Eco-Friendly Items for Your Campsite
The camping and outdoor lifestyle industry is growing at a fast pace. It’s evolving too, and ‘green’ is the way to go, meaning sustainable and biodegradable products with solar and renewable energy solutions. Here are a few stand-out products and companies leading the way to a more responsible future.
Bio-Pak® Alpine Fresh Natural Enzyme Deodorizer and Waste Digester is a safe way to clean black holding tanks and remove odors. Formaldehyde- and biocide-free and zinc- and copper-free, the environmentally friendly formula allows for rapid breakdown of waste and paper and is septic safe—there’s no need for special RV toilet paper. Bio-Pak provides portion control and is easy to use with no messy liquids; it’s also available in Tropical Breeze scent. Walex recommends Porta-Pak black tanks when temperatures are regularly above 32°C/90°F. Available online and in various stores; price varies per pack size (approx. $17CAN/10 pack).
Biodegradable Bio-Kleen Awning Cleaner removes tough stains, mold, mildew, dirt, insects, tree sap, bird excrement, and more from vinyl, canvas and acrylic fabric awnings. It’s concentrated so dilute as required. Available in a variety of sizes including: 32oz, 1 Gallon, 5 Gallon. Bio-Kleen offers a large product range of environmentally safe, cruelty-fee and vegan cleaning products. Available online and in various stores; $17.95USD/32 oz ($23.15CAD).
Caboo specializes in tree-free paper products and wipes. Its 100% biodegradable bathroom tissues, free from chlorine bleach, are made from organically grown sustainable bamboo and sugarcane. The tissues are septic safe and non-GMO project verified. The 2-ply sheets are soft and strong, hypoallergenic, chlorine-bleach free, BPA and paraben- and fragrance-free. Other products are paper towels and baby wipes, both tree-free. Available online and in stores; prices vary per pack size/approx. $45CAD/24 toilet paper rolls.
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure-Castile Soaps are concentrated, versatile and biodegradable. The liquid soaps are available in eight scents (including baby unscented) and are made with organic and certified fair-trade ingredients (no synthetic preservatives, no detergents or foaming agents) and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle. Also available in bar form. The company also has lotion and balms, hair care, home and laundry, toothpaste and more. Available online and in stores; $16.99USD/32 oz ($21.95CAD).
It took a natural disaster for the founders of LuminAID to invent their breakthrough portable solar lanterns which are now used in over 100 countries. Collapsible and compact, the lanterns (some inflatable, others pop-up) can provide more than 100 hours of bright light with every charge and are perfect for camping, RVing, hiking and backpacking, or to have in case of an emergency. The company has expanded its product line to include power lanterns with a phone charger, solar speakers and Bluetooth-enabled solar lights. Available online and in various stores; prices vary per product (PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power Lantern $66CAD).
The eRove™ Electric Cooler by Furrion is unique in that it’s also battery powered and solar rechargeable. With 50Qt of space, it can fit up to 72 cans and hold 6Qt of dry storage. The eRove comes with an ePod Power station and a 100-watt solar panel, which provides a rechargeable battery for the cooler. Its optimized cooling system can freeze to -22°C and the cooler features detachable cup and umbrella holders. Available at Furrion dealers (various RV/electronic stores); $899.99USD/$1,150CAD.
Use solar power to cook or warm your food or boil water with the GoSun Go portable solar oven; according to the company, “If you can see a shadow, it will cook”. Simply called the ‘Go’, it features a sturdy yet lightweight frame with stainless-steel cooking tray and vacuum tube; the tube acts as an insulator to enhance the food’s flavor (perfect for dehydrated foods) and keep moisture in. With internal temperatures of 550°F (287°C) the Go can also sterilize pond and lake water. No need to worry about burning yourself as the outside of this portable oven remains cool to the touch and safe. Each Go comes with four silicone cook pans, a universal action mount, cleaning brush, solar dial, cookbook and a carrying case. Specs: .91 kgs (2 lbs)/13.5-oz capacity. Available online and in various stores; average retail price $139.99USD/$180CAD.
The North Face Eco Trail Sleeping Bag (stuffsack size: 22.9 cm x 40.6 cm) is made from fully recycled materials and is good to -7°C. Its shell is 50 Denier (D) 100% recycled polyester ripstop with Non-PFC Durable Water-Repellent finish, the lining is 50D 100% embossed polyester taffeta and the insulation is 600 fill recycled down. Features include:
- Extended width in knees for maximum comfort and mobility and vaulted foot box
- Wraparound J-zip for increased mobility and venting
- Fitted hood (with cinch cord) and draft collar for comfort and heat loss prevention
- Internal phone/watch pocket and tie-down loops for securing bag to sleeping pad.
Available online and in various camping stores; retails from $180CAD for adult sleeping bag.
Yukon Outfitters’ SomniSmart™ hammock is made in part from recycled plastic water bottles. The lightweight hammock is constructed with Repreve® fabric; the company is a world leader in recycled fiber. The SomniSmart™ is available in single- and double-style configurations. Available online from Yukon Outfitters; $79.99USD/$100CAD.
Eukarya makes sustainable headlamps from zebra and cherry wood, machined aluminum and high strength tempered glass. Its latest model features brightness memory and up to 14 hours of battery life, USB-C charging and a dedicated rechargeable battery indicator; it’s also water resistant. One tree is planted with each headlamp sold. Origin 2 $129USD/$166CAD plus shipping; available online from Eukarya.
The Hielo Del Dia 12L Cooler Bag by Cotopaxi is a one-of-a-kind handmade cooler made from partially repurposed leftover fabric. The coolers have a waterproof liner and are insulated with repurposed foam and feature a practical side strap; there’s also a side pocket for a water bottle. Cotopaxi sources many materials from other companies and utilizes remnant fabrics and prides itself on ethical manufacturing. Each pack in the Del Día Collection is made by employees who handpick its look, from the fabric selector to the pattern maker and sewer. Also check out Cotopaxi’s colourful windbreakers, backpacks, travel and hip packs and sleeping bags. $100USD/$129CAD plus shipping; available online from Cotopaxi to ship to Canada.
List prices/exchange rate may vary; taxes and any shipping charges applied at online checkout.
There are many ways we can be eco-friendly campers and RVers and responsible global citizens. Choose and use biodegradable and recyclable products and recycle and dispose of waste properly and safely while outdoors. For information on being a good and sustainable camper read up on the Camper’s Code.
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If you have any ecofriendly ideas or products you have used and would like to share with other campers, contact us.
For camping and RVing options in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.
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5 Gift ideas for the “Happy Camper”
Still looking for a Christmas gift for a camping enthusiast? One of these just might fit the bill. Below are five gift ideas to choose from.
1. A Cake Taker Has Lots of Uses
Sometimes you have to look outside of the box for a great “camper/RVer gift. Gifts aren’t just for the intended use nor the intended person, sometimes it’s a gift that can have many uses and be used by the whole family. My first great gift is a simple Cake Taker. I have one that is a staple in my RV set up. We like to have everything we need for our meals handy by keeping them outside on a table, but because of critters, we don’t like to leave our paper plates and napkins out. Well not anymore – this takes the cake taker to a whole different level. I place my Royale Chinet dinner plates and a stack of napkins and place them inside the cake taker and now they are protected from the little critters of the night. And the weather too. This is available at most department stores.
2. LEGO is fun for Adults too
Don’t always look for a finished product to give as a gift or think that toys are just for kids. Adults are one of the largest consumers of good ol’ fashioned LEGO. Our camping group (AFOL’s as we are so deemed in LEGOLAND – which means Adult Fans of LEGO) love to receive LEGO kits. We have built an RV, Truck and Camper, boats, beach scenes and mini campsites. It’s a gift that brings everyone to the picnic table each and every trip and also offers a chance to demonstrate their building capabilities.
3. Lights to Brighten your Camping ‘Patio’
There are many necessities required for camping but each person you ask has a varied version of the list and lighting is always on it. I bought a handful of these useful lights. They have two levels of brightness and flash. Each one takes 3 AAA batteries and I hang them from the roofing of my pop-up-tent, strategically placed over the picnic table. This makes it easier to see for a great late-night game of cards.
4. A Collapsible Wash Bin is a Huge Space Saver
When we pack to go camping we are always looking for lightweight items. I just love my collapsible wash bin. I purchased this one from Amazon but I’m sure you can get them at most department stores. When it’s open it sits at 5” high and collapsed is only 2 ½” saving you packing space. There is a lot of room for washing dishes as it is almost 15” X 11”, so big enough that you can wash larger items.
5. Relax at Your Campsite in a Hammock
Another gift that I think most would love to receive is a hammock. Everyone needs a comfy place to retire to during the day, to read a book, listen to the sounds of nature or just take a much-deserved nap. This lightweight nylon hammock can hold more than 350 lbs., so it is an excellent spot for two to cozy up and relax in. Or, as I saw this summer on one of my many camping trips, when a mother and her three little ones set up on the site next to me. The first thing she put up was the hammock which I thought was weird that she was setting up a relaxation zone before pitching the tent, but I soon realized that this is where the youngsters played swing whilst mom was making their temporary home, and everyone was safely swinging in the hammock and no one could fall out.
For campgrounds and RV parks in British Columbia check our Camping Map
Share your BC camping photos using hashtag #campinbc.
Published: December 18th, 2019
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