We’re deep into summer already, and if you haven’t left the house to commune with nature, you probably will by Labour Day. It’s not enough to have a tent and a cooler full of food, though; you have to have a game plan in place
Don't worry: camping is fun, easy, and will let you truly enjoy the outdoors! Of course, you have to take those outdoors into consideration before leaving. “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” should be the adage by which you camp. These ten tips and tricks will not only help make your camping trip safe and comfortable - it’ll be environmentally friendly, too!
1. Bring some DIY bug repellent…
Forget the stuff loaded with chemicals like DEET. Burning sage can keep those pesky bugs away, as can citronella, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils. Combine them with alcohol and water and apply (but don't drink it. Well, you can, but it won't keep the bugs away!).
2. …and don’t forget a bug bite remedy!
Mosquitos are really resilient, and some will just find a way to get at your skin. Salt Spring Naturals Thieves Balm is a great natural remedy for when the itchiness gets to be too much, or you could try Witch Hazel!
3. Bring a nature-friendly shampoo.
If you’re washing up in or around fresh water, it’s important to think about your surroundings. Choose a shampoo without chemical additives or toxins, like Nature’s Harmony Tea Tree Shampoo.
4. Add some energizing drink crystals to water for a cool drink.
Leave the sugary sodas and artificially sweetened flavoured waters alone. Products like Ener-C make for refreshing, delicious hiking drinks, while saving you a lot of space!
5. Bring a natural sunscreen…
Many sunscreens use chemicals like avobenzone that get absorbed deeply into the skin to protect all the layers. These chemicals, though, are known to be endocrine disruptors, and given how deeply they absorb into the skin, they could do more that we’re not sure of.
Go with a mineral sunscreen that sit on the skin, acting as a barrier between your skin and the sun. Green Beaver has options for your whole family!
6. ...and something for when you forget to put it on!
Hey, we’ve all forgotten to apply sunscreen. Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Gelly can soothe the skin when your skin gets a little too toasty.
7. Bring mostly foods that won’t spoil.
Granola, honey, dried fruits, and trail mix are all great options that don’t take up too much room and stay good out in the forest. Not only will you reduce the food you’ll have to throw away, you won’t risk food poisoning. And speaking of poison…
8. Know what poisonous plants look like!
Get familiar with poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak, so you'll know what to avoid!
Poison Ivy (via Creative Commons)
Poison Oak (via Creative Commons)
Poison Sumac (via Creative Commons)
9. Freshen your feet for long days of hiking.
Sprinkle a little baking soda in your shoes or hiking boots to keep your feet fresh and prevent odor from becoming too powerful, or combine 20 or so drops of your favourite citrus essential oils in water and spray. Your feet and family will definitely thank you later, especially if you're all in the same tent!
10. Put your phone away!
The blue light of your phone or tablet is definitely impacting the quality of your sleep. Use your camping trip to reset your cycle, get in tune with nature, and start sleeping better!
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