St. Patrick's Day is a little bit over a month away, but there's a year-round movement that honors the same color.

Green living seems to have permeated our lives, or has at least entered our consciousness from every angle.

So it's no surprise that treating the earth well is of prime importance when enjoying its beauties through camping and hiking. Follow these guidelines to ensure you honor best practices when it comes to Mother Nature.

Unless advised, always stay on designated tent pads. Photo by Eat Wild, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License. Click for original.

Unless advised, always stay on designated tent pads. Photo by Eat Wild, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License. Click for original.

Leave No Trace

The idea behind this principle is to leave the outdoors just like you found it, making as little of an impact as possible. Humans can easily cause soil erosion, harm ecosystems by picking flowers and moving plants, and dirty water sources with trash.

The Leave No Trace rules are:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org
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Use Green Products

Even the most minimalist backpacker takes products with him or her out into the wilderness, so it's best to make sure they are made from sustainable sources and that they will cause minimal impact on the environment around them. 

Some product suggestions include:

Use a Tent 

If you're usually a weekend RVer, take the sedan next time and go tent camping instead. You'll reduce your carbon footprint by using less gasoline, and you can trade fueled items like a refrigerator for a cooler — or for foods that don't need to be chilled at all.

My tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4

Stay on Designated Paths

Unless bushwhacking is permitted, always remain on designated paths. You'll keep the wildlife in pristine condition for the next person while not contributing to erosion.

Contribute

By donating to or volunteering with parks and wildlife organizations that help raise awareness of these practices and actively preserve precious slivers of our planet for the public's enjoyment, you are making a difference for generations to come. Pay it forward for everyone to enjoy our beautiful world! 

Any other tips? Share them in the comments.

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