zero waste hiking water

7 Simple Ways to Go Zero-Waste and Reduce Environmental Impact While Hiking

Hiking is a great way to unwind, refresh, and just get away from the daily stress of life. However, we must make sure that we enjoy this activity without the expense of nature.

So, if you’re planning to go out for a hike soon, we suggest going zero-waste to protect nature.

Not sure how to do that? Here are some ideas:

Do some planning for zero waste hiking

Before you even go out to hike, you need to plan everything first. This includes:

  • The location of the trail
  • The time you’re willing to spend
  • Are you a beginner or expert?
  • The length of the trail
  • The weather
  • The type of trail

Knowing all these can help you prepare what food you need to bring, how much food you need, what you need to wear, and more.

There is a lot of information you can always get from the internet. If there’s a map available, check out if there are water sources available and what threats might come your way.

You should also consider the people coming with you. If you’re an expert hiker, then try to think if you’re bringing some beginners with you. Rate their fitness level and choose a hiking route that suits them.

Brief them about your plan to ensure that everyone is prepared.

Go for bulk options

Food is an essential thing that you should bring for hiking. But, you should also consider how many days you’ll be hiking, how many people are in the group, and what your day would look like.

Always go for food that provides you energy during the hike. Go for healthy carbohydrates and proteins instead of fatty and sugary foods. And if possible, choose lightweight foods, too, so you can still stay comfortable in your journey.

Few food recommendations you can bring are trail mix, dried fruit, and energy bars. If you’re staying overnight, then you can bring frozen meals, too. And if you’re carrying a lot of food with you, then it’s best to buy in bulk so you can save more on the food expenses.

Don’t use plastic packaging while hiking

If you’re aiming for eco-friendly hiking, then it’s best to start by removing any plastic packaging from your baggage. This can include cling wraps and plastic bottles.

Instead, you can use reusable lunch wraps, zippered lunch bags, stainless steel lunch bags, and reusable silicone bags for your lunch and snacks. For water, use a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles.

Carry reusable items in your hiking bag

For you not to carry a lot of plastic with you, you can buy reusable items instead. This way, you only get to buy that thing once, and you can use that several times. It helps you save money long-term compared to buying single-use items.

Here are a few reusable items that we suggest you buy or carry with you:

  • Reusable water bottle or cup
  • Reusable Straws
  • Collapsible silicone food containers
  • Foldable microfiber blanket (can serve as your pillow, seat cushion, and blanket)
  • Reusable bags (one that you can usually get from groceries)
  • Solar charger (for power source without having to use electricity)
  • Sustainable personal items

If you want to do this for a long time, we suggest getting hiking poles, too. It’s an excellent investment and would help you a lot during the hike.

In addition to this you may also want to bring a portable water filter.

Bring eco-friendly toiletries

Suppose you’re expecting to go on a hike for a few days or overnight, then bringing along eco-friendly or sustainable toiletries. This includes your toothbrush, your soaps, wipes, toilet paper, and more.

To weigh what you need to bring for your trip, think about the things you do every day. This includes bath, brushing the teeth, peeing, and pooping. For women, you even need to think about menstrual hygiene (if you have one on the day of the hike).

Always choose to buy biodegradable and eco-friendly products. That way, you can dispose of them without damaging the environment.

Dispose of waste properly

Speaking about disposing of waste, don’t just throw things on the ground just because they’re biodegradable. There’s always a proper way to do this.

Start by bringing less waste as possible. As we mentioned earlier, don’t bring any plastic packaging and make use of reusable items. For personal items, make sure that you buy biodegradable ones.

Bring garbage or a ziplock bag where you can put all your trash inside. This includes your wipes, toilet paper, sanitary pads, etc. Cover it with tape, so you don’t see what’s inside, and pour some aspiring to get rid of the smell.

For poop and pee, make sure that you do that in an area away from any water sources to ensure that water quality stays the same. Don’t do it near the trail or campsites, too. If you’re allowed to dig holes, do so, but please follow this rule.

Leave no trace in nature

Last but not least, leave no trace.

Ever heard the quote, “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints”? Make sure to keep this in mind.

You are hiking to enjoy nature. So make the most of it without hurting the environment. Follow the trail as is, and don’t create unnecessary new ones. Don’t cut branches or flowers. You are a visitor here, so make sure that you leave the area just like when you got there.

This is a guest post by Geraldine Mills.

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