How To Save The Planet: Hiking Edition
By The Wild Women On Top Team
If sustainable living can be hard, sustainable hiking can be even harder. From the convenient allure of zip-lock bags, to the challenge of disposing of waste in the middle of nowhere, it takes a lot more effort and discipline to #leavenotrace in the bush.
But there’s never been a more important time to take care of nature and protect our earth for future generations. Here’s how you can reduce your impact and leave the trails better than you found them.
Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle
For both everyday life and when you’re hiking, a great way to be more sustainable is to follow the five ‘R’s.
Refuse means asking yourself: ‘Do I really need it?’ Could you borrow, swap or simply go without? This one is great for your wallet, your pack weight, and the planet.
Reduce is about using less, and this is easy when you go hiking because there’s no fashion police and you’re allowed (nay, encouraged!) to smell. A multi-use soap bar can wash your hair, your armpits, and your dishes. True story. Buy less, pack less, waste less.
Reuse, of course, means using things over and over and over. Whether that is your keep cup, reusable cutlery, or a zip-lock bag, keep using things for as long as you can.
Repurpose taps into your creativity, working out how you can solve problems with things you already own. Could an old jam jar be your morning coffee cup? Could an old rope be used as a wilderness washing line? Could a small towel you already own suffice as your hiking towel? Yes.
Recycle is really the last step in the sustainability game, but it’s super important. Pack out everything you use and dispose of it in the correct bin, please!
Shop ethical, sustainable brands
The textile and apparel industry has a huge environmental impact, at all stages of the supply chain.
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a $50 down jacket and a $600 down jacket, sustainability and ethical manufacturing is likely a major factor. Look for brands which adhere to the Responsible Down Standard, are BLUESIGN approved, use natural and recycled fibers and encourage consumers to repair rather than repurchase.
Outdoor gear is expensive, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase to ensure it meets both its functional purpose and your sustainability standards.
There is an excellent app called Good On You which rates brands out of 5 for their commitment to ethical and sustainable production.
Buy less, buy better
There’s a number of reasons to buy good quality hiking gear, and safety is at the top of the list. A poor quality raincoat or wet sleeping bag won’t just leave you cold and uncomfortable – it could be life threatening.
The good thing is you don’t need a lot of stuff, so invest wisely and purchase quality items that will last. You will have a safer, more enjoyable hiking experience, and you’ll be reducing your environmental footprint.
Leave no trace
Yeah, it’s tricky.
It’s important to always leave nature better than you found it, so make sure you take the time to learn how to leave no trace.
This one is enough to fill a whole blog on its own, so we’ve written one for you here.
Offset your air travel
If your adventure requires air travel, you are putting a big dump of carbon into the atmosphere. To counter this, you can offset your carbon footprint with a verified carbon offsetting program. This essentially means investing in a program which neutralises these emissions, such as renewables or reforestation.
Share your sustainability tips with us in the Wild Women Community! We always love hearing what you have to say.