We live by the ethos of “leave no trace” camping and try to make responsible decisions about where and how we camp in the van. It’s all pretty much common sense, but in essence, when you leave, the campsite should look exactly like it did when you arrived! (Or cleaner!) We try not to waste resources and are mindful of the things we do and use.
Obviously the elephant in the room is the carbon footprint of the campervan itself, but we try to counteract and minimise our impact as much as we can. Here are some tips on responsible camping that we use as much as possible:
Work out where you are going. Use less fuel by staying in one place for longer, travel slower.
Before leaving, repackage food and consumables to minimise potential waste when you are away.
Think reusable, not disposable, and prepare the van: have a stash of linen bags in the campervan for shopping, reusable containers for leftovers to reduce food waste, take reusable bottles for water rather than buying bottled water.
Take bikes so you can explore or go food shopping using pedal power rather than petrol.
Stick to existing trails and campsites. When you are done, leave the site in the same condition as you found it, or better. Pick up any rubbish, micro-plastics or food waste, whether it was there before you arrived or not. It should look as if you were never there!
Get organised with your rubbish from the outset, have something to put your rubbish in and something for your recycling. Dispose of waste properly, or take it home with you. Likewise with the recycling, if the campsite does not have a recycling station, take all recyclables home with you.
Some campsites allow campfires – follow their regulations. Keep it to a safe size. Use only wood you’ve bought, in most places you shouldn’t gather firewood or throw your rubbish in the fire. Make sure it is totally out before you go to bed or leave; we drench our fires with water to put them out. If it’s windy, don’t build a fire.
Respect what you find, leave what you find
Leave rocks, plants, shells and other natural objects as you find them. Keep your distance from any animals you might come across. Don’t follow, approach, feed or take selfies with them! Store away food and rubbish so you don’t get any night time (or other time) raiders.
Buy local – head to local markets and small shops rather than the big supermarkets. This way you are supporting independent businesses, but also probably using a lot less packaging waste, fewer food miles.
Use naturally based cleaning products made with non-toxic, biodegradable ingredients so as not to negatively impact the environment.
Of course, the eco-conscious and ethical lifestyle is one we should consider wherever we are… but in particular whilst we are enjoying the great outdoors, its fabulous scenery and natural beauty spots, let’s do our very best to keep it that way – embrace the eco-vanlife and promote sustainable, low impact tourism.