The beautiful environment that we are lucky enough to have on the North Island is reason enough for many people to live here. Spots to camp abound, and many locals and tourists alike will be heading out on weekend adventures over the coming months. No Trace Camping principles are an essential part of responsible and sustainable camping, as they help prolong the life of our favourite outdoor spots as well as reduce harm to animals and plants in the area. Here are some useful strategies to help reduce the impact on the environment while out camping.
1. Never let dirty dishes touch a water source
When doing dishes, following this low-impact method. Always have one pot that you don’t cook with that can be used to fill the dirty pots and pans with water from your water source. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally put food particles into the water. Once you have water in your pots/pans, you can add environmentally-friendly soap if needed and use the bigger pots and pans to wash bowls/plates/cutlery in. If you have enough pots and pans or are only out for a night, consider bringing your dishes home and washing them there.
2. Pour dish water far away from water source
A good rule of thumb is to walk 50 steps from your water source to dispose of dirty dishwater, making sure that there are no creeks or small rivers nearby.
3. Pack out everything
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for camping by bringing garbage bags and extra tupperware containers to help easily deal with waste and leftover food.
4. Use designated fire pits
When possible, use designed fire pits at campsites or build fires in pits that already exist. It is a good idea to have a camping stove if there is no fire pit (or if it is raining!)
5. Camp on durable surfaces
When figuring out where to place your tent, try to choose surfaces like rock, gravel, or dry grasses and avoid areas with tons of vegetation. Invest in a good sleeping pad to allow you more versatility in where you pitch your tent. Try not to disturb the environment by making a new tent spot if possible.