Trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible while relaxing outdoors can often feel like an overwhelming task. There is a lot to consider when looking at your environmental footprint. Starting small – like changing the way you approach cooking at camp – is a much more manageable step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to get greener on your next night around the campfire.
Think of refillable fuel options
In 2019, Ryan Wichelns stated that the ubiquitous green one-pound propane bottles we all use for storage ovens are incredibly difficult to recycle. So if you’re using a gas-powered stove, ditch the single-use cans that power them in favor of refillable propane options. Finally, we use large reusable propane tanks to heat our garden grills. So why not our car camping stoves? In the video above, Bryan Rogala also outlined his favorite options, like the Ignik Gas Growler Deluxe ($ 150) and the Flame King refillable cylinder and refill kit ($ 45).
Change your kitchen ware game
(Photo: Sarah Jackson)
Instead of packing paper plates and disposable utensils, bring the kitchenware that you normally use at home. Though our Gear Guy, Joe Jackson, suggests leaving the fancier items in the closet, “Nice cookware tends to be thrown away when cleaned with a headlight by a beer-loving campervan,” he wrote. “Bring the old pots, pans and utensils that you would like to take back from your kitchen or get some of a thrift store. “In Amelia Arvsen’s Guide to Making a List of Storage Kitchen Equipment, she agreed, adding that plastic dishes were cheaper, lighter, and more durable. To keep things cold, she pointed to Igloo’s new compostable Recool model (10 US Dollars) – a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to a conventional plastic cooler.
On the flip side, it’s also good to consider storage options for food that could be used for everyday chores. Jackson called this sillicone sandwich bag from Stasher ($ 12) his favorite 2019 gear. He likes it not only for snacks and lunches but also for backpacking trips: “The bag’s high heat tolerance and lack of creepy chemicals mean that I can pour them. I boil water straight in from my jetboil to rehydrate meals at camp, ”he wrote.
Save and reuse water
(Photo: Josef Ariel / Unsplash)
In general, you will need a good amount of water for cooking and cleaning the camp, especially with a large group. In most cases, perfectly reusable water is drained – and usually not in the right places, which could violate the no-trace principle. When washing your dishes, use a makeshift or portable sink (as recommended by columnist Jakob Schiller) to catch water so that it can be reused for other washes. This water could also be converted into another meal. In 2017, Jackson sketched ways to keep your warehouse kitchen clean and spoke to Marco Johnson, the chief of staff for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander, Wyoming. Johnson recommended turning dish water (without soap) into a soup by bringing it to a boil once it is scrubbed clean. “Just make sure you put the water in a bowl before adding the soup as you don’t want to mess the pot again,” wrote Jackson.
Main photo: Chris Bennett / Cavan