“Leave No Trace:” 7 RV Tips for More Environmentally-Friendly Camping

We’ve all seen those three little words in campgrounds, national and state parks, and more: Leave No Trace. But what do those words mean? Basically, it’s the ethical standard for camping in a way that allows you to enjoy the environment without leaving it affected or harmed by your presence. Take a look at our RV tips for Leave No Trace camping success.

RV Tips

The Leave No Trace Principles

Leave No Trace is based on 7 principles that allow the fun in camping to intersect with protecting the environment and treating it with responsible care. These principles 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

You can read a more in depth explanation of each principle in the LNT guide here. Let’s take a look at each one of these principles and how you can abide by them!

RV Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Being spontaneous can be fun, but it can also end up being costly and irresponsible. By not thoroughly preparing for your travels, you can end up wasting resources and leaving behind garbage. Plan ahead, make thorough preparations, and pack accordingly. Make sure to check the weather forecast as this will inform your packing choices for gear, clothing, and more.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

When you pull into the campground you’ll be staying in, make sure to park your new or used RV exactly where it’s intended to be parked. Parking spaces, campsites, trail paths, and more have been created to accommodate visitors. Use them! Parking elsewhere or hiking off the path can be destructive to the natural forestry, vegetation, and soil. These habitats are fragile and once disturbed, may be abandoned by the critters who live there.

RV Tips

Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want someone driving their dirt bike through your living room, would you? The surrounding environment has its own habitats. Keep to the beaten path and don’t take the road less traveled. (Sorry, Robert Frost.)

Dispose of Waste Properly

When it’s time to do a black tank dump and flush, only do so at the designated dumping station – period. Don’t dispose of grease or food scraps by tossing it to the edge of your campsite. And don’t toss Styrofoam cups into the campfire to burn when you’re done with them. If you pack along granola bars for your afternoon hike, bring the wrappers back and dispose of them where they belong – don’t litter. Instead, opt for common courtesy. It’s better for your environment and better for you! (Manners look good on everybody.)

RV Tips

Leave What You Find

We get it. There’s a draw to collecting seashells, picking up a cool rock, feathers, fossils, and more. But try to think of your landscape as a phenomenal piece of artwork for you to discover, explore, and enjoy – as well as for others behind you to discover, explore, and enjoy. Pieces of the natural landscape should be left where they are. Take a picture of that pretty flower instead of picking it to press and save (it’s food for another critter). Look, but don’t take.

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Minimize Campfire Impacts

Campfires are fun and iconic camping trip luxuries, but most of the time they’re not necessities (unless you’re enjoying off-the-grid camping). If you do build a campfire, do so responsibly. Ask the campground for all campfire rules and regulations, and follow them. Never burn plastic, metals, or Styrofoam.

RV Tips

Respect the Wildlife

We can’t stress this one enough. Wild animals are wild animals. They’re not for touching, holding, coaxing, or feeding your leftover food to. This is for your safety as well as theirs. When wildlife gets too comfortable with the presence of people, it can result in aggressive behavior. When this happens, park rangers have to put the animal down. Respect the wildlife by enjoying it from a safe viewing distance.

RV Tips

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Show other visitors the consideration you would like them to show you (you’re also a visitor). Obey campground rules and hiking trail etiquette. Keep a low profile right down to the colors you wear (nothing bright or flashy) and the noises you make (turn that radio down!). The colors and sounds of nature are what other visitors are there to enjoy. Let them have a great experience!

RV Tips

By following the 7 principles of Leave No Trace, you can enjoy camping trips in your new or used RV that are more peaceful, fun, and conscientious to those around you. Another way you can minimize your environmental impact is with some RV service before you go. Fresh oil and clean filters can help reduce your carbon foot print. We can help. Contact us today!

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