Nobody likes having to bring home a big bag of garbage after a long camping trip

Not only does it end up smelling gross, it’s totally wasteful. So here are some tips on how to reduce your environmental impact and keep your next camping trip completely waste-free.

1. Bring a reusable water jugReusable water jugChristine McAvoy

You can fill it up at home, and it collapses when it’s empty for easy storage. This will save you from buying any big plastic water jugs or bottles from the store.

2. Prep food at home and bring it frozenfrozen food in jarsChristine McAvoy

Prepping food at home means saving time at the campsite, and if you bring it frozen in jars, it helps keep things colder in the cooler as it defrosts. Another bonus is that you can store any leftovers from meals in the same jars afterwards.

3. Use solar lightssolar lightsChristine McAvoy

This is a no-brainer as there are lots of string and in-ground solar lights that will help you save on lanterns that use batteries or fuel.

4. Opt for reusable plates, cutlery and glasswarecamping mealChristine McAvoy

Yes, paper plates might seem more convenient (and can be if you’re camping when there isn’t a fire ban), but if you bring enough reusable camping dishes, they’re easy to clean. Or, if it’s a short trip, just rinse them off and do the dishes once you get home. Also, if you wash some of the Mason jars you brought your food in, you can use them as glassware as well.

5. Try dish towels instead of paper towels

Same idea as above—bring a few dish towels instead of letting the paper towel pile up. If you have a clothesline, they’ll dry quickly in the sun.

6. Go for growler fill and pre-mixed drinksbeer growlerChristine McAvoy

Get beer growlers filled on the way to the campsite so you’re not left with piles of cans that you have to deal with after. And if you pre-mix some cocktails in Mason jars, you’re also not dealing with juice jugs of all sorts—then all you have to do is add ice.

7. Use ice packs instead of bags of iceice packsChristine McAvoy

Speaking of ice, make some at home to bring with you, and just use ice packs (and your frozen food) in the cooler to cool your items. Not only will this prevent you from having a ton of plastic ice bags afterwards, but it’ll save a bunch of money as the ice packs are reusable. (My friends even reused the ice packs from their meal kit delivery boxes.)

8. Invest/repair/rent/borrow/buy used camping gear

If you need camping supplies, there are lots of places to get them instead of buying them new. Sometimes you can find brand new things for sale online, or call up that friend you know who's an avid camper and ask to borrow an item for your trip. It saves you money, and you can give that gear a second life.