After a long stressful week, a trekking trip can be a super relaxing activity to energize and reconnect with nature. The clean and fresh atmosphere awakens the adventurous spirit and alleviates most of our worries.
However, it takes a lot of effort to keep your surroundings that way.
While going for outdoor activities like camping and trekking, be mindful that you’re a visitor responsible for keeping the region clean and tidy. You’re not only here to enjoy but acting as a caretaker too.
Many people trash up the hiking areas and ruin the whole experience for others. It can have adverse effects on mental health and pollute a beautiful space because of carelessness.
Here are a few tips for people who wish to enjoy a sustainable hike and create a similar place for the rest of the hikers.
- While buying hiking gear, find products that are made using sustainable materials causing no harm to the environment. Many products are made using plastic or animal skin, such as wool or leather. Some items are created in factories relying on child labor or places where workers are deprived of basic human rights. Do your research and then invest in authentic and environmentally responsible brands.
- Also invest in ethically sourced and environment-friendly sunscreens, hand sanitizers, bug repellants, tissue rolls, or other accessories.
- Carry a plastic-free first aid box made of sustainable materials. Ensure you have all eco-friendly bare essentials.
- Be mindful of the cutlery and crockery you’re taking along. Select biodegradable stuff that’s free of plastic - such as stainless steel cutlery by Outlery. It’s portable, harmless, and easy to wash.
- Reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. Avoid dumping broken gadgets and hiking gear in the trash right away. You can mend most of the items by buying spare parts. Recycle as much as you can and ditch single-use products.
- Choose a local location for your hike that’s close to your home. Avoid going on trails requiring extensive traveling as it adds to carbon emissions.
- Minimise waste as disposal is slightly tricky when you’re on a hike. Select products that are biodegradable and carry a spare bag to collect trash.
- If you see anyone’s garbage left behind, be a responsible citizen and collect it in your trash bag. Your good deed benefits everyone - particularly the flora and fauna of the hiking areas.
- Don’t throw away your garbage in streams, lakes, and rivers. It usually travels to the sea and oceans and ruins the sealife. Millions of fish die from water pollution every year, suffocating from man-made waste.
- Stay on the trekking trail and avoid wandering off to prohibited lands. These places are often filled with delicate vegetation and wildlife that take years to cultivate and grow. One wrong step might destroy years of hard work and can be seriously damaging to the environment.
- Avoid taking ready-made packed meals while trekking. As tempting as it may sound, these packages are often made of plastic and are not recyclable. Prepare homemade foods such as salads, sandwiches, etc, and carry them in biodegradable paper bags.
- Taking a pet along? Make sure you keep it on a leash. They can cause a mess if left unattended.
- Don’t drink bottled water while trekking. Even though it’s an essential product in every household, this industry relies heavily on the use of plastic. The more you use bottled water, the more non-recyclable garbage you create. In short, it’s best to carry water in glass bottles.
- If you choose to wash your unclean dishes or clothes in creeks, rivers, or streams, keep in mind to not use chemical detergents or soaps. They can reach the wildlife within and cause serious damage to the creatures living in depths.
- Pack little and carry a small backpack. If you have a lot of items, chances are you might have to invest in a big plastic hiking bag or carry separate plastic bags as well.
- Keep in mind that not every space is ideal to create a campfire, especially forests. Trees can easily burn down if you’re not careful. Choose a spot legally dedicated to campfires.
- Similarly, don’t camp just anywhere. Hiking trails can be tedious no doubt, but plop your tent only at a campsite. Otherwise, you might unintentionally damage fragile flora and fauna.
- Avoid feeding the wildlife as it could be bad for them. Unless you’ve done your research, it’s best to just enjoy them in their natural habitat from afar.
- Some wild animals on hiking trails can become easily accustomed to humans. This can ruin the whole wildlife experience in the long run. Keep your distance.
- Finally, when you’re leaving, make sure you’ve collected and gathered all your belongings. Don’t leave anything behind. Most of the gear is expensive and eco-friendly hiking items are hard to find. If anything is left on the trail, it could be years before it’s found and by then, it might have already done damage to the land.