The memories you create on a camping trip with your family and friends last a lifetime. Getting out and enjoying nature is a great experience, and more and more people are making an effort to camp with no negative impact on the plants and animals around them.
The concept behind ‘no trace camping’ is simple: get out, explore and leave everything as you found it, so the next person gets to experience virgin nature as well. Not only is no trace camping respectful of nature, but it also really helps you appreciate your time away from your busy life and see the world around you in a different way.
Any camping trip takes some forethought, and no trace camping isn’t any trickier to plan for than traditional camping. You just have to prepare with ‘not leaving a trace’ in mind.
Try to choose a location that isn’t frequented by many campers. Too many visitors will have a negative impact on the flora and fauna. Camping during non-peak times will also put less of a strain on nature.
When you’re setting up camp, do it in natural clearings and on hard, durable surfaces, instead of clearing trees and brush to make space. Only gather branches and sticks that are on the ground for your fire (which tend to be drier and burn better anyway).
Speaking of fires, keep your fire small and contained within a fire ring or shallow pit that you can cover over when you leave. Don’t leave food waste for animals to eat, either. Most human food is not suitable for animals, and native animals can get dependent on handouts.
Before you head out, pack your food and supplies with the idea that you will consume everything during your trip and not leave anything behind. To do that:
Repack your food so you have as little waste as possible. Reusable containers work well, as do paper bags that you can use to start a fire. Bring washable dishes and cutlery. Bring water in refillable jugs and avoid plastic water bottles. Anyone who has used traditional camping sites knows just how many bottles are left lying around by inconsiderate campers.
Think about how you will take care of your toilet needs. Bring biodegradable toilet paper for burying or a specially designed toilet meant for carrying out your waste.
Explore Outdoria: leave no trace with the kids in tow
Impact on Your Surroundings
When you’re camping or out on the trail, think about how everything you do might impact nature. Follow natural paths through the brush and vegetation, and walk along rocks and dirt paths when possible. Don’t try to approach native animals — leave them wild for the next group of campers. Bring along binoculars and a powerful camera to get a close look at animals like birds and fish.
It’s a terrific feeling when you return from a no-trace camping trip. You have the great experiences and great memories, but as an added bonus, you know you’re leaving behind a pristine wilderness that many others can enjoy.