8 tips for no-impact camping
With the Easter holidays coming up, some of us may consider going camping. Camping allows us to emerge ourselves entirely in nature and experience the wild and basic life. Experiencing the great outdoors is a wonderful recreational activity that includes adventures, being active, whilst also calming our minds and nurturing our souls with beautiful memories. Being based in South Africa, we are also lucky to be living in such a beautiful country with many wonderful camping opportunities.
However, like any activity, camping can also have a negative impact on the environment, threatening the habitat of wildlife and vegetation. If we want to enjoy nature in the near future, it is important to camp sustainably and to leave no impact. In this edition of the Core Merino blog post, we provide you with some hands-on tips on how to camp with care.
Use what you have
Like with any activity we embark on, we have the tendency to invest in new gear and equipment that we only use once or twice a year, if at all. Instead of buying new camping gear, use what you already have or borrow equipment from friends and family. This is also relevant for your clothes. If you for example already own some merino wool garments for hiking or biking, you can make good use of the same garments during your camping trip, wearing them day and night and staying comfortable throughout.
It may seem convenient to pack disposable items such as plastic bags, cutlery, and cups as you can then dispose of them during the trip. But you guessed it, disposable plastic items are not sustainable and should never be disposed of in nature. Find sustainable and reusable items instead, and carry everything with you at all times.
Carpool to your destination
Another point to consider when camping sustainably is how to actually get to your camping destination. Try to use as few cars and camper vans as possible to keep carbon emissions low. Besides, fewer cars driving on the road means a smaller abrasion of rubber from wheels that end up as microplastic in our beautiful environment. You may also research public transportation options if available.
Stay on trails
Once you have arrived at your destination, be sure to only stay on existing trails. It might be tempting to go off-trail to catch a particularly beautiful view or feel more adventurous. Unfortunately, you may inspire others to follow suit. This will lead to trails getting wider and side trails developing. This means that soil is compacted and erosion progresses. In addition, slow-growing vegetation will get damaged and may not grow back, while insects will find it harder to move on the compacted soil. Most likely the existing trails will anyway lead you past the most beautiful spots, so just stick to the paths most traveled.
Camp on campsites
The same can be said about campsites. Only set up camp in designated campsites instead of camping in the wild. Setting up a tent, shuffling around your camping chairs, and cooking all have an impact on the soil, vegetation, and wildlife around you and should therefore only be limited to pre-defined areas.
One of the magical moments in nature is when we encounter wildlife. Be sure to always give any animal you encounter on your trip enough space to not disturb them unnecessarily and to keep them and yourself safe. Another important point is to not leave any food lying around. On the one hand, food may attract wildlife such as baboons, which can get quite annoying or even dangerous in case it attracts more dangerous animals such as a lion. Finally, human food is unhealthy for most wildlife creatures, and they should not be exposed to it.
Be fire safe
A little campfire might seem quite romantic, or might even be more comfortable during a cold night. Nevertheless, fires can not only be unsustainable, but also very risky. Inform yourself about the fire policy within the camping grounds you are in. It may be a severe dry season when fires are not allowed at all. If campfires are allowed, be sure to only use an existing fire pit and do not start a new one.
Leave things better than before
Finally, when it is time to leave, make sure you do a proper clean-up. Sweep the entire camping grounds to ensure you did not leave any garbage behind. Even pick up garbage that is not yours, take everything with you, and leave things better than before.
We hope you will soon start an adventurous, magical and sustainable camping trip. Do you have another tip on how to camp sustainably? Do leave us a comment and share your camping insights with us.