Low Waste Camping

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Now, normally I would try to be much better prepared for camping than I was this last time, but this trip was a consolation prize because the pandemic cancelled our initial plans. But as per usual, I learned some things that will help make the next trip even better!

Here are a few tips to make your next camping trip more LOW WASTE:

  • Go bulk shopping and use my own containers for snacks and staples (much easier pre-pandemic, but still doable)

  • Pre-plan or pre-make your meals

  • Unpackaged fruits and veggies

  • Reuse plastic produce or grocery bags for garbage

  • Be smart with water usage; boil a big kettle and wash dishes, face, and make a hot drink

  • Fill up one large jug of "city water" before you hit the road, and avoid single use bottles

  • Bring compostables and recyclables home if the campground or nearby community don't have the appropriate facilities

  • No disposable plates or cutlery, or paper towels

That last one can be hard for folks, I get it! Dan already owned a small set of metal dishes and cups that are going to last forever, so that's what we use instead of disposable plates and plastic cups. I have all of my small "kitchen" gear packed all the time, so we have separate cutlery and serving utensils set aside. But it's just as easy to pack a few forks and knives from your home set. Thrift shops are also a great place to find inexpensive plastic dishes or mismatched cutlery to make your own kit.

I find that the more I cultivate low waste habits at home, the easier it is to carry these into other areas. But it's still difficult, and I am by no means perfect! Camping with a kid adds its own considerations as well. Every little bit counts as far as I am concerned. And like with all my other low waste habits, most of the camping parts take practice and planning.


@WasteFreeYEG on Instagram recently did a stories series on low waste camping ideas (it's saved as a highlight). And @cerowastecindy always has great ideas for van camping and backcountry trips.


The more camping and other outdoor recreating I do, the more I realize how inaccessible it must be for a lot of folks. Money, knowledge, mobility, discrimination...it all comes into play. My Big Idea of the Week is a gear library. I know this isn't a new idea. I searched online and found a lot of options in Canada and the U.S.

When I posted on IG that my gear had been stolen (oh yes), I had a lot of friends and Instagram "friends" offer up their gear for our use. Over the course of a couple of hours I had at my fingertips sleeping pads, and tents, and stoves, and dishes, and chairs. And I hadn't even asked for this help. Imagine what we could do as a community for folks who don't have such generous & able people in their lives.

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