Crave Magazine

Leave No Trace Camping

Leave No Trace Camping

Three Easy Steps to Leaving a Campsite Just As You Found It

Campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike are picking up on a movement that builds on the old adage ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’.

Leave No Trace was founded on the principle of making as little negative impact as possible on wilderness sights to combat the adverse effects humans have made on the environment.  

Andy Halliday, owner of The Expert Camper, provides insights on three easy steps to make your next outdoor adventure as sustainable as possible. 

Campfire Smarts

A campfire is a classic part of the camping experience. But it can also be one of the most harmful to the surrounding environment if not done properly. First and foremost, utilise existing fire rings whenever possible. These fire rings are typically established in designated camping areas and have been carefully positioned to minimise the impact on surrounding vegetation and soil. By confining your fires to these established rings, you help prevent the creation of additional scars on the landscape and maintain the natural integrity of the area.

In situations where existing fire rings are not available or when fire danger is high, opting for a portable cooking stove is an excellent alternative. Modern camping stoves offer a convenient and efficient way to prepare meals without the need for open flames. 

‘If you’re cold at night in an area that doesn’t allow open fires, use a camping stove to fill water bottles with hot water to put in your sleeping bag,’ advises Andy. 

Furthermore, when using a portable stove, it’s essential to follow Leave No Trace principles by practising proper stove use and maintenance. This includes using a stove on durable surfaces such as rock or compacted soil, keeping a safe distance from flammable materials, and ensuring that all cooking residue and food scraps are properly disposed of to prevent attracting wildlife.

Don’t Do It For The ‘Gram – Stay on Trails

Staying on designated trails is not just a guideline; it’s a crucial part of practising Leave No Trace principles. While it might be tempting to stray off the path for that perfect photo opportunity, the impact of our footsteps extends far beyond the surface. 

‘Every inch of off-trail terrain teams with life, from intricate plant ecosystems to bustling communities of insects, fungi, and microorganisms,’ says Andy. ‘These delicate systems are finely balanced, and a single misstep can disrupt them irreparably’.

By sticking to designated trails and durable surfaces, you’ll minimise the environmental footprint and protect these fragile habitats. This applies to designated camping sites as well. These sites are carefully chosen to minimise disturbance to the ecosystem while providing a safe and comfortable experience for campers. 

Pick Up After Strangers

While Leave No Trace is based on the principle of leaving a wilderness area as is, you can actually make an effort to better the sites you travel to. 

‘I always bring a trash bag with me on camping and hiking trips, not just to properly dispose of my own waste, but to go the extra mile and collect any litter I encounter along the way,’ says Andy.

Imagine each discarded wrapper or forgotten bottle as a potential eyesore tarnishing the natural beauty of the wilderness. By proactively gathering these items, you not only prevent them from further polluting the environment but also set a positive example for others to follow.

Practising campfire safety, staying on designated trails, and picking up litter not only preserves the natural beauty of our wilderness areas but also ensures that future generations can enjoy these outdoor spaces for years to come. Andy says, ‘By following these simple steps, we can all play a part in protecting and respecting our environment while enjoying the great outdoors.’

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