We’re advocates for leaving a trace. Controversial we know. Whether we like it or not, we will all make our mark on the earth - let's leave a good one. But when it comes to sleeping outdoors, here are the Alpkit team’s tips on being a respectful wild camper. The aim? To only leave a patch of dry grass where you’ve slept.
Double check, triple check, quadruple check that you haven’t left any ridgelines or cords up between trees. It’s easy to do! Especially when you’re in a rush. But they can be dangerous for people and animals moving through the area. It’s not just dangerous for everyone else – it gets expensive for you to replace kit, and it counts as litter.
Don’t camp anywhere that’ll affect livestock. That’s dwellings, gardens, farms and some moorlands. In spring and summer, you could disturb ground-nesting birds on moorland. And in the words of our team: “avoid disturbing animals in winter, they have a hard enough job finding food without having to burn calories running away from humans looking for a place to drop a sleeping bag for the night”. We don’t need to make their lives harder just for a midweek bivvy!
If you’re rigging hammocks from trees, take tree protectors to prevent ringbarking (also known as girdling). These can be Velcro tree protection panels that prevent the bark from damage. We recommend using webbing to set up your hammock instead of rope or cord for the same reason. Our E-Commerce Exec Dan advises not to repeatedly use the same trees every time you go hammocking to prevent them from further damage. Those poor trees deserve a rest too!
He also recommends, if you’re hunting for firewood to set up your campfire, never cut branches from live trees. Freshly cut wood is full to the brim of sap. It doesn’t burn well, and it’ll make for a very smokey campfire. Not worth it.
“Use 100% natural multipurpose soap for washing so you're not adding any nasty chemicals to the water sources.” – Design Tech, Gabe.
We strongly advise against washing up in a stream. It’ll contaminate the water that other people might be drinking from. Just collect some water (in your pan, or your camping sink), do your washing up elsewhere, and pour your grey water away onto dry land to minimise damage. Easy peasy!
It causes minimal disturbance to others and means you’re not as likely to be spotted by passersby!
To be discreet while camping, pitch out of the line of sight of major footpaths. That’s even easier if you’re following our advice about arriving late and leaving early. Leave nothing but a dry patch of grass when you leave.
Grab a lightweight trowel and wander away from your camp spot. You want to be away from your water source and your bivvy. Dig, dig, dig! Do your business. Cover the hole with earth – not a rock as this prevents biodegradation.
“Either do a controlled burn of toilet paper or bring a sealable plastic bag to carry it back out with you.” – Alpkit Design Tech, Gabe
In the UK, it’s best to avoid lighting a fire. They can spread rapidly, causing a threat to biodiversity, people and properties. Our Alpkit advice is, if you really have to do it, dig slightly down into the grass to find some damper ground, line the outside with stones and flatten any overhanging grasses or bracken which could catch fire.
If you carried it in, you can carry it out. This includes food which doesn’t decompose as quickly as we think. It just disrupts the ecosystem and the aesthetics. Our Product Developer, Rowan, always carries an empty 3-litre dry bag with him into the hills: “A top tip is to turn your litter drybag inside out. This keeps dirty, wet, saucy, or crumbly rubbish from getting the rest of your kit messy”.
It doesn’t just stop at your own litter. You can even leave a spot better than you found it! Another team tip is to line your dry bag with a bin bag so you can pick it out and dispose of it when you get home.