Eco-friendly camping may sound obvious, but cleaning up our carbon footprint takes more than escaping the hustling city for some quiet bird-watching or campground fun. With these tips, your next camping adventure will be as green as the grass between your feet. Using sleeping bags made out of recycled water bottles to DIY snacks on the go, an eco-friendly camping trip doesn't have to be so hard.

1. Recycled Sleeping Bags

Every camper knows that a good sleeping bag can make or break a camping experience and reusing old gear or renting gear is one simple alternative by not contributing to over-consumption. Companies like REI provide rentals and used gear. If that's not a possibility, just as unique and viable are sleeping bags that are made entirely from recycled materials. Marmot's bags are made out of old plastic soda bottles and post-consumer waste. North Face also offers bags made from factory yarn waste, garment fabrics, and recycled water bottles, all while keeping you insulated in 15 degree weather. 

Christine Huh

2. Chocolate Espresso Almond Energy Bites

Planning ahead involves DIY snacks that fit right into your leave-no-Trace principles. Snacking and reducing your carbon footprint can now be a fun combination. 

These chocolate espresso almond energy bites, a recipe borrowed from TheBeachHouseKitchen, provide energy to tackle on the toughest of trails. Making these snacks at home saves money and replaces pre-packaged snacks that would otherwise add to plastic waste.  

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Servings: 20 bites, 105 kcal 

Ingredients: (as provided by MaryAnn Dwyer, TheBeachHouseKitchen)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp. espresso powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 

2 oz. dark chocolate finely chopped 

Instructions: (as provided by MaryAnn Dwyer, TheBeachHouseKitchen)

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Place oats in food processor and pulse 4-5 times until oats resemble coarse meal. 

3. In a large bowl, combine oats, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut, espresso powder, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Add the dark chocolate. 

4. Roll into tablespoon size balls and place on prepared sheet. Place tray in refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes to one hour. 

Oatmeal Energy Bites  with Chocolate Chips

wuestenigel on Flickr

3. Reusable Water Bottles

This tip is simple but the easiest to forget. Plastic water bottles are convenient and easy to buy in bulk at our favorite Costco, but investing in a good water tank or reusable bottle can be used daily and optimal to take trekking.  

Hand holding bottle photo by averie woodard (@averieclaire) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

4. Say "No" to Littering, Fire Pits, and Picking

The most important part of an eco-friendly camping trip is not disturbing wildlife. We come as visitors and should leave just the same. Be mindful of your actions by picking up any trash you produce, which can also be kept to a minimum by packing recycling and trash bags for waste disposal. Picking plants and berries disturbs vegetation and habitats of the existing animals. We can minimize our campfire impact by building a fire within an existing fire ring and burning any used wood completely to ash. 

5. Biodegradable Soap 

Eco-friendly soaps are not toxic to the environment and leave you smelling just as good as your traditional soaps and body washes. The rule of thumb is to wash dishes at least 200 feet away from any water source. Sierra Dawn Campsuds, made with lavendar and peppermint oil is versatile; it can be used as soap and an insect repellent. On the other hand, Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash can be used on pots, pans, clothes, gear and yourself. Talk about an all-in-one!

Diaper, soap, diy and homemade HD photo by Heather Ford (@the_modern_life_mrs) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

The next time you go camping, you can end your peaceful night under the stars knowing that you are slowly but surely contributing to a greener earth for us all.