Throughout your camping trip, you should always try to adopt a mentality of ‘low impact’ camping. That means disturbing the natural environment as little as possible. Things you should never do include hammering nails into trees, hacking at living trees with axes or saws or damaging bark or any roots.
When leaving your campsite, you should always adopt a similar mentality of ‘leave no trace’.
Leave no trace
Environmental issues and recycling are always placed high up on the agenda in terms of how we’re disposing of our household rubbish these days and how it impacts upon the environment. We all ‘do our bit’ to one extent or another and it is equally, if not more, important we do the same when we’re out camping.
People tend to go camping to enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods, streams and fields and to simply get away from it all. So, when you’re leaving your campsite, try to keep your noise to a minimum. People might still be sleeping or simply enjoying the tranquillity so pack away your things with the minimum of noise and fuss.
Allow others who will be following you a sense of discovery. If you’ve moved rocks to use as makeshift chairs, for example, make sure you return them to where they belong. Never pull up plants or take away any kind of plants, foliage or archaeological artefacts. It may be illegal and you should let nature simply ‘be’ for others to marvel at when it’s their turn to visit.
If you’ve built a fire, eliminate any fire scars where possible and remove any evidence of fire after use. On that note, it’s important that you make sure your fire is fully extinguished the night before you leave. That way, it will be cold by the morning and you can safely gather up any ash remains and dispose of them safely.
Do not leave any tin cans or bottles lying around. Burn the inside out of tin cans so as not to attract animals and then squash them. Glass bottles and containers should be washed out to avoid attracting insects and then both these kinds of items should be disposed of in a bin or recycling bin. If there aren’t any available (if you’re camping off the beaten track, for example), you must carry them out with you until you can find a place to dispose of them properly. Food scraps should also be disposed of in much the same way, i.e. placed in a plastic bag, sealed tight, then put in a bin as they, too, can attract wild animals into a campsite. Paper or any kind of dry rubbish can be burned and then put into a bag and disposed of or simply carried out.
Never bury any rubbish because wild animals will simply come along and dig it up again. If you’ve any bowls that are full of dishwater, you can safely pour that over the land but make sure it’s away from sources of natural water and away from the camping area itself. It’s also a good idea to use reusable containers where possible instead of disposable ones as this lessens the impact upon the environment.
Basically, treat the outdoors with respect. It is, after all, the ‘home’ of many living creatures. Adopting the mindset of ‘low impact, leave no trace’ will ensure that you will have an enjoyable camping experience whilst also showing respect for the wildlife and natural environment around you.