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Eco-friendly Hiking – How to Pack for a Sustainable Trip

Eco-friendly Hiking - Happy Breath

Eco-friendly Hiking – – If you love hiking, you must be mindful of the carbon footprint you leave behind. Think about the impact your hiking will have on the environment. If you wish to sustain the beautiful planet that we live on, it is the small decisions that you make every day that make a change. One person makes a huge impact on the environment.

Your actions are not insignificant. If you are unaware of how you affect the environment, try saving your plastic waste for a month to visualize how much waste a single person produces.

One of the etiquettes of hiking is to leave no trace. In order to practice proper waste disposal and make your hiking environmentally friendly, you must be careful regarding what you pack for the trip. Some basic elements to consider when packing for an eco-friendly hiking trip are:

  • The packaging of the products
  • The ingredients used to make the products
  • The life of the product. How long will they last? Are they reusable?
  • The origin of the product. Is it organic? Locally made by small companies instead of big corporations?

Here is a quick guide on how to pack for a sustainable trip:

Reusable Products

Try to refrain from buying products that are designed for single use. This includes razors, wipes, plastic water bottles, disposable dishware and Tupperware, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, etc. Instead, invest in reusable products such as portable bamboo cutlery, reusable water bottles, steel straws, razors, and washable cotton wipes.

Go Organic

Shampoos, sunscreen, and other hygiene products are made of toxic chemicals which harm the environment, especially marine life. Invest in organic products so that when you shower or care for your body on the go, you are not harming the ecosphere. There are numerous options available now since awareness is growing and people are opting for eco-friendly choices when buying products.

Biodegradable products

Be conscious of the packaging of the products that you buy. Go for solid toiletries such as bars of soaps and shampoos which are packed in paper instead of plastic bottles. Even toothpaste and perfume are available in bar form. Solid toiletries have multiple benefits.  They not only save space in luggage but are lighter to carry. Reusable silicone bottles are also a sustainable option if you are uncomfortable using bars. Opt for mesh drawstring bags or cloth bags for storage purposes.

Buy Eco-Friendly Hiking Gear

Various companies have different missions and initiatives. Investigate mission of the company that you buy from to learn if they use biodegradable products or recycled materials. Search for any certifications that they may have which verify their level of sustainability. You can tell a lot by the way the company packs their products as well. Do they use excessive packing with tons of plastic? If so, the company is probably not that keen on keeping their gear eco-friendly.

Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products for Menstruation

Periods are quite environmentally unfriendly. If your hiking trip is going to be long and you might need to change your pad or tampon, it is wise to buy menstrual cups especially if you will have access to restrooms. Reusable cotton pads are also an eco-friendly choice for hygiene products. Even when you’re not hiking, why not reduce the waste you produce by shifting to cups and reusable cloth pads?

Keep Waste bags

You are sure to produce some waste as you hike, keep waste bags to dispose of any waste that you may produce unless it’s biodegradable and compostable like fruit peels. Don’t leave behind any waste as you hike. Check your surroundings before you leave a stop after taking a break or camping for a while. Make sure that there is no trace of you ever being there. You can even pick trash left by other people that you find on your hike to go that extra mile and do Mother Nature a solid.

Other Things You Can Do

Besides packing wisely, here are some other tips for sustainable hiking:

  • It is great that you care about the environment and wish to hike sustainably, but be sure that you communicate the principles of sustainable hiking with other people you hike with and raise awareness regarding eco-friendly hiking.
  • Make sure you bring home everything you take along for your trip. This does not only include plastic waste but also other traces of your existence. If you smoke, bring home your cigarette butts.
  • Stick to the hiking trails and designated paths instead of wandering away. You are likely to disturb wildlife if you walk on areas that are not marked by trails. You may damage any plant life that you step on. Be very gentle with the environment.
  • Be careful if you light a fire, fires can get out of control in grasslands or woods. Ensure that you have extinguished the fire completely before you leave your camping site. The incidents of wildfires have increased alarmingly in the past few years; do not add to this environmental hazard.
  • Respect the wildlife and observe it from a safe distance. Animals or plants that you encounter may get disturbed by human presence.
  • When hiking, travel in small groups of no more than 8-10 people so that it is easier to stay sustainable. The larger the group, the more difficult it will be to be environmentally friendly.
  • Carry a small, portable shovel to dig holes and deposit solid human waste.
  • Do not disturb the fauna and flora by picking flowers, pebbles, cultural artifacts, or other treasures you find. Preserve the environment and heritage of the Earth.

You don’t have to practice every single thing listed here on your very first camping trip. It is difficult to lead an environmentally friendly life in this capitalistic world where most products are not made with consideration to our environment. Just do your best and try to do better every single time.

Enjoy guilt-free hiking!