How to get to sustainable camping | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

How to get to sustainable camping


While staring mindlessly at the stars and letting our thoughts wander as we lose ourselves by the campfire that dances endlessly yet stays the same, we ponder… how can we make camping functional yet sustainable? Here are some tips you might want to consider this summer.

Use your fuel efficiently. Some camp stoves will boil water in just over a minute. Because it’s quick and practically wind-proof, you can save on fuel used for cooking. Some new kettles convert heat into electrical power to charge a USB device or a fan to boil your water faster. You can even find lightweight solar panels that attach to your backpack and charge your devices as you hike your favorite trail.

Moshe Katz is a co-owner of Yellow Wood, an outdoor gear boutique in Whitefish Bay.

Reuse instead of throwing things away. Please don’t buy throwaway/recyclable water bottles. Use long-lasting water bottles and fill them with clean water or filtered water. You’ll use them for countless seasons ahead. You can also find water purification systems that are highly effective at filtering out bacteria and viruses but can also be reused hundreds of times.

Invest in gear that won’t wear out. Gear that lasts means fewer items that end up in a landfill.

Choose footwear that can be re-soled or re-webbed. Just when you think you’ve worn them out, new life can be put back in. Invest is a high quality sleeping bag. Some bags, if properly cared for, will last for 20 years or more.

Go with biodegradable. You can find many camping products that are completely biodegradable. They will be extremely useful for your lifetime, but will, if left in the wild, become a part of the countryside you love when your item reaches the end of its useful life.

Borrow gear. Camping can be a sustainable and highly eco-friendly activity if you buy only what you need. Borrow or rent gear if you don’t yet know exactly what you need. (If you are borrowing gear, please return it to your friend in clean, usable condition. If something was damaged, let your friend know. Ideally, fix it before returning it or ask your friend for help in fixing it if you don’t know how.)

Use gear with a conscience. Select gear from manufacturers that are mindful of the environment. Some brands eliminate harmful substances and unite the entire supply chain to jointly reduce its impact on the environment. (Tip: Many of these brands have “Bluesign” certification.)

Moshe Katz is a co-owner of Yellow Wood, an outdoor gear boutique. Yellow Wood, at 401 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay, is starting an international travel program called Yellow Wood Divergences, with trips planned to Machu Picchu in June, Kilimanjaro in September and Patagonia in February. Last year Katz and his daughter, Cyd, hiked to Mount Everest Basecamp.