How to Go Green When Camping

Camping season is here for us again and I am so excited about it!

As a young adult, I would have done anything to not have to be outside for any extended period of time, but as I got older I would live outside if necessary. Going camping used to mean paper plates, plastic tableware and just about anything disposable. Since we have made a decision to be as careful with our resources as possible, those things don’t have a place in our camping gear anymore.

It’s so easy to go green when camping, really.

green camping post

Our first big change was to buy washable dishes that wouldn’t break.

We purchased two sets of Coleman dinnerware 5 years ago, and it’s still going strong. They haven’t chipped, rusted, or broken. They store easily and have been easy to clean at the campsites, even when we had to use colder water. The plates easily hold burgers, salad, and side dishes like homemade sauerkraut and the bowls are big enough for yogurt and granola or campfire soups. The cups are rather small for us to use for drinking, but are nice for holding tableware, cloth napkins or other items at the picnic table.

The next change for us was to get bamboo flatware.

This was hardest for me, honestly, because it meant more dishes. Plastic ware is easy to throw away and you don’t have to wash it. And, only $3 for a large box at Aldi. But, setting a good example of being a good steward of our resources was important to us. We purchased 10 sets of this bamboo to go flatware 5 years ago to add to our collection. 5 sets stay in our camping box, and the other 5 are in the van for when we are on the go.

It’s nice to have when staying at a hotel as well, because finding a fork or knife at a hotel these days to spread peanut butter on bread isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, the last 4 hotels we have stayed at didn’t have any tableware, plastic or otherwise. They are great for impromptu picnics at the park when we grab some takeout, or those weeks we live at the county fair, and are lugging coolers of food back and forth.

To keep the nice, we simply make sure to wash them as soon as possible after use, and once a month wipe them down with coconut oil to keep them conditioned. Add in a stainless steel straw for each set and you can also say good bye to the plastic straws!

The final change, and the hardest of all, was drinking glasses.

At home, we simply use mason jars as they are much stronger than the glasses at the stores. They are easy to clean, and my kids have only broken 2 of them in a years time. (This is compared to going through 24 drinking glasses within 3 months before.) We didn’t want to have a lot of glass at campsites, due to possible breakage, and we didn’t want to have plastic drinking cups either.

So, we made the investment in some stainless steel drinkware. They stay in the camping box, as we just grab our mason jars day to day, but they are super nice to have at campsites. They wash easily, don’t rust and if dropped, they don’t break. We can take them to the lake beach and not worry about broken glass.

To make camping easier and packing less stressful, we store all our gear in a simple plastic tote box.

This is the kind we use, but anything with a lid would be great. We tried going the cheap route before, but were disappointed when we had to replace it each year. We needed something that could handle being toted around in the van, up and down from the basement and such.It’s also large enough to store instant rice, instant mashed potatoes, and our extra cast iron skillet that we use for camping.

We also have some home canned beans, veggies and fruit in there as well. All we need to add when we go camping is some homemade pancake mix, eggs and maple syrup and packing is a breeze! I also have some personal care kits in there for each of us, with toothbrushes, soap and a washcloth.

Add in a cloth table cloth and cloth napkins, easily found at thrift stores and you have the makings of a green camping trip!

Or you have an excellent bug out box, ready to go at a moment’s notice. You can add a berkey water bottle to make this bug out box complete. What would you add to this?

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7 thoughts on “How to Go Green When Camping”

  1. Suzanne Michele

    These are great suggestions! I also love to go camping, but not sure when we’ll be able to go again!

  2. Clancy Harrison RD

    Great tips! I live so green in my day to day but it goes bad when we camp b/c I am all about convenience. Thanks for the tips.

  3. We do the metal water bottles and everyone carries their own. It making camping and hiking easier and greenier. These are great tips.

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