This quick-ass list will get you to your outdoors trip with the confidence to bring your essentials, without contributing to environmental damage while supporting social + eco enterprises that bring you the best and most sustainable camping gear.
Camping is one of the favourite ways of local travel for many, whether you prefer hiking camping, wild camping, beach camping or organized camping. There’s no better way to reconnect with nature and detox from technology and urban life. However, packing for camping is not an easy task, especially if you want to be eco-conscious. This is why we bring you this curated list of sustainable camping gear packed with good brands to get you sorted.
1. Eco-friendly tent
Unless you have a camper or want to try hammock sleeping, you will need a good tent. But finding a sustainable model is not so easy—you need to do some research before you decide to make a purchase. There are sustainable tents for casual campers, but also those for pro campers that often find themselves in tricky situations. These special models even collect rainwater and store solar energy!
You also need a good sleeping mat. Foam mats are durable, but bulky to pack and hard to transport when hiking. On the other hand, inflatable models are more compact and more comfortable. And there are even sustainable kids that self inflate.
Some brands with more sustainable tents for your trip are:
- The North Face: recycled materials, a closed-loop program of unwanted items, give back to charity Soles4Souls.
- Vaude: PVC-free products, climate-neutral through the use of solar energy, LED lighting and carbon offset initiatives, and Fair Wear certified.
- Big Agnes: partners up with (Leave No Trace, National Forest Foundation, Outdoor Afro).
2. Durable cooking equipment
For camping cooking equipment 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. This CampStove Complete Cook Kit and FirePit Cook Accessory Set will get you sorted in all your cooking endeavours while camping!
If you want to get cooking equipment from any other brand, make sure to invest in things that last for generations (this is key to be a responsible consumer or traveller). These stainless steel cook sets for camping are great investments when it comes to both practicality and the environment; thanks to the durability of the material these sets have indestructible pots, frying pans with folding handles and stainless steel mugs. They can be used for food prep over open fire and gas, plus they are thermally efficient and can be recycled once they get too beat up or damaged. You’re probably craving nice campfire veggies now, right?
3. Durable utensils
Plastic forks and knives might be practical, but single-use plastic is one of the worst things for the environment. Instead of packing plastics, grab a set of cutlery pieces made of bamboo or steel. Biome has a great range of reusable cutlery, reusable straws, and lunch boxes. They take up very little space yet they will get a lot of action on every camping trip. It’s very easy to keep a set in your backpack and you can completely eliminate single-use alternatives.
Another interesting utensil to have with you are camping knives, especially the ones that have multiple uses from setting up camp and preparing food to cut rope, fabric and more. These fit in your pant pocket or any backpack compartment, and you can always have them perfectly handy for years and years.
4. A sustainable stove
Sure, gas stoves might be very convenient and easy to handle when it comes to camping cooking, but they are not very kind to the environment. However, we’ve found the top brand bringing a range of sustainable camping gear.
BioLite is an award-winning brand specialising in products that cook, charge, and light your life off the grid. In 2020, this brand 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. So make sure to check out their stove section and look for the CampStove 2+, and electricity-generating wood camp stove. This one is capable of turning fire into electricity using combustion technology that creates a vortex of smokeless flames for a portable campfire that can cook your meals and charge your gear, all at the same time.
5. Good illumination
Many people go camping to enjoy nature, the natural light and outdoor activities. Plus, very low light pollution is perfect for stargazing! However, you can’t always enjoy the darkness—you need light to cook, read or keep yourself safe from animals and intruders. When you can’t quickly light a bonfire, it’s great to have a solar lantern at hand. Some models can be used for 50+hours without charging!
You also need a headlamp to keep your trail illuminated and make your bathroom breaks during the night safer. Opt for something rechargeable, with a recycled aluminium frame or wooden housing to boost your sustainability. However, don’t skimp on lumens. Go with at least 300 lumens, high, low and strobe lighting, adjustable straps and various titling positions to ensure ultimate usability.
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. In 2020, this brand 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.
Another quick 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.
6. Practical water filter
You don’t want to carry a pack of plastic water bottles with you on your camping trip, but you also don’t want to drink from suspicious sources and risk getting very sick. What to do then? Grab a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter that will always provide you with access to clean water. It removes chemicals, bacteria and protozoa from the water, so you can be safe all the time.
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.
7. Eco-friendly toiletries
It doesn’t matter if you’re at home or in nature, you need to take care of your hygiene. However, skip plastic toothpaste, toothbrushes and bottles that keep your necessities. Instead, opt for biodegradable products like bamboo toothbrushes, compostable bags and cardboard bottles.
When it comes to washing your pots and utensils, it’s best to invest in organic and biodegradable soap that’s gentle on the environment. Products made with organic oils and natural ingredients can be used for washing your laundry and dishes. If your campsite doesn’t have proper drainage, it’s very important to use these toiletries so the toxins don’t end up in soil and water.
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!
It’s possible to visit Mother Nature and come back home without leaving a trace. With this sustainable camping gear, you can have a safe and comfortable camping trip that won’t harm nature or leave a huge hole in your wallet.