When you go camping, you want to cover all the bases. Getting to your campsite and realising you’ve forgotten something crucial is irritating indeed!
Responsible campers will also want to try to minimise their carbon footprint. So, we’ve compiled this ultimate camping checklist with plenty of useful tips for an eco-friendly trip.
This is a pretty comprehensive list, and if you’re travelling on public transport, you might need to prioritise.
Camping Gear Essentials
Tent – If your tent has any leaks or damage, always try to repair it before replacing it, as tents take quite a lot of energy to produce. Keeping your gear in good condition means less frequent replacements, which means a smaller carbon footprint.
If you’re in the market for a new tent, canvas bell tents are biodegradable. They also look awesome!
Sleeping bag – Repairing over replacing goes for sleeping bags too. But if you do need to buy a new one, down sleeping bags have a smaller carbon footprint than synthetic sleeping bags.
Pillow- alpaca fibre pillows are hypoallergenic and sustainably made.
Firelighters – your everyday firelighters are not too hot (!) when it comes to sustainability. You can make your own sustainable alternative out of ingredients such as dried orange peel or dried plastic-free teabags covered in beeswax.
There are also eco-friendly fire starters on the market. Although, they will have to travel to get to you and are often expensive.
Loo roll – Fantastically named company ‘Who Gives a Crap?’ sells bulk loo rolls made from recycled paper. The rolls come in sustainable packaging and they donate a lot of proceeds to sanitation projects worldwide.
Even better, use nature’s loo roll when you can (sticks, leaves, moss)!
Portable stove – Try to get an efficient stove and always recycle gas canisters properly to minimise your carbon output. Or even better, try something like the Biomass Campstove which cooks on the power of twigs and pinecones!
Lantern – Choosing partially solar-powered lights will save on energy.
Firewood – There are restrictions on collecting firewood in the UK. Find out from landowners if you have permission to collect firewood. If not, you can buy bags of logs from sustainable suppliers who collect it from responsibly thinned woods.
Matches – Unsurprisingly, an eco-friendlier choice than your average lighter. Although, you can buy plasma lighters – handy for when that pesky wind keeps blowing your flame out!
Tent repair kit
Camping chairs – Beware of the lure of cheap camping chairs. Easy on the wallet, not on the planet. They often don’t last a season and end up in the landfill. Either buy chairs second-hand, find an eco-alternative online, or make do with a good old-fashioned chunk of wood!
Camp bed – You get what you pay for with cheap air beds. If you are looking for a new one, choose a durable camp bed that will last a long time, or (if your body can take it), get back to nature and sleep on the ground!
Tarp for shelter – Cheap gazebos often go the way of camping chairs, buckling in the wind. You can buy a higher quality gazebo or event shelter or stick with good old-fashioned tarp and some poles and rope.
Bin bags – Replacing plastic bin bags with biodegradable bin bags or using canvas shopping bags is a good shout for sustainability. Recycle as much as you can and keep those landfills as empty as possible!
Dustpan and brush – You’ll appreciate this if you get any mud and grass on your groundsheet!
Washable cloths – Steer clear of wet wipes, because even the biodegradable ones cause problems in our waterways before disintegrating.
Maps – Instead of big paper maps, an offline map like maps.me can help you find walking trails.
Upgrading gear tip
If you do decide to upgrade any of your gear and your old stuff is still in working order, instead of selling it, you could donate it with an organisation like Gift Your Gear.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
Feminine hygiene products – A menstrual cup is a much more sustainable option than other sanitary products and saves you money and space too.
All of these products can be bought from your local (or online) zero waste shop, either in liquid form with your own refillable containers, or in bar form.
We like the Happy Planet Green Store in Narbeth. Try searching for your local area and ‘zero waste shop’ on Google.
Socks and undies
Sunglasses and glasses
Walking shoes or boots
Clothes sustainability tip
The clothing industry has a huuuuuuge carbon footprint and uses excessive fresh water. To make what you wear more sustainable, choose eco-friendly fabrics or buy second-hand.
For moisture-wicking gear, have a look at garments made from recycled plastic and other recycled materials.
Another tip is to wash clothes less often, as many man-made fabrics contain microfibres (made of plastic) that get into the ocean and damage the marine environment. There are special bags you can buy online that help collect the microfibres in your wash cycle.
Pots and pans
Cutlery – Bamboo is lightweight, sustainable, and biodegradable, so a great choice for camping cutlery.
Plates and bowls
Spices and oil – You can also get refills of these in reusable containers from zero waste shops.
Meals and snacks – Cook in bulk and bring some reusable containers or beeswax wraps full of food instead of buying grab and go food that has excess packaging. Food that doesn’t need to be heated up obviously uses less energy.
And, if you’re staying near civilisation, find some local pubs, cafes or restaurants that serve local produce.
Marshmallows – Shop-bought marshmallows tend to come in plastic wrapping, so why not make your own? There are plenty of recipes online and it’s easier than you’d think!
Portable charger – Solar-powered chargers help reduce electricity consumption.
Spare batteries – Rechargeable batteries also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Bikes – travelling by bike is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint and gives you more options for transporting gear than just backpacking.
Colouring book and pencils
We also recommend finding your nearest Repair Café. Run by volunteers who fix everything from electrical items to clothes; all for FREE!
Do you have any extra eco-friendly camping packing tips you can share with us?
If you want to enjoy some get-away-from-it-all rustic camping, we have pitches in our wild camping alpaca fields at Sweet Home Alpaca. Because who doesn’t want to wake up with a friendly, fuzzy alpaca outside their tent door?
Get in touch to book a camping pitch or find out more about our alpaca walks.