Spending time outdoors is time that’s never wasted. But, have you ever thought about what is being wasted while you’re spending time in your happy place outside? Have you asked yourself what you could do to create less of an environmental impact and keep things more sustainable in your outdoor playground?
Sustainability in the outdoors is important because more and more people are hitting the trails, more gear and stuff is being produced, and outdoor spaces continue to become more limited.
Yes, it can be scary thinking about all that and that’s why it’s time to practice some simple and easy steps that can make a big difference for a brighter future for the outdoors.
In this article we’ll discuss some simple and easy actions that you can take that are more sustainable and will have a more positive long-term impact on our beloved outdoor spaces.
So, let’s get outside and take action on creating a healthier world that we can all take pride in.
Respect and follow the rules. Wherever you go outside and whatever you plan on doing, there are probably some rules. If you’re hiking, stay on the trail. If you’re camping, camp within designated areas.
Rules for the outdoors are in place to not only keep us safe, but to keep our environment safe and healthy. If hikers start veering off the trail, this causes erosion, damage and can cause trail closures, and no one wants that. So, follow the rules to keep wild lands open, healthy and enjoyable for all for generations to come.
Take only photos, leave only footprints. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s a statement that still rings true today. Yes, it might be tempting to take that cool fossil or pick those beautiful flowers, but if you do then you won’t be able to enjoy them next time. And just imagine if everyone took something.
This also means, leave no trace. Everything you pack in, you should also always pack out. Do a final sweep of your campsite before you leave to make sure it’s clean and trash free. Put your snack bar wrapper in your pack and hike it out. Take the time and leave the area clean, pristine and how you would like to see it, natural.
Rent instead of buy. Sure, it can be fun to have all the latest toys and gear, but have you ever thought about how all those things can be destructive to our environment? Producing more things takes more energy, chemicals, and materials to make. So, this year try renting gear. Not only will this have less of an impact on the environment, but it will also have less of an impact on your wallet, space to store all that gear and it will let you test and try out some cool new equipment.
That’s why we’ve made it our mission at TruNorthwest Exchange to provide a more sustainable and inclusive future for our friends in the outdoor industry. We rent high quality backpacking and camping equipment because we want everyone to have the opportunity to get outside with top quality gear, all while having a smaller impact on the environment.
Invest and take care of your gear. If you do want to purchase your own gear, make an investment and buy high quality gear that will last. Don’t buy the cheapest tent because chances are it won’t last as long. Or buy second hand. Another fantastic way to save money and keep it sustainable. And, be sure to check us out online, because we sell and consign high quality, affordable used gear that’s in great condition.
Also, be sure to take care of your gear. Cleaning it, repairing it and storing it properly will all add to the lifetime of your gear and save you money and the resources it takes to make more.
Brands that are ethically sourced and produced. Do a little research when you’re shopping and see where and how it’s made. Whether it’s a base layer made of a natural fiber like wool versus a synthetic that’s made of plastic. Or companies that are certified Bluesign, use fairtrade practices, recyclable materials or how they treat their employees. All of this adds up to a more responsible company that cares for our environment and our time precious outside.
You are what you eat. Part of the fun of being outdoors is all the yummy and different foods we try. And if you want to keep it environmentally friendly, here are some ideas.
- Keep it local. Purchase food from your local farmers market and make sure it’s food that’s in season.
- Try to avoid individually prepackaged food that uses a lot of plastic. Instead, by in bulk or make your own snacks and meals.
- Use reusable containers or bee’s wax wrap instead of plastic storage bags.
- Know what you’re eating and take a look at the ingredients. Is it organic? Where and how is it made?
- And, whatever you do, don’t feed the wildlife, pack out all trash and make sure it’s delicious!
Getting there. Most of our outdoor destinations aren’t within walking distance and using a car is the easiest and fastest way of getting there. But, if you’re going with other people, then carpool. Save yourself some gas money and make it easier on the environment and take one vehicle instead of all meeting there in three separate vehicles.
What else can you think of to keep your time in the outdoors more sustainable and environmentally friendly? Whatever you do, big or small, take responsibility and major pride in your actions that create a more sustainable environment for your outdoor adventures.