For some of us who have been suffering from COVID-19 lockdowns and finally have the chance to explore the great outdoors once again, camping is a nice respite. To be able to feel the gentle sunlight and fresh breeze upon our faces and just be free! As of this writing, camping is allowed in certain countries and areas such as in Australia, Scotland and England, as well as in the US. But rules may vary from place to place and subject to change, so it’s best to check the local COVID-19 alert levels for the area you plan to visit. And make sure that you still follow health and hygiene protocols, plus social distancing.
Let’s go camping!
Experts say that camping is considered low risk for contracting COVID-19 because you’re in the outdoors. This is because “when you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So, you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected,” according to Mayo Clinic.
However, while we’re allowed to go outside again, we’re not exactly out of the woods yet. As a precaution, you should still practice social distancing especially if you’re camping with people outside of your household. You should stay in different tents located two meters apart and avoid sharing your camping gear and utensils with others. Disinfect surfaces which are frequently touched and practice minimum health standards at all times.
The health benefits of camping
Camping is good for well-being. Studies have shown that our brain responds positively when we spend time with nature. The experience lifts our mood, improves our mental health, and even helps us put our lives into perspective. We also get more vitamin D which is good for bone development. Camping also allows us to practice mindfulness of things around us. It teaches us to be present in the moment, be more aware of our surroundings, and to act with more intention. It is also a fun way of doing exercise which benefits our body by enabling faster metabolism, a healthier heart, and strengthening muscles and joints. It also encourages a disconnection from your smartphone and social media (particularly places that are off-the-beaten track with no wifi service) which will help you have a restful sleep and reset your body clock. Since most people go camping with family and friends, it allows you to reconnect with your loved ones and create lasting memories together.
Just a gentle reminder – travel with a heart. As the principles of Leave No Trace tell us, it is crucial to maintain “minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors.” And that starts with choosing eco-friendly camping gear and essentials to ensure that you are enjoying the outdoors whilst protecting the environment through your consumer choices.
So here’s are some recommendations for eco-friendly brands for camping gear and essentials to ensure you have a comfortable, safe and relaxing experience in nature.
First on our list of camping must-haves is a tent. This will be your shelter from the various elements when you’re outdoors – high winds, heavy rains, harsh rays of the sun, or the cold of the night. This is also where you can store your camping stuff. Bergans of Norway manufactures different kinds of high-quality and eco-friendly tents to suit your camping needs. Bergans has also committed to advocating for more sustainable and fair value chain, more sustainable consumption, and more sustainable outdoor practices which is why it makes perfect sense to buy your camping essentials from them.
You want to have a comfortable sleep after a fun but tiring day of exploring the outdoors. Vango offers vegan-friendly sleeping bags. They are lightweight so they are easy to pack and fit in your camping bag easily. The new trilateral construction of their sleeping bags provides better insulation for their users adding more comfort during your sleep.
Related Post: 7 Brands Making Ethical and Sustainable Travel Backpacks
Your sleeping pad will be your mattress inside the tent and will also act as a layer of protection from the ground which will contribute to better sleep. Vaude manufactures sleeping pads made from sustainable materials. They follow a “strict criteria for environmentally friendly products and follow high ecological standards throughout the product lifecycle” under the Green Shape label.
4. GSI Outdoors
Of course, you don’t want to go hungry when you’re camping. Unless you can survive on trail mixes, nuts, and beef (or plant-based) jerkies the entire time, it is essential to have your cooking set with you, especially if you’re going camping for a longer period. GSI Outdoors offers a stainless steel rugged cook set efficiently designed for your outdoor cooking. It is durable, easy to wash and store, and can be used over campfires and coals. You can surely enjoy a hearty meal while camping using this durable, camping cooking sets.
You’ve got to satisfy your hunger when you’re camping and plus sharing meals is part of what makes camping fun! Bring food from Patagonia Provisions which are easy to cook, easy to eat, and good for the planet. The world’s favourite sustainable outdoor apparel brand has entered the food market, offering sustainably-sourced and sustainably-farmed food for your outdoor adventures. There’s wild salmon, mackerel, soup, chili, buffalo jerky and spices to make your food, and your experience with nature, even better.
“We’ve always made good, nutritious, responsibly sourced foods for our customers. Our collection of products are from like-minded farmers, ranchers, fishermen, artisans and companies, offering ways to eat well while vigorously protecting the earth.” – Patagonia Provisions
6. TO GO WARE
If food and cooking are involved, you need some reusable, washable cutlery. If you don’t want to just take some cutlery from your kitchen drawers and want to invest in a particular set for zero waste camping, TO GO WARE is the go-to. This brand produces affordable reusable travel bamboo cutlery sets that feature chopsticks, fork, knife and spoon which comes in a handy pouch for storing. Different pouch colours are available to suit your preferences.
A knife is a very handy tool when camping. It helps you cut your rope, fishing line, fruits, vegetables, and meat. You can also use it as a screw, to open canned food, sharpen a stick, or deal with tangled vines. The eco-friendly pocket knives from The Wood Reserve are made from German steel and are built to last. They are sharp, water-resistant, heavy-duty, and definitely high quality. It is fully equipped to meet your camping needs.
A camping lantern or headlamp will help you see when it gets dark and can also be a signal device when there’s an emergency. Lighting EVER Store stocks high quality, rechargeable, and portable solar lamps and lanterns for your camping needs. They use ultra-bright LED lights giving you a lantern with one of the highest Lumen Counts available in the market. Their lamps are water-resistant versatile and multi-functional too. You can use them as a flashlight or a lantern and they come with a charging port so you can recharge your phone with these units. With nearly 8,000 positive reviews on Amazon and super affordable at just $39.99, this is an excellent choice for campers in need of a dependable light when they need it most.
9. LifeStraw Go
When you’re outdoors you will need to keep yourself hydrated especially when the heat is on. LifeStraw Go has award-winning reusable ‘LifeStraws’ (personal water filters) and water filter bottles that will protect your drink of water from 99.99% of bad bacteria, parasites, harmful substances and microorganisms. Just fill up in a stream, river or waterfall when you need to hydrate and feel confident that you’re protected from these nasties. The company provides “game-changing solutions that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet.” Their philosophy of “doing good is good business” is also inspiring.
Hopefully, you won’t have to use it, but you should bring your first aid kit just in case. You can build your own kit with the medical supplies that you need for cuts, stings, pain, and allergies. Make sure to grab eco-friendly Patch strips; natural bamboo adhesive bandages for your cuts, scratches, abrasions, blisters, bites, and splinters. These bandages have aloe vera, coconut oil, and activated charcoal which aids in soothing and healing the skin injury. Organic, natural, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free– these are eco-friendly bandages that tick all the right boxes.
Need some sustainable outdoor clothing to wear on your camping trip? You’ll find some amazing conscious brands via our post, ‘11 Ethical and Sustainable Outdoor Clothing Brands for the Adventurer‘.
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Cover image by Edho Fitrah.