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How To: Make Your Camping Trip Greener

Updated: Jul 6, 2023


If you're going camping, chances are, you like nature (at least enough to sleep out in it). Hopefully, therefore, you're keen on looking after it! Good news! By camping here in the UK, you're already embarking on a more eco-friendly holiday than many alternatives, be it flying abroad, or staying in a fancy (and energy intensive!) hotel.



But, there's many more simple steps you can take to ensure your camping adventure has the lowest carbon footprint possible:


 

Eco friendly consumables


Camping, naturally, requires a fair bit of gear. Even the most minimalist packer will be bringing several consumables, from food containers to hygiene products. An easy way to cut down on your environmental impact is to ensure you always use 'eco friendly' consumables.


These can range from compostable sponges (which you can throw in the food bin or on your compost when you get home), to reusable cutlery (none of that single use plastic crap), to natural fire lighters (rather than 'traditional' petroleum based bricks).



Steer clear of petroleum based fire-lighters when cooking over fire!


It goes without saying that you'll be leaving NOTHING behind when you pack up, but these simple swaps mean that even the 'rubbish' you do bring home won't end up in a landfill.


 

Solar power


While some like to leave their tech behind when they go camping, others leave home with more kit than Inspector Gadget, and both are fine! But, if you do take a plethora of devices on a trip, chances are they're going to need charging, which inevitably means finding an electrical hook-up.


Or does it? Portable chargers that last a few hours then become dead-weight are a thing of the past, and now even smaller power stations can keep your gear topped up for a week long trip without running dead, and with portable solar panels you can extend that life indefinitely!



Using solar power to work from the road with the EcoFlow Delta and 110W solar panels


Our go to for off grid power is the EcoFlow range, who's offerings start at the portable modestly priced River (a 288Wh, 600W battery pack, enough for shorter trips.) to the monster Delta (1260Wh, 1800W power station, enough to keep you topped up for potentially weeks). All their units are compatible with plenty of solar panels, but they also have their own ranging from 21W up to 160W, which can be daisy-chained to create larger arrays to charge up even the Delta in just a few hours!


We tend to charge ours (quickly, thanks to EcoFlow's 'X-Stream' charging tech, which I'm fairly sure is magic) up at home, using a 100% renewable electricity tariff of course, and top up as required from the solar cells when we're pitched up, or parked up and out for a hike or a surf.


Bye-bye overpriced campsite hook-ups, hello green, clean sun power!



 

Buy Local


Unless you're one of those 'super organised' types (I think I'm whatever the exact opposite of that is...) who's bought their entire trip's worth of food with them along with a structured meal plan, it's likely you're going to need to buy food or supplies at some point on your trip.


When you do, a great (and delicious!) way to keep your carbon footprint low, and help the local economy, is to avoid the supermarkets, and seek out local stores. Especially at more rural camping destinations you're bound to find great local butchers, green grocers, farm shops, or just boxes on driveways selling fresh eggs. Not only does local produce tend to be of higher quality and welfare standards, but by virtue of it not having been imported in a frozen container halfway round the world, it will have a much lower carbon footprint.



Food trucks at Bantham Beach selling delicious local burgers and ice-creams


For example, DEFRA estimates that transporting food goods is responsible for 25 per cent of all miles covered by freight traffic in the UK. Transporting food within, to and around the UK produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually – equivalent to around 5.5 million typical cars. That's an alarming statistic, but one that can be drastically reduced by buying local, and what better time to start than on your camping trip?



 

Choose Eco-Friendly Campsites


As sustainable holidays become more popular, inevitably more places work to cater to the growing demand, and in the last few years we've seen an explosion in the number of 'eco-friendly' campsites.


These often differ in their methods, but often include composting loos (reduced or even no water used), solar showers and water heaters, no electric hook ups (see below for our green solutions to this!), or using a part of the camping fee to steward biodiverse fields and forests on their land.



One of our fave eco-friendly campsites, Cuckoo Fen, has an entire solar powered shower block and washing station



The Greener Camping Club have a directory of more than 75 carefully vetted campsites around the UK which have met their strict standards of 'eco friendliness', and the list is growing by the year.


The added bonus of these sites is they tend to be in beautiful surroundings, quiet (no generators) and offer amazing views of the night sky, as they often forgo night-lighting to save energy. What's not to like?!

 

Carbon offset


So you've eliminated your garbage, relied only on solar power all holiday, bought local where ever possible, what's left?


Unless you're lucky enough to be driving a modern electric vehicle charged using renewables, your transportation will have still had a carbon footprint.


Luckily, carbon offsetting is here to help reduce or entirely negate the CO2 output of your journey. A range of options exist, but we opt for Ecologi, as they are a certified Gold Standard (1, 2, 3) company with a wide choice of levels of offsetting, through tree planting, investment in renewable projects around the world, or a mix of both.


LandyCampers operates as a 'climate positive' business



Calculating your CO2 impact can be relatively easy for single transportation modes (CO2 g/km measurement of your car multiplied by distance travelled in km will give you a pretty accurate figure), but for mixed transport it gets a little trickier. Handily, Ecologi deals in units of half-tonnes, one of which will more than likely cover most trips.


At LandyCampers we've pledged to double-offset each client's, and our own trips (and separately our entire business operations), meaning theoretically (as variables creep in, the maths gets a little hazy, so we lean towards upper limits) each journey is not just 'carbon neutral', but 'climate positive'! This essentially means that around twice as much CO2 is 'removed' (through a mix of direct carbon capture from tree planting, or removed from future production via renewable project investments) from the atmosphere than was released by the journey. We'd urge you to consider the same, as singularly our actions might be small, cumulatively they can make a real impact!


 

Hopefully we've shown you some simple but effective tips to keep the environmental impact of your next camping trip as low as possible. By enacting even just one of these tips you're showing you're doing your bit to help our environment.


Share your own tips in the comments!



N.B. This article contains some affiliate links that earn us a small amount if used for purchase. These do not cost you anything (some may make you savings!), but do help us continue!


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