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Go Green Camping Guide
Summer’s not quite over yet and camping fever is lingering persistently in the air. There’s still time to bid a brief farewell to concrete and cubes and hit the dirt trail running (or panting and stumbling). Since there’s no better place than the woods to practice that wise adage of taking only photos and leaving only footprints — here’s a shortlist of tips that will help you achieve it.
Only pack items with multiple uses
That spare thermal shirt you wear as jammies will double nicely as a bath towel. A one-liter sized stainless steel mug with a lid can be used for every culinary purpose, from boiling beans to sipping hot cocoa. Since bandanas can be utilized in so many emergency ways, from extra straps and cords to hankies and head warmers, you can justify bringing two.
Avoid the plastic water bottle glut by purifying your own water in situ.
While the most failsafe method could well be using a hand-pump water filter, the expense of one is hard to justify to such an occasional camper as myself. Other methods such as boiling the water or using iodine also have their drawbacks as long-term solutions but are both appropriate for a weekend jaunt. Once you’ve purified your water, use a reusable, collapsible water jug or bag to store it in.
Pack it in, pack it out
Sounds simple enough until the reality of packing out a sack full of crusty chili cans and sticky single-serve soup packets hits home. Packing in bulk grains, dried fruits, and sturdy root vegetables instead of pre-packaged Pad Thai and freeze-dried ice cream might seem curiously anachronistic at first, but the end of the trip cleanup will be much easier on the load-out and the conscience afterwards. For this same reason you should also avoid using disposable dishes or utensils no matter how tempting it is to forgo the washing up. You should still bring extra garbage bags just in case (remember — they can double as ground covers and rain ponchos!).
Happy trails! Spare a Kumbaya for me.