Are you excited for camping season? The weather is warming up which means it’s time to pull out the tents and start planning out camping trips this summer! As we all begin to plan, I think it’s important to consider ways that we can lower our impact on the environment while we are out enjoying the beauty that the Earth has to offer. I’ve compiled a few zero waste camping ideas to get started!

Zero Waste Camping Ideas

1. Fire Starter

campfire with mountains in background Camping just isn’t complete without a warm fire! If you’re heading out camping, chances are that firestarter may be one of your usual camping purchases.    Did you know that there are a ton of ways to make your own fire starter at home? Not only is DIY firestarter a great eco-friendly option, but it is also super cost effective!   Here’s an idea for an effective DIY fire starter:    Cardboard egg cartons + laundry lint and sawdust + broken crayons   
  1. Grab a cardboard egg carton and fill each egg cup with laundry lint and saw dust! (halfway for sawdust and good amount of laundry lint on top)
  2. Boil water in a saucepan 
  3. Add crayons to a metal can and place in boiling water to melt
  4. Once melted, pour wax into each egg cup
  5. Let cool and then divide the carton into individual cups

2. Cooking

cooking on campfire Convenience is one of the biggest contributors to waste created while camping. Backpacking and camping meals are great options for meals, but unfortunately these convenience items cause a ton of waste! Making your own meals will certainly create the least amount of food waste and will be the most nutritious option.    If you’re looking to make your own meals, dehydrating your food is a perfect way to go! A tip I can give you is to consider making an extra amount of your weekly meals so that you can dehydrate them for your upcoming camping trips! If you do this a couple times a week, you’ll have a ton of food supply for your summer adventures!   If you’re new to dehydrating, I’ve created a resource for you to learn the ins and outs of dehydrating your own food!   Additionally, I’ve experimented with a few brands now and Excalibur dehydrators have been the most effective! This is the best dehydrator here    If you don’t want to dehydrate your own food, there are some awesome camping meal ideas that only require a cooler and a camping stove!  
Food Storage
  Consider storing your food in reusable freezer bags and/or reusable meal prep containers. Additionally, reusable cutlery is an absolute must! I love using a long titanium spork as my camping utensil!   
Bowls + Cups 
Collapsible bowls and coffee cups are the way to go when camping. These items are easy to clean, non-breakable, and extremely durable! Once you have a set of collapsible camping bowls and mugs, you’ll have them for a lifetime! If you’re shopping for one, I like this camping bowl and mug duo to get started.  

3. Water

  Never use plastic water bottles again! Depending on how long you are camping for/ if your campsite has access to clean water, you may want to invest in a water container. A 5 gallon container is usually the way to go to ensure that you have ample supply for your camping trip!  
Water Bottles 
  A reusable water bottle, such as a Hydro Flask, will keep your water chilled all day! camping on the east coast trail in newfoundland

4. Toiletries

Let’s face it, no one likes to be smelly when camping for days on end. We can say all we want that we are going to go “au natural” but honestly, it’s just a better time when you’re clean! If you decide to pack toiletries, there are definitely some great zero waste options! Have you ever tried a shampoo bar? A shampoo bar doesn’t use any packaging and you can find them in several stores. I like to get my shampoo bars from Lush as they are all natural and vegan!   If you are already equipped with shampoo at home, don’t run out and buy wasteful travel sized shampoo bottles. Instead, invest in some reusable containers. I love reusable containers travel because they last forever and you can easily fill them with your favourite products.  

5. Feminine Hygiene

Toilet paper is insanely wasteful but it’s necessary to dry the bits when you’re out camping. If you haven’t used a pee cloth before, this pee cloth from Kula Cloth will certainly do the trick! The pee cloth is made with antimicrobial materials and dries extremely quickly when hung up.   Your time of the month shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your camping trip! Carrying around pesky tampons and pads can be and absolute drag and is just downright annoying. Invest in a menstrual cup instead! The  Diva Cup is a phenomenal menstrual cup that can last up to 12 hours. With proper handle and care, your menstrual cup can last years!  

6. Invest in secondhand gear 

  Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been at it for a while, investing in second hand camping gear is a great way to subsidize costs and lower your waste impact!   Think about it, not only will buying second hand gear save you from unnecessary packaging, it also prevents quality items from ending up in a landfill.    There’s seriously nothing wrong with buying a secondhand tent, stove, or camping clothing! Be sure to inspect the items before purchasing to make sure they are in tact! If you’re interested in purchasing secondhand gear, follow my friends @alpinerewind on Instagram. Alpine Rewind will be launching their secondhand outdoor gear store soon and I can hardly wait! Additionally, Facebook Marketplace is a fantastic place to support your local community and continue to reduce your footprint. What are some of your favourite zero waste camping ideas? Let me know in the comments!   Happy exploring!