The Family Home Blog

Eco-Friendly Tips for Fall Camping

Sep 07, 2016
Diane Hoffmaster

The days may still be hot, but summer is quickly coming to a close. As we move into September, the days will get cooler and the leaves will start to change colors. Fall is a wonderful time of year to consider heading out into the woods with your family for a weekend of camping.  Cooler nights make sitting around a campfire a lot of fun and waking up in a warm sleeping bag on a chilly morning is a wonderful memory to give your kids. However, camping does require a bit of preparation and planning in order to be truly enjoyable. No one wants to get out into the woods only to realize they forgot a few important items! There are a number of ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint while camping. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Camping

Stay on the trail: When you go out hiking, it is important that you stay on marked trails.  Heading off on your own into unmarked areas causes native plants to be trampled and may lead to increased soil erosion.

Only take pictures and be respectful of your campsite: You should not be picking flowers, breaking tree branches or leaving trash behind. The only things you should leave behind are footprints!

Buy second-hand gear: Buying used camping gear can save you a lot of money, especially if you are new to camping and not sure if it’s something your family will really enjoy. Check online for people selling camping gear in your area or check your local thrift stores. There are also a few specialty second hand sports stores which may be able to help.  

Unplug for the weekend: One of the biggest benefits of heading into the woods is unplugging from your daily life for a few days. If you drag your laptop and your cell phone with you, chances are you really aren't getting the full benefit of a weekend in the woods. Keep a cell phone for emergencies only but other than that, leave the electronics at home.

Choose a local campground: Cut down on travel and emissions by choosing a local state park or campground for your camping experience. Search for a national park near your home that allows camping. 

Don't bring your own firewood: While bringing firewood from home might save you some money, you increase the spread of disease and pests at your camping destination. Cut down on the risk by purchasing fire wood once you get to your destination.

Build a safe campfire: Forest fires are a huge ecological concern. Do your part to make sure that your campfire is safe by building fires only in approved fire rings and making sure to clear debris away from the outer area of the ring. Be aware of any fire bans that may be in effect in your area. Put the fire out and pour water over it before heading to bed or leaving your campsite.

Do you have any other tips for a green camping trip?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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