take care of mother nature so that you and many others can continue to enjoy the outdoors and camping for many years to come. And so that we can teach our kids to love nature, preserving the environment for future generations.
Rules to Keep a Family Camping Trip Eco-Friendly
Have fun planning your next camping adventure and think of all the possible places that you can camp. One of the best aspects of camping is that you get to explore a possible new place and all its beauty. The magic of being in the middle of nature, surrounded by family and friends, is an experience that is truly wonderful. Just make certain to be as kind to Mother Nature as she is to us by keeping your camping trip as eco-friendly as possible.
Leave your camping spot cleaner than you found it.
Clean up trash, even if it wasn’t left by you, and don’t just dump your ashes from your grill or campfire in the middle of the area. Chances are there is another camping group that will be there not long after you leave, so leave a nice clean area for them to enjoy just like you did.
Grab your free Family Camping Packing List download.
Don’t use plastic products.
I get the need to not have to wash dishes but try to take paper plates or recycled plates that you can use instead. Using plastic and then throwing it away is not eco-friendly at all! There are so many paper products out there to use instead that don’t harm the Earth.
Use sunscreen that is non-toxic to beat those rays.
Not only are some sunscreens harmful to you and your skin, but they also release chemicals into the air that aren’t good either. Check with your local pharmacy or store to find the best options for sunscreen that is healthy for you and the great outdoors.
Bring your reusable water bottles from home.
It’s tempting to buy plastic water bottles from the store for that “quick” trip, but those bottles are a nightmare to our ecosystem. Instead, have some reusable bottles and water jugs that you can fill and bring with you. The best part is that you can use them over and over again!
Have a gadget-free, electricity-free weekend.
Leave the phones, tablets, computers, and anything else that requires power and energy at home. Trust me on this. It may seem limiting at first, but after you get used to it, it’s truly a breath of fresh air.
Except maybe a camera. Just use it sparingly so they family can make memories so vivid, they don’t need many pictures.
Invest in solar lamps.
Many flashlights have the need for batteries, but what happens when those batteries burn out? With solar lamps, you only depend on the outside sun to keep them charged, and they recharge every single day on their own.
Pack your recycle bags.
If you do have items that you plan on using that aren’t exactly earth-friendly, but can be recycled, then make certain to pack a recycle bag with you on your camping trip so that you can ensure that those items, in fact, do get recycled. Hang it on an outside location so it’s easy for all to see and use.
Cook over the fire.
No need to pack up charcoal, or other items that may release chemicals when cooked…light a contained fire with sticks and wood from your campground, and have fun creating a delicious healthy meal. All you need is a campfire grill rack. Cooking with cast iron is always a great idea as it doesn’t release chemicals and screams campfire cooking.
Related: How to Use Cast Iron
Once you get to the campsite, leave your car parked.
Camping is about enjoying nature, right? So why would you have the need to drive your car anywhere once you arrive? Walk, bike, or hike to anyplace within the campground that you are wanting to go.
Upcycle or reuse someone else’s camping equipment for your trip.
When you decide to go camping, you may not have all the gear that you need for your adventure but chances are that someone you know does! Why not ask to see if you can borrow some of their camping gear rather than worry about buying items that you may not need?
Grab our Eco-Friendly Family Camping packing list!
It’s completely free and is two full pages, with extra space to write to help you and your family fill up the car with everything you’ll need to have a safe, healthy, and fun time while enjoying the great outdoors. Simply click on the cropped image preview below and a pop-up will ask you where you want your PDF download sent.
More resources to get your family outside
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!