{Eco Tips} Green Your Camping Vacation

We just got our camper out of winter storage and I’m anxious to begin our summer camping vacations!  In the years we’ve been camping, I’ve observed that there are eco-conscious and not-so-eco-conscious practices of campers everywhere.  I would guess that the not-so eco-conscious campers don’t know how to camp with the environment in mind or are not concerned about the environment in their everyday lives either. This post is for those who wish to be as eco-friendly in the wild as they are at home. When we’re out and about we strive to be as eco-friendly as possible.  The following are some tips we practice when we’re camping:

First, we purchased our camper used and we have had it for 10 years. We’re not primitive campers by any means with our pop-up’s having  many creature comforts such as A/C, a fridge and other conveniences we pack to take with us. Most of the items we take with us were purchased at yard and garage sales. (A great source so that you needn’t take your “good stuff” and you don’t have to purchase new.)

  • As we do at home, we use biodegradable soap and cleaning supplies to keep ourselves clean and sweeter smelling for the fauna surrounding us.
  • We use wind-up LED flashlights instead of battery powered flashlights.
  • For items that require batteries, we bring our rechargeable batteries and our charger.
  • Organic bug repellent works very well to keep the pests away at night when we’re outside eating or enjoying a campfire.
  • Paper towels may be convenient but they create a lot of waste. Use fabric towels instead. Again, your camping towels can be purchased second hand.
  • Our eating utensils and dinnerware were purchased (you guessed it) second-hand. The sets were very inexpensive and if a piece turns up missing, it’s no big deal.  We can get some more at the thrift store or at the next garage sale!
  • If a campground has recycling centers, we recycled everything we can at the site. If they don’t we take our reusable bags to store them until we get home to recycle them then we just toss the bags in the wash.
  • Since we have electricity and electric appliances in the camper, we make sure that everything is unplugged before we leave and we never leave the A/C running when we’re not using it.
  • We have small fans (purchased at a garage sale–sensing a pattern here?) that we use instead of the A/C when we can to reduce our electric consumption.
  • I HATE having to cook ever but I especially resent it when I’m on vacation. Instead of cooking and using conveniently packaged wasteful products, I precook our meals and store them in reusable containers and freeze them. The day that we leave I put the frozen containers in the cooler and they serve as ice packs as well.

Basically,almost anything that you do at home to save the planet can be done when camping too. Follow the rule to leave your campsite better than you found it. Don’t take anything but great memories from your campsite and leave it as nature intended. You’ll have a great time and be able to enjoy yourself knowing that you’ve been kind to the Earth.


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  1. My husband and I are civil war re enactors, so we like to “rough it” sometimes. A few times we even took our civil war tent camping! (It’s an A frame, white canvas beast). But now we have a little more sense and use a new school dome tent.

    I really like the idea of cooking ahead of time! I will have to do that the next time we go camping (which I hope is soon!)

  2. I love this post! Camping is a favorite with my family, and it is really so easy (as long as you don’t mind getting dirty). @ Lynn, we easily fit everything we need into the car. The trick is not to over pack. My kids wear the same clothes for three days straight no matter how much I pack for them. One extra change of clothes and a warm layer for night time is all they need. We don’t bring any toys or extra stuff. To ease into it, I’d suggest prepping all of your food at home, and freezing what you can ahead of time. A good choice is a pot of hearty veggie chili. You can have chili one night, huevos for breakfast, and use what’s left in burritos the next night. (-: Also, the frozen food helps keep the other food in the cooler cold and you don’t have the mess you deal with when you fill the cooler with ice. 4 sleeping bags, a tent, a cooler, a couple of duffel bags, and a big rubbermaid tote full of our camp kitchen and other essentials, all fits easily in the car.

    • Sounds like you’ve got a great system worked out, Tiffany! I too freeze our meals but we still need ice. (We usually go for about a week.) I have found that leaving the ice in the bag is helpful and it’s longer lasting that way too.

  3. Super post! I too have a used travel trailer. (1969…) She is a vintage sweetie and her name is Chloe Camper.

    You have shared some great ideas! One thing I do is to take gardening gloves and a trash bag and we do a trash sweep before we leave the site to pick up any litter from previous campers.

    • Great idea! I try to remember to take along a bag to pick up garbage (plastic bottles and metal cans) along trails. I keep the bag and put it in the recycling at that campsite or cart it home to recycle. My husband thinks I’m a bit “off”. LOL

  4. Thank you! I’d begin by camping in the back yard or someplace locally. After a few trial runs, you can determine what you’d be able to do without and what you desperately need. Think about investing in a car top carrier for your additional needs. I’ve also seen people camping who have rented a small trailer from someplace like UHaul and covered their gear with tarps.

    I am the one who does all the planning and packing too but I love it! I do insist on help with the unpacking and cleaning! :)

  5. what wonderful ideas! i’m not into camping mainly because i’d be the one planning & packing the entire thing, but my family really wants to go. do you have any suggestions for easing into it? i’m afraid we couldn’t fit everything we need in our one little car 😉