April 23rd, 2018
If you’re planning a camping holiday in Snowdonia this summer then you’ll be in good company. The region is one of the most popular in Wales for family camping trips, which is wonderful news for happy holiday makers who want to see and experience beautiful Snowdonia and for the region which welcomes tourists from all over the country. But, what about the impact all this has on the environment and our beautiful countryside? Here are some of the issues to consider to ‘eco-up’ your camping holiday.
Think eco-tent means dragging round a heavy, awkward and cumbersome cotton tent? Think again! Green Outdoor (www.greenoutdoor.co.uk) is a company who have come up with an innovative way to use up the trillions of plastic bottles that are discarded each year – by making tents out of them, of course! They also use recycled polyester, and natural fabrics such as bamboo and hemp to manufacture their range of tents and shelters.
However, we wouldn’t want to encourage any waste, so if you’ve already got your tent and you’re more than happy with it, there are loads of smaller and cheaper bits of green kit you can invest in.
How about the good old fashioned Kelly Kettle (www.kellykettle.com), a carbon neutral way to get the kettle on and the tea brewing (the heating element at the bottom of the kettle is self contained and can be fired using all sorts of waste materials); Marmot have a range of sleeping bags made from recycled fabric and insulation and you can even buy biodegradable tent pegs! And don’t forget about greener ways to produce energy. Solar panels are a great way to recharge batteries on phones, mp3 players and game consoles, and of course rechargeable batteries should be used wherever possible.
If its eco-catwalk chic, rather than eco-gear chic that floats your boat then there’s something for you too! Eco-friendly clothing is big business at the moment, and there are hundreds of websites dedicated to just this.
Brands using ethical principles and organic materials combined with great outdoor usability include Patagonia and Howies. Again, the high street are hot on the heels of the trend, and organic and fair-trade cotton ranges of t-shirts, trousers and kids clothing are now available at M&S (see their Greener Living Department).
Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace camping principles were designed to protect the environment and uninhabited areas from the effects of human camping and trekking. Although the principles were originally for wild areas such as national parks and forests, the same attitudes can be applied when camping at campsites and caravan parks.
Foremost is leaving no trace of litter, even fruit and vegetable peelings can have an impact on the fragile ecosystems around the campsite. Make sure you use designated rubbish areas for waste, and just because you’re camping, don’t let usually good recycling habits be forgotten. There may not be recycling facilities at the campsite but all recyclable waste can be taken home.
Ensure sink areas are used for washing pots and pans; throwing a bowl of dirty washing up water into the undergrowth is definitely a no-no. Where possible use eco-friendly detergents – there are good choices available in the supermarket these days.
If you do use a toilet tent or portable toilet, Elsan now stock a great range of biodegradable toilet fluids. Elsan Green is available from most camping suppliers.
The Leave No Trace principles also apply to wildlife. Animals and their nests should never be disturbed, and souvenirs of your holiday should not be in the form of plants, flowers or trees. Although it may be tempting to leave scraps of food out for hungry midnight foragers, human food can be poisonous to wild animals, and it also doesn’t encourage them to hunt for their own food. Make sure any unused food is well stored and sealed.
Get Kids Involved
One of the best things about a camping holiday is that children can be involved in nearly every part of the adventure. Encourage them to think of their own ways to help the green camping mission. They will love the noisy wind up torches and radios, even if after five minutes of head-ache inducing wind up din, you may be crying out for the battery powered alternative!
A walk in the country can be turned into a nature trail, to encourage budding conservationists and naturalists, although remember to stick to designated paths and don’t allow children to pull at plants or get too close to wild animals.
Kids will also be excited about the novelty of eating outdoors, so enlist their help in planning a barbeque full of healthy, seasonal and locally sourced foods. If you’re having a camp fire, the children can be taught about building a fire and safe fire rules, and they will love toasting their marshmallows and chocolate filled bananas in the embers!!
Don’t forget that charcoal for barbeques should be from a sustainable source and recommended by the FSC.
Happy camping in Snowdonia!