We’re planning our second family camping trip this week. Our first adventure wasn’t as environmentally friendly as I would have liked, so I thought I’d share what I want to change plus some other green camping ideas I’ve come across.
- We brought along our 5 gal. water jug thinking that as the ice melted, we could drink the cool water and it would taste better than the water from the spigot at the campground. Well, it did such a good job keeping the ice cold that the ice didn’t melt. We ended up purchasing ice and 3-4 gallons of water from the campground, costing us money AND the darn plastic to deal with. The campground didn’t recycle (they’ll be getting a letter about that!) and we didn’t have enough room to pack out all of the recyclables. Solution: empty out our ice maker into the water jug and fill with filtered water from home. It adds more weight to the car, cutting down on gas mileage, but I think that will be negligible compared to the cost of water and ice, plus we won’t have to recycle water bottles or throw away the plastic bags from the ice.
- Instead of using regular ice in the cooler, which needed to be replaced daily (again $ and a non-reusable, non-recyclable plastic bag) use a combination of dry ice and regular ice. The dry ice will keep the regular ice frozen, and the regular ice will insulate the food from touching and being freezer burnt from the dry ice.
- Start bagging ice the week before the trip so that we have enough to fill the drink cooler and the food cooler at home. Depending on the length of the trip and whether or not we use dry ice, we may not have to purchase more.
- Instead of packing paper napkins and paper towels, pack cloth napkins and bar/kitchen towels. Both can be easily washed by hand and hung to dry. If we don’t totally replace the paper products, at least we’ll be using less.
- Save dryer sheets and lint to use as a fire starter. I need to do more research about the dryer sheets as I’m not sure if the chemicals on them are a problem or not. I read somewher to stuff the dryer lint into empty toilet paper rolls. They make great gifts for your camping friends!
- Use an empty liquid laundry detergent bottle for non-potable water storage. It has a neat spigot and is perfect for hand washing or other quick water needs. I marked it with a big “DO NOT DRINK”. I just might keep one in my trunk for those inevitable kiddo messes at the park.
We’re gonna have fun!