Leave No Trace Principles: How to enjoy the outdoors responsibly

We can all agree that 2020 and 2021 were a bit of a bust when it came to getting out and experiencing the world. As summer 2022 approaches, we’ve started venturing out and enjoying the outdoors again.

Part of exploring the great outdoors includes ensuring our activities don’t damage or cause harm to the natural environment. This means practicing leave no trace principles. Your goal is to leave the natural world as you found it or better. Your duty as a citizen of this planet is to protect it and enjoy its wonders responsibly.

Here are our top tips and leave no trace principles for hiking, camping, boating, and enjoying the great outdoors this summer.

Go package-free

The most common garbage people leave behind is food wrappers. Leave no trace of garbage behind on your hike. Before you go – check over what you’re bringing, and if there’s disposable packaging, remove it or plan to dispose of them properly by bringing them home or using public garbage and recycling stations.

You can also buy bulk snacks and pour your trail mix into a fabric snack pouch or reusable container. Nada is a zero-waste grocery that supports these efforts, but you can also bring your baggy to your local grocer. In addition, our Zero-Waste Lookbook has lots of packable products.

This is a great time to test some new on-the-go snack recipes and foods. Go on Pinterest or your favourite recipe site to find some homemade granola bars or GORP recipes. Consider making a sandwich or bringing some cheese and crackers in a reusable container.

Your choice of food packaging matters when getting outdoors. We like using beeswax wraps because they’re lightweight, eco-friendly, and reusable. They don’t take up as much space as a Tupperware container in your daypack either.

 

numo picnic blanket

 

Essential eco-friendly outdoor gear

Your choice of eco-friendly outdoor gear also makes a difference when you practice leave-no-trace camping or hiking. Here are a few essential items that are reusable and eco-conscious:

Picnic blanket: Going for a picnic? Bring a picnic blanket made from eco-friendly fabrics, like rPET, produced by an eco-conscious company. Packable blankets, like those in our Outdoor Gear Guide (see page 30), are perfect to have on hand whenever you need to sit down and relax, including during a traditional-park picnic.

Reusable cooler/backpack: When packing a daypack for an outdoor adventure, look for gear that is either compact or serves multiple purposes, like a backpack cooler. The Renegade Backpack (see page 12) is a cooler you wear, like a backpack with room for your snacks, a small lunch, and your reusable water bottle. It is also available as a waist pack and traditional soft-side cooler box with a shoulder strap. Look for one with rPET fabric as it’s made from recycled plastic bottles and is an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic materials.

Water bottles and mugs: Don’t be tempted to grab a plastic water bottle from the store on your way to your picnic, hike, or camping trip. We like the Corkcicle® series (starting on page 18) of drinkware to keep drinks warm and cold for a long time. Here are our favourite Corkcicle and other drinkware brands:

  • The Corkcicle Tumbler holds 16 oz of your morning coffee, tea, or other warm beverage to keep you warm on cooler days. It also keeps drinks cold for 9 hours or hot for 3 hours.
  • The Corkcicle Canteen holds 16 oz of your water and keeps food cold for 25 hours and warm for 12. It’s also a no-sweat design, so it won’t get your dry items moist in your backpack.
  • The All-Star Sports Bottle (page 20) is an excellent all-around essential water bottle. You can even use the clip handle to attach it to the outside of your daypack.
  • The MiiR® series of wide-mouth bottles (page 22) is also excellent for hydration on the go this summer. They feature vacuum insulation and different spout styles. MiiR gives at least 1% of its profits back to non-profit organizations whose work empowers communities while benefiting the health of their natural environment.

Bring a “garbage bag”: Always bring a plastic or cloth bag to collect any garbage you may have. If you’re keen, consider bringing a pair of gloves and taking your leave-no-trace principle further by tidying up any trash you see along your route. It’s a small way you can give back to nature and help keep her clean for the next visitors.

 

drinking from stream

 

Safety tips and planning

Always research your destination before you go. Here are a few things to know before you head out into nature:

  • Is it open? (some trails and outdoor areas may be closed due to current weather conditions, seasonal closures, or natural disasters like floods).
  • Do they allow pets so that I can bring my dog?
  • What’s the likelihood of having cell service?
  • Is the adventure suited to my ability level?
  • What are the crowds expected to be like?
  • Do I have the ‘10 Essentials’ to be prepared?

It’s always good to let someone know where you’ll be going, your intended route, and when you expect to return. This is especially important when going into the backwoods or to off-the-beaten-track areas. If you’re looking for pre-planning and safety tips, head over to BC Adventure Smart, they’ve got a ton of resources to help keep you safe in the outdoors.

When planning your leave-no-trace outdoor adventure, don’t bring anything you can’t either consume or pack out with you. This will help ensure you do your part to preserve our great natural environment for future generations.

Outdoor Kits

Create a gift box for outdoor adventurers

Why not create a gift box of leave-no-trace goodies for your staff, clients, or prospects to enjoy this summer. Fill it with reusable and eco-friendly branded merch they can enjoy while exploring the great outdoors this summer.

Check out our Leave No Trace – Outdoor Gear Lookbook and get inspired for your next merch campaign.

Ask us about customizing outdoor merch to include in your company logo or a special message.

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