'Tis the Season...for Eco-Friendly Camping

camping tent view photo

Photo Credit: Abeeeer/Creative Commons
This article was written by JD Norton, Community Engagement Manager for the eBay Green Team and contributor to eBayGreenTeam.com.

Can we say it's spring? We don't want to jinx it and we've been wrong before, but it feels like spring. We're doing it. Spring is here, people. Last week we celebrated the Earth with Earth Day 2011 and this week we're encouraging our readers and ourselves to get out and enjoy it. Our suggestion: an eco-friendly camping trip. And before you get ahead of yourselves, dear readers, eco-friendly camping is not a redundancy. In fact, most well-intentioned campers leave behind a bigger footprint than just their hiking boots.

So, whether you consider yourself an expert camper, or (like a Green Team member who shall remain nameless) told a tiny white lie on a second date about being really into the outdoors and now a year into that relationship she is finally going camping and has no idea what to do, never fear. We're here to give you some helpful camping tips on how to make your trip as green as the scenery.

Go Green Tips for Camping Trips

You CAN take it with you
Obviously, you want to leave your campsite they way you found it, which means taking all of your trash with you - including biodegradable materials and camping gear. Just because your eco-gear can eventually become part of the earth doesn't mean you should litter the campsite with it.

Walk softly
Wear soft-soled shoes around the campground to minimize the disturbance to the land. Also, try not to level the ground on which your camp sits. Instead, place cloths under your sleeping mat to make it level.

Keep it clean
If you're bringing in reusable plates, cups and silverware that is fantastic, but remember to wash those dishes with biodegradable soaps. You wouldn't want to cancel out your green camping cutlery by using toxic dish detergent. And remember, waste water should be directed or emptied onto dry ground or vegetation - not into a stream or river.

Green Gear

Now that we've given you some green camping tips, it's time for some tools. Not all camping equipment is created equal when it comes to sustainability. Here is just some of the phenomenal eco friendly camping gear available for your next trip:

The Tent:
The Salt Creek 2 by Big Agnes is the gold standard tent in eco-friendly camping. In 2009 it was awarded the coveted Editor's Choice Green Award by Backpacker Magazine; and for good reason. This 3-season camping tent is made with 100% recycled materials - from the fabric to the plastic pole clips, to the guylines and the zippers. The tent, fly and floor are made from recycled materials, while the fly and floor are waterproofed with a solvent-free polyurethane coating. In addition, Big Agnes decided to eliminate the use of toxic dyes, which resulted in a stunning white shelter.

Shop for the Salt Creek 2 on eBay, Buy it Now $155-$300

But this isn't the only eco-friendly tent out there. There's a large selection of pre-owned tents online and eco-friendly options camping gear options at most sporting good stores. Just make sure to do you due diligence and look at the materials before you purchase.

The Sleeping Bag:
Just as there are a variety of eco-friendly tents to choose from, the sleeping bag selection is just as wide. We recommend any one of the Marmot Eco Pro series. These comfortable and durable sleeping bags contain Marmot's patented UpCycle™ technology, which means the fabric is made from recycled water bottles and the insulation is 80% post consumer waste. The only way to sleep greener during your camping trip would be to do it without any bag, naked...and we can't legally recommend that.

Shop for Marmot Eco Pro Sleeping Bags on eBay, Buy it Now $149-$159
The Little Stuff:
Have your main items? Borrowing a friend's tent? No problem. You can still be the eco-hero with some small and thoughtful equipment.

The Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash washes everything - clothes, dishes, yourself - and is completely biodegradable. It's also super concentrated so a little goes a long way. But remember, while it's completely eco-friendly, the makers of this wonderful product still recommend you use any washing liquid at least 300 feet away from waterways.

Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash, $3-$4
For more tips on staying eco-friendly, visit us at eBayGreenTeam.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Read more about camping:
LifeEdited: What We Can Learn From Camping Equipment
Great Green Gear for Summer Camping and Hiking (Slideshow)
Readers' Eco-Vacation Photos: Hiking, Biking, Camping, and More (Slideshow)

'Tis the Season...for Eco-Friendly Camping
Can we say it's spring? We don't want to jinx it and we've been wrong before, but

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