Green glamping with eco style!
Start with good ole fashioned camping and mix in a glamorous eco-chic twist. Voila! You’ve got a recipe for “glamping greenly.”
Certainly, glamping can mean duvet covers in the woods, 1500 thread count sheets on plushy air mattresses, mini houses on wheels, solar showers and gizmoo gadgets, lounging in hand-woven hammocks and generally relishing luxuries toted into the great outdoors.
All of these bells and whistles can be super fun, but let's consider for a moment: Does pumping up the luxuries in the woods kind of defeat the purpose of camping and possibly even threaten the vitality of wilderness areas?
How about if we redefine glamping to mean creating a glamorously green experience that enhances our experience of sleeping in the woods and at the same time honors our Mother Earth?
Just like when planning a plastic-free picnic, it’s important to realize that thinking ahead is going to help you make the best glamping plan. Here are ECOlunchbox’s top 7 environmental camping tips to help you truly abide by the leave-no-trace principles as you glamp to your heart’s content.
#1 Buy used gear
Why buy cheap gear that will just break and leave you in the lurch? How about buying excellent gear - cheaply? There's no reason to invest in lots of new camping equipment. Instead, look for backpacks, tents and other gear on sites like craigslist and freecycle or check out swapping and trading sites like swap.com or swapitgreen.com. Other options are outdoor store swap meets and second-hand stores.
#2 Bring reusables
Doing dishes in the woods can be a hassle and it may be tempting to toss the paper plates and plastic forks into your pack, but with proper planning mealtimes will be served with reusable elegance and clean-up will be a breeze.
Bring reusable silverware, plates and cookingware. There are a variety of greener options available — from divided trays and stainless steel food containers that can be used for eating as well as cooking. Cooking and eating out of the same container is a great way to save on dishwashing.
If you need something lighter weight because you’ll be backpacking, there are other plastic-free, non-toxic options to consider such as titanium plates and collapsible silicone bowls that take up virtually no space.
Bring along A) a small basin/bucket, sponge and biodegradable soap; and B) a clothesline to string between two trees plus a few clothespins C) a mesh bag to pin up on the line with your wet dishes so they can drip dry between usage.
#3 Use eco-friendly toiletries
Camping is awesome, but throw in a sunburn and a swarm of biting insects and it quickly becomes a nightmare. Venturing far from home might make you want to reach for the strong chemicals—but don’t! They’re toxic to the air, water and animals you’ll be visiting, as well as your own health. Instead try safer alternatives like Elemental Herbs Sunscreen or make your own natural sunscreen and bring a natural mosquito repellent like Badger’s Anti-Bug Balm.
You might be tempted to toss your regular shampoo, toothpaste and bodywash into your pack, but they might also harm the environment, especially if you’re washing in streams or lakes. Most of the soaps, moisturizers and cleaning products we use are full of chemicals and other unnatural ingredients, so pick up some eco-friendly, biodegradable toiletries.
#4 Leave battery-powered gadgets at home
Say goodbye to being plugged in for a few days. Leave unnecessary gadgets at home when you're heading into the wilderness, especially those that require batteries or need to be hooked up to your car. If you have a sleeping pad or air mattress that needs to be inflated, use a foot pump. Instead of bringing tunes and a speaker, switch it up and listen to the sounds of nature or bring a book.
The two exceptions: a flashlight and a cell phone. For lighting, find something solar-powered like the Suaoki Camping Collapsible Lantern or the D.Light S20 Lantern, which was designed as a social impact solution for Third World families. You might also want to bring along a solar charger to keep your emergency phone charged up.
#5 Do your business the right way
If you're going to be in the woods for a few days, nature is going to call and it's best to be prepared. Here's what you'll need if your campsite doesn't have bathrooms or an outhouse: a small shovel, a partial roll of toilet paper to save space, a small plastic bag (yes, plastic for this purpose) and hand sanitizer (choose carefully so it’s non-toxic).
When it's time to go, find a spot at least 200 feet away from campsites and water sources — regardless of whether it's number one or number two.
Dig a hole about 6 inches deep before you get down to business, and be sure to cover it up afterward. Put your soiled paper into a bag to throw away when you get back to civilization. If the idea of putting that bag back into your pack is too much for you, burn it in the campfire. Just remember: That may be the same fire you're cooking over.
#6 Bulk and reusable water bottles
It happens all the time… families hauling in cases of bottled water to their camp sites. Yes, it’s important to have plenty of water to stay hydrated, but with some proper planning you can save money and dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the unnecessary disposal of these plastic bottles.
#7 Camp nearby
More fun doesn’t mean more driving! Cut down on both travel time and emissions by camping in a nearby state park or campground. Search the U.S. National Park Service for a park near you, or search for a local national forest that allows camping.
Share photos of YOUR green adventures with us using #ecointhewild. We'd love to see how you camp with style!