I hear birds singing. The days are getting longer and warmer. The trees are budding and everything is getting green. It makes me want to go camping. And if camping isn’t green enough already, here are some cool ways you can green it up a bit.
If you don’t own your own camping gear, consider renting some camping gear. Not only does this save you some money, but it also prevents the consumption and disposal of new equipment. Perhaps you have a friend you can borrow some camping gear from. Some universities and colleges rent gear to students and the public alike. Or check one of your local camping gear stores. Sometimes they have a “try it before you buy it” program. There is also the option to swap online.
Speaking of online, try finding some used gear for sale, so you can still own the gear, but are recycling it instead. There are many camping gear swaps online, as well as Kijiji or Craig’s List. You could also try pawnshops, flea markets and garage sales.
When looking for good gear, remember to check for items that are rechargeable. Radios that use electricity are impractical when camping, especially if you are tenting. And batteries are not a very green form of energy. Try finding some hand-crank or solar powered options. There are hand-crank flashlights and radios.
Another way to save is to not bring a radio. Sometimes it can be nice to just sit and listen to nature.
Instead of camping at a location with showers available, try finding a place on a lake or river, or bringing your own shower bag. A good shower bag should be black so that the water can heat up in the sun. If you are going to go au-natural in the river or lake, be sure to get environmentally safe biodegradable soap and shampoo so you don’t pollute the water. Mountain Equipment Coop carries some river-safe soap and some eco friendly tents and sleeping bags too.
Use natural bug spray. Not only is this better for your health, but it’s better for the environment. Burt’s Bees, Jason and Kiss My Face are all brands that carry nontoxic, natural bug sprays. Or try making your own. There are many essential oils that will repel mosquitoes. Citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, patchouli or lavender to name a few. You can mix and match the smells too, to find one that you really enjoy. One of my favorites is lavender and peppermint. Mix 1 part essential oil with 10 parts olive oil, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or vodka and water. Shake it in a recycled spray bottle and voila! Your very own signature scented bug spray.
Cooking everything over the fire can save on propane, but using a straw box oven or a flameless solar oven can cut down on wood consumption and save the propane too. Cooking over the fire, while tasty and great smelling pollutes the air and isn’t all that good for your health. You can buy a flameless solar oven from most camping stores, but you can also build your own. Here is a website that will walk you through the steps of how to make a solar oven.
With all of the options out there for cheap and green camping, there is no excuse not to be out there enjoying the world this summer. So gear up and get green while getting down with nature. Hope to see you out there!