Intrepid adventures in nature require an eco-conscious mindset. So here’s your new favourite wild camping survival kit with the key essentials you’ll want to take with you on your getaway!
Have you ever thought of planning a wild camping trip? If you have, it’s because you love nature. As we already shared on our beginner’s guide of top tips to going wild camping for eco-warriors, spending time in the outdoors is already a good reason why you should consider purchasing from brands that are taking environmental responsibility and more eco-conscious practices towards our planet.
Therefore, and to make camping a bit more mindful of that very nature you wish to enjoy, this ultimate guide with a sustainable wild camping survival kit should be very helpful for you to find items that carry certifications or labels that ensure eco-friendlier practices.
For sure, if camping requires planning, wild camping requires taking that mindset to the next level: here adventure and survival skills are the key elements in this type of intrepid excursion.
Before we get started with this general list of several sustainable wild camping essentials, we’d highly encourage you to check whether second-hand is an option. Extending the lifecycle of a piece of garment saves you about 30% of your carbon footprint. We also love second-hand because it helps you to stick with a lower budget.
If you don’t find what you are looking for as a second-hand option, then consider eco-friendlier brands to make your wild camping trip as sustainable as possible!
1. Rucksacks & liners
For wild camping, you’ll want to pack as light as you can, therefore the ideal size of a rucksack is a capacity of 40 – 60 litres. Of course, this is always a very personal choice, as it’ll ultimately depend on the length of your trip, which season or country you travel, and also on how minimalist you’ve trained to become in your travels.
In our research, we’ve found a few sustainable rucksack brands which either use recycled materials, plastic-free or carry certifications such as Bluesign, B Corp or Fair Wear. (Almost) no brand is perfect, therefore we’ll provide you with a list of rucksack brands and mention some of their ethical and environmental values:
REI Co-op Backpack
Ethical & Environmental values: Bluesign certified, Recycled ripstop material.
Ethical & Environmental values: Bluesign certified, recycled materials.
Cotopaxi Luzon Backpack
Ethical & Environmental values: B Corp certified, 100% repurposed fabric, fair trade standards.
Ethical & Environmental values: recycled materials, PFC-free, Bluesign certified, Gruner Knopf certified.
Ethical & Environmental values: PFC-free, recycled materials, Fair Wear certified.
Ethical & Environmental values: PFC-free, Bluesign certified.
Deuter Guide Lite
Ethical & Environmental values: PFC-free, Fair Wear certified.
Mammut Trion Nordwand
Ethical & Environmental values: PFC-free, Fair Wear certified.
Klattermusen Bure Backpack
Ethical & Environmental values: sustainable materials, fluorocarbon-free.
Ethical & Environmental values: PFC-free, recycled materials.
Ethical & Environmental values: recycled materials.
If it’s in your budget, we’d recommend you to check out a rucksack liner as your purchase your favourite sustainable brand above. Liners are very helpful in case it rains, as it helps you to keep your travel items protected and dry at all times.
A shelter is always a biggie when it comes to going on a wild camping trip. AS much as you want to stay in touch with nature, sleeping undercover will protect you from wild animals, bugs and mosquitoes, and exposed weather conditions.
Some brands with more sustainable tents for your trip are:
The North Face
Ethical & Environmental values: recycled materials, closed loop program of unwanted items, give back to charity Soles4Souls.
Ethical & Environmental values: PVC-free products, climate-neutral through the use of solar energy, LED lighting and carbon offset initiatives, and Fair Wear certified.
Ethical & Environmental values: partners up with (Leave No Trace, National Forest Foundation, Outdoor Afro).
3. Sleeping Bag
Having some extra layers when sleeping is a must to avoid hypothermia if you’re caught under an extreme weather condition. Even if you go to a place where with good temperatures during the day, most likely it will get chilly at night.
Again, companies such as Vaude, The North Face and Big Agnes are good sustainable brands to look at for their sleeping bag range. A hint is to look for spacious and lightweight items whenever possible!
If you don’t want to carry a tent and just stick with a sleeping bag, then a bivvy bag is a great option; the B Corp brand Alpkit brings you a more sustainable alternative that weighs only 400 grams. What could be better than sleeping out in the open making wishes on shooting stars, breathing in that crisp, fresh air and waking up to a beautiful sunrise, The Hunka bivvy bag converts your sleeping bag into a shelter for the evening.
Top tips to go wild camping for beginners & eco-warriors [Ultimate Guide]
4. First Aid Kit
When going wild camping you definitely will want to check out a first aid kit. As we could not find a sustainable brand that creates first aid kits, we recommend you to do your own with some of the first aid basics you may already have from your medicine cabinet at home. So grab an old or unused box and fill it in with your first aid individual items like the following:
- Wound cleaning agent: antiseptic wipes for minor injuries; also a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
- Band-aids, better if waterproof.
- Butterfly closures will be very helpful for deeper cuts to keep the edges of your skin together. Then use some gauze and pressure to control bleeding while you seek medical care.
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection of your wounds.
- Nitrile gloves to prevent coming in contact with someone else’s blood or other body fluids.
- Gauze for bleeding control
- Bandages to cover up and protect any wounds while they heal
- Triangular bandages to temporary treat fractures
- Burn treatment salves, which is a common type of injury you may encounter
- Research for tools to treat burns, sprains, blisters, cuts, and fractures
- Add some common medications to deal with pain, an upset stomach, and any other recurring medicine you may already be using.
5. Power Bank
For sure you will take your electronic devices such as cameras or phones, which can be especially useful and a survival tool itself using GPS apps. Because the lack of electricity points will be a big deal when wild camping, you will definitely need a power bank.
Electronic devices are not a sustainable item per se, so again, if you can try to find a second hand one or get a good quality power bank that will last for many years to come. The only sustainable and social-conscious brand we’ve come across is BioLite and they have a power bank section, as well as other top products that will make your life of the grid so much easier!
Taking sustainability one step further, if your power bank (or any electronic device, really!) does no longer serve you, please ensure disposing of it at a proper e-waste program.
6. Water Bottle & Purifier
Water bottles are probably one of the top and must-have items you’ll want to take with you when on any camping trip. Even better if you can carry a versatile water bottle that keeps drinks cold or warm.
Our absolute favourite brand of water bottles that are “made for survival” is the brand LifeStraw. This straw can be taken out of the bottle at any time when you see a wild source of water, for you to drink from it safely. Its technology is based on a hollow fibre membrane filter with very tiny pores, preventING contaminants from getting through the filter. Some products also have carbon filters, which absorb contaminants that dissolve in water, like chemicals and lead.
Other recommendations are this water bottle range of Biome, Thermos, OkoH2O, Jerry Bottle, just to name a few!
This water filter straw is redefining the safe drinking water space through technology
7. Cooking Stove & Cookware
When wild camping you still need to have breakfast, lunches, and dinner. And believe us, you’ll be pretty hungry after all the activities in nature, which makes a cooking stove and some basic cookware another basic item to carry in your busy backpack!
For the cookware, you may want to repurpose some of what you already have at home (make sure it’s as light as possible). As always, we highly recommend you to check the whole set out in a second hand (online) shop.
If your only option is to buy brand new, then our absolute favourite is a BioLite so make sure you check their stoves section as they are an award-winning brand specialising in products that cook, charge, and light your life off-the-grid. In 2020, BioLite crossed the million lives milestone, bringing safe and reliable energy to over 1.4 million individuals in 23 countries across Africa and Asia, supporting people to live safer and have brighter lives.
8. Cleaning Sponge
Sponges are as necessary as washing your daily food items, essential to avoid food contamination and enjoy your meals even while wild camping.
The most eco-friendly cleaning sponge we’ve found are coconut-based scrub pads like Safix and any of the range of Biome’s eco-kitchen cleaning items!
Going to the toilet is another essential part of your everyday life, whether at home or camping. Then we recommend you find a pocket trowel so that you leave no trace. Make sure it’s lightweight and with a comfortable handle (hint: find a hallowed handle trowel so that you can store tissues or sanitiser!)
Your life in the wild continues even when the sun goes down, therefore once it gets dark, you’ll definitely need a form of light. Again, the best option we could find as this brand acts both like a social + eco enterprise is BioLite. If you haven’t yet, check their endless range of lighting options, including headlamps, solar lighting, USB lanterns and string lights.
Another kick-ass brand, that’s eco-friendly and useful is the Origin headlamp by Eukarya which is made from lightweight aluminium and renewable woods. The Origin 2 Aviator headlamp is designed with machined aluminium, cherry wood, and high strength tempered glass. The proprietary optical design achieves powerful and evenly distributed illumination. Eukarya’s latest generation of headlamps features USB-C charging, water-resistance and a dedicated battery indicator LED and improved battery management.
11. Repair Kit
To avoid silly mistakes, we most definitely recommend you a repair kit, especially something happens to your tent, but it will also be useful for your sleeping bag or clothing items. In this case, making your own is the most sustainable alternative, so keep in mind to include some duct tape, glue, cords, and a sewing kit at the very least.
Sustainable outdoors clothing for comfort, function and durability
12. Map & Compass
There are a million things that can happen while wild camping, so relying on a phone, battery and good connection all together is too much asking for the stars to align at all times. So, top survival tip: do NOT rely on your phone for navigation, even if you’ve got a power bank. Keep a map of the area and a compass on you at all times!