We’ve all been there, well some of us have. You arrive at the campsite only to find litter scattered everywhere. Did a Bear come through and destroy the campsite, carry off everything but the trash? Probably not. Keeping a clean campsite is more enjoyable, safer, by not attracting wild animals and makes the next campers to use the site, happy.
Things to Bring. Bring trash bags and ziplock bags. Trash bags can hold all your refuse such as paper plates, disposable drink bottles, plastic and paper packaging from new camping gear. Excess food should be placed in zip-lock baggies before placing in the trash to help avoid food smells attracting animals. Never throw food on the ground. Aluminum cans can be stored in a separate trash bag for recycling later. Rolls of paper towels or cloth rags will help clean up spills or dry your hands after washing.
Inspect your campsite. Walk around the area picking up broken glass, cans, pulling up broken tent stakes, looking for tree roots that may cause injury or possibly puncture the floor of your tent. In certain areas, be on the look out for plants like cactus or poison ivy / oak, remove carefully.
Setting up. After a through inspection, your ready to set up camp. Choose a flat spot for the tent, lay out your tent floor protector, unroll your tent and set it up. The first job of setting up your campsite should always be erection of the camping tent. This gives space to put other camping gear with laying it on the ground where it might get soiled. Set up tables and chairs, if using portable toilet, you may want to set up your privacy / shower tent fairly soon. At this time, you may want to take any trash accumulated up to this point and place in a trash bag.
After setup. You may be ready to relax, take a hike or cook a meal. If taking a walk or hike, be sure to carry a small trash bag to dispose of any plastic bottles or cans you take with you, small trash bags can be tied to your backpack, belt or belt loop. After cooking your meals, place all leftovers in plastic containers or zip-locks and store in the cooler. As before, place excess food in zip-locks before throwing away.
Nighttime. If the campsite provides trash barrels, a dumpster or cans, place your trash in them every night. No cans available, place trash bags as far away from your campsite as possible, don’t set them on your neighbors site. Wild animals just love a free and easy meal and you should keep them as far away from you as possible.
Taking down. After you have had all the fun you can stand, it’s time to move on. Taking down your campsite is usually a little easier than setup. When you have everything packed up and ready to go, walk your campsite again cleaning up all the trash and leave the site clean for the next campers. Doing a walk around is a necessity, not only checking for trash, but just to make sure you have not left any gear or accessories like tent stakes, hammers, stake pullers, etc… behind.
We hope this has provided you with some helpful tips on a safe and enjoyable camping trip.