Going hiking or camping is a magical experience, the beautiful and natural surroundings can enchant you and make you feel like you are in a whole other world.
Those who are already outdoor enthusiasts will know however, that to keep the countryside and all our natural surroundings as beautiful and charming as they have been for decades, it is important to clean up after ourselves and minimize the effect our presence has.
A set of trail ethics known as “Leave No Trace” aims to promote and encourage outdoor conservation, while helping to educate people in how to be as green and eco-friendly as possible when out hiking or camping.
Before you next go on an outdoor adventure, check out these great tips on easy ways to be eco-friendly and green:
Stick to the Path
This might seem like common sense, but often people go hiking or walking to socialise and so may end up walking two or three abreast in order to hear each other talking. The problem with this is that many paths and trails are only designed for one or two people to walk along.
By deviating from the path, your feet will cause erosion to the ground that is not used to being walked upon which will damage the environment. Try and stay in single file and if you see other footprints from someone who has recently strayed from the path, then be sure to avoid that area to give it a chance to grow back.
Most public campsites already have campfire regulations in place, so make sure to read these before you start building a fire. If there is not already a stone ring, then create one for yourself with a few stones, this will prevent the fire from spreading.
When you collect wood to use in your fire it is important to stick to the 3 Ds rule – only collect sticks that are: Dead, Detached and Downed. Always ensure there is someone attending to your fire at all times and put it out before you go to sleep.
Rubbish and waste is a huge problem in the countryside and outdoor areas, because people often take lots of food and drink with them and then just discard the wrappers and bottles when they are done. Make sure to put all rubbish into your backpack to take home with you.
Plastic and other types of waste material can be dangerous to animals if they eat them and if the rubbish has holes in it, animals can easily get their limbs stuck proving to be fatal if they cannot move. If you see someone else has dropped their rubbish, then be kind and pick it up and dispose of it wisely.
The process of pitching a tent can cause quite a lot of damage to the ground around and under the tent, so if possible find an existing campsite so you don’t cause any more harm than necessary.
You can also buy green tents such as the eco-friendly tent from Green Outdoor, which is made from recycled polyester and other natural fabrics like hemp and bamboo. There are also quite a good range of eco-friendly sleeping bags available, just be sure to check the materials that the sleeping bag is made of before buying.
Protect the Water
When it comes to water in the wild, hikers and campers are often more concerned about finding enough to drink and to use for washing up with etc., but little thought is given to the potential pollution of natural water sources.
When you are choosing a campsite, ensure it is at least 200m away from any rivers or streams, so should it rain any waste you leave out won’t be washing into the water. Wash your plates and dishes with collected water as far away as possible from the water source, to prevent toxic soaps and detergents polluting the water that animals will drink out of.
Camping and hiking allows you to explore some of the most beautiful areas in the whole country. It is a perfect way to relax and unwind while taking in the enchanting wilderness and nature around you. Keeping the environment clean is easy and it is important to do everything you can to preserve our natural surroundings and the wildlife that live in them.