Many agree that, whether with the family or just a few friends, camping can be a wonderful experience. Recent surveys show that about 43% of Americans have gone camping within the previous year for a combined total of 598 million days in the great outdoors.
(Source: Gabriel Amadeus)
Surveys also show that one of the most popular ways to camp is in an RV. As of 2005, about 8.2 million households in the United States owned an RV. Of those surveyed, 89% stated that they purchased the RV as an affordable, comfortable (even luxurious) and convenient way to spend time away with their families.
Since camping would not be possible – well, certainly not as enjoyable – without nature, campers are often interested in how to best preserve their favorite destinations for future trips. Here are eight suggestions of how to lessen the environmental impact of your visit, ensuring that the great outdoors remain great.
- Have solar panels installed on your RV, or even take some along for tent camping. This will eliminate the need to run a gas generator in order to power your electronics, lighting, appliances, or hot water. This will save you money in fuel costs and help the environment. It will also eliminate any noise pollution made by the generator, which your camper neighbors will appreciate, too.
- Use propane heaters instead of kerosene. Propane burns much cleaner, emitting less CO; therefore, it is less disruptive to the local ecosystem.
- Don’t burn your trash. Burning trash, especially plastics, can release noxious fumes that harm the surrounding wildlife. Also, some trash never fully disintegrates, leaving some remnant in the fire pit. The toxins from this leftover material can seep through the ground and into the water table. Lastly, trash can often burn unpredictably, flaring up and shooting sparks, which can lead to catastrophe. It’s best to bag up your trash and take it with you.
- Prepare food at home before you leave. This will reduce the necessity to cook, which will reduce the need for fire, fuel, and water. Ideally, you should only need to heat up food as opposed to utilizing numerous pots, etc. to cook.
- Don’t bring your own firewood. Campfire wood from foreign ecosystems can bring invasive species such as the gypsy moth. These species can have a devastating impact on local arbor and other flora.
- Invest in a smaller diesel RV. Diesel fuel burns much cleaner than gasoline and will reduce your carbon footprint. It will also reduce your fuel bill as large gasoline-powered models also cost a small fortune to fill up. Within the past several years, diesel has actually been cheaper than gas, and if you combine this with the fact that diesel provides higher mileage, it’s a serious money saver.
- Bring heavy-duty trash bags. The tougher the bags, the fewer tears that should occur. Heavy-duty bags will also better contain food odors, reducing the chances of unwanted wildlife making their way into your campsite, which will keep you safe while keeping toxic waste out of the mouths of the animals.
- Use a water filter. This will eliminate the need for bottled water, cutting down on trash and saving you a ton of money in the process. A high-quality water filter can be professionally installed in your RV, providing you with clean, great-tasting water for years to come.
The numbers don’t lie. Camping, especially in an RV, is widely popular. Following a few simple suggestions, such as those above, will help to ensure that the camping experience in the natural world can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Carrie Thompson does a hefty amount of camping each year, relishing the fresh air and bubbling brooks, and working with children on some of those trips. She also works with RV123.com, working to bring the camping lifestyle to families across America. Follow Carrie on Google+.