Inspired Habitat: “Leave No Trace” Camping Tips

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With the end of summer here, and Labor Day looming, thoughts turn to quick weekend getaways. Camping is an end-of-summer tradition for many, and it’s a perfect chance to get away from all the hustle and bustle, and electronics, of city life. Done right, it’s one of the most eco-friendly ways to take a vacation.

While getting away from it all may seem like the point of a camping trip, most of us are so rooted in the digital age that we just can’t leave all of our devices at home. So why not put them to use to help make an already green camping trip just a little greener. We’ve rounded up some useful apps and gadget gear to help make your next camping trip a green breeze.

We’re almost there – OK, sure, you could hop in your car and drive, following your GPS directions, but why not leave your car at home, or at least share the ride? Check outCarticipate, a social networking app designed to help traveling carpoolers come together. Driving not your thing? Look up TheNextTrain and iTrans to help you navigate your way through a variety of public transit options.

Out and about – So, you’ve found the perfect campsite and you’ve settled in. What now? You could pick a spot to hang a hammock, pull out a book and sleep… err, we mean read. Or, you could look up apps like TrailsEveryTrail and iLocate to help you find cool trails to hike and explore.

Batteries not included – When you’re out in the wilderness, there’s no way to plug in all your electronic gear. Check out off-the-grid charges from Hymini and Voltaic for some cool options.

If you’re not an experienced camper, or if the idea of environmentally-friendly camping is new to you, check out the rest of our green camping tips.

  • Reuse – unless you’re a long-time camper or plan to take it up as a regular hobby, consider renting your gear. If you do purchase, opt for used gear as much as possible, and go for greener choices when new is unavoidable (you can even find sleeping bags made from recycled plastic bottles!)
  • Go biodegradable – there are no sewer pipes in nature, so go easy on the soapy stuff and choose eco-friendly biodegradable soaps
  • Bring dishtowels from home – skip the pile of throw-away paper towels and just plan on doing a big load of laundry when you get home.
  • Ditch the disposable dishes – pack reusable utensils, plates and cups rather than using paper or plastic. You’ll reduce waste and have less to pack.
  • Recycle it – if you generate recyclable trash, either pack it out to recycle back home, or take it to the campground recycling center.
  • Pack it right – plan your meals and pack food in reusable containers to minimize trash. It’s not only good for the environment, but it helps keep raccoons and other critters out of the trash cans.
  • Be water smart – if you’re near a water source, be smart about keeping waste away from the water. If there aren’t bathroom facilities, make sure to do your business at least 200 feet from any water source.
  • No trailblazing – follow signs and stay on the beaten path no matter how tempting it is. Traveling off path leads to soil erosion and trampling native plant life.
  • It’s on fire – check local requirements and regulations before building your campfire. Some places allow gathering downed wood and others require that you bring in your own. Either way, build your fire in designated areas only and never burn any plastics or trash materials. And of course, never leave your fire unattended.

Inspired Habitat is written by local environmentally-conscious lifestyle website Bambeco, a company committed to advancing a more sustainable world.

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