It doesn't matter if you're heading out for the day or for a week or more—spending time around trees, lakes, oceans, and mountains is good for you on pretty much every level. That said, there are definitely ways to make sure you're hitting the optimum balance of health and fun. (S'mores may not qualify as a super food, but they are good for the soul, right??) And there are a lot of simple things you can do to make sure the impact you have on the trees, lakes, oceans, and mountains is as minimal as possible—which can also lead to some feel good endorphins for you!
Camping food is often equated with fun food—and so it should be! But fun doesn’t have to mean packages of super-processed hot dogs. Your ‘kitchen’ is somewhat diminished at a campsite or rest area, but your ingredients don’t have to be. Why settled for processed hotdogs when you could have nitrate-free, ethically raised, locally made sausages? They’re just as easy to throw on a grill or a in frying pan over coals and flames, even if they do take a little longer. That said, you could always pre-cook them at home, so it’s just a matter of heating them up when you get to the site, which means younger ones can have the fun of doing the re-heating over the campfire with a stick they’ve carefully selected. Or, if your delicious sausages are both pre-cooked and pre-cut it only takes a moment toss them into soup, beans, or scrambled eggs, and seriously boost the flavours. To keep your vitamin and fibre intake up, a whole mix of fresh veggies can also be pre-cut at home, reducing the time you need to spend prepping on-site, and they can be snacked on raw or cooked using our recipe of the month. (And cherry tomatoes and mushrooms are both particularly good for a bit more ‘cooking on sharp sticks and open flames’ action.) When if comes to the sweet treats, there are always the more natural, synthetic dye-free options for things like gummies and candies, and luckily, as you may have noticed, gourmet, handmade natural marshmallows are an awesome food trend these days. Combine them with some high-quality fair-trade chocolate and your s’mores and banana boats will not only be better for you, they will just be better than ever, period.
It’s never more obvious than when you're out in the fresh air, near beautiful water, that what you put on yourself is as important as what you put into yourself, and that those choices will have a direct impact on the environment. It's so much fun to jump in a lake or ocean, but everything you’ve put on your skin and hair is going with you, and will mostly stay behind. Natural sunscreens are not just healthier for your face, they’re way better for the fish and delicate aquatic plant life, too. Same goes for your hair products, and any makeup you use. When you give your face a quick wash or your teeth a quick brush using a basin of water by your tent, and the water you’ve used soaks into the ground, you’re seeing first hand where these products are ultimately going to end up no matter where you use them—so it really does feel better to know the ones you’ve chosen are free of harsher chemicals and micro-beads, and are biodegradable!
This same principle applies to rest of your campsite. It’s really easy to choose a green, biodegradable dish soap for your outdoor dishwashing sessions, and to bring along the more eco-friendly versions of paper towel and, of course, the all important official camp roll of toilet paper. There are biodegradable versions of disposable cutlery, plates and cups if you do really need those. But even when it comes to reusable camp cutlery, it’s worth thinking about how easy it is to accidentally leave behind a spork or two, and making sure you’re using ones made of something like bamboo, or at least metal, rather than tough plastics. Don’t forget it’s still simple to sort your recycling, and you might even consider bringing along your little bin for kitchen scraps, if you can do so in a bear-safe way—if you’ve driven to your site, it can always tuck away in the trunk or a car when your not using it.
Wherever you end up out there this summer, we hope you have truly amazing experience spending some quality time with the gorgeous outdoors!