EarthSmart Camping

Get thee to the woods! Camping is about as close to nature as we can get these days. And choosing earth-friendly gear ensures that we won’t harm Mother Nature while we’re having our wilderness experience. Use this EarthSmart checklist so that your camping is low impact leaving only footprints and taking only memories!

Low Impact Camping Tips (gear provided by Midwest Mountaineering)

• Choose earth-friendly fabrics for camping clothing – Look for clothing made with organic cotton or hemp (grown without pesticides) by Patagonia. Or new fabrics like “meryl” or “modal” on the label made by Prana and Northface. These are stylish and fun camping duds.

• Use less toxic bug control – Mosquitoes, ticks and black flies are a fact of life when you’re camping in the summer. And with West Nile virus, Lime disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever on the rise, it’s worth taking serious precautions. Use barrier methods rather than toxic chemicals to keep bugs off. Mosquito netting, bug jackets and head nets work wonders. Or Buzz-Off treated clothes are particularly effective with mosquitoes. If it’s too hot for netting use botanicals like eucalyptus-based repellants to keep bugs from biting. If all else fails use repellant containing DEET and remember to wash your hands well before eating.

• Buy earth-friendly camping gear – There’s not much earth-friendly about a petroleum based synthetic tent. So buy a good quality name brand tent that will last you for years. This will ultimately save landfill space and the petroleum used manufacturing a new one. Purchase a LED headlamp for campsite cooking and cleaning up. It will last many times longer than a traditional flashlight battery. Choose organic and locally grown dried foods, nuts and fruits for cooking over the campfire.

• Travel by human powered transportation – Kayaking is not only a relaxing way to see a lake or river but a tremendously efficient way to travel -- no motors, no fuel and good exercise. Load your gear into watertight compartments and paddle your troubles away -- on to the next campsite.

Links and Product Resources - Camping gear, kayaks, canoes, outdoor clothing and shoes located in Minneapolis. - an environmentally committed manufacturer of camping clothes.